Area teams compete in Nordic Ski Relays

By Ryan Schleicher – Sun Newspapers

Skiers and spectators packed the grounds of Trollhaugen ski lodge ear muff to ear muff to witness the 2012 Nordic Ski Holiday Relays.

Many metro teams competed in this event, which gave many the opportunity to scout out the competition for the upcoming Nordic ski season. Teams such as Spring Lake Park, Stillwater, Irondale all competed against historical powerhouses like Roseville and Wayzata.

Nordic Ski, informally known as Cross Country Skiing is divided up into two sections identified as Classic and Freestyle. These categories are separated by the type of body movement to acquire momentum. Classic relays are just that, they are traditional in nature of movement when a skier puts their front foot down and glides it behind them quickly to propel forward. This type of movement is a slower movement compared to freestyle but is much more conducive for novice Nordic skiers to learn and is less strenuous on the body.

Freestyle relays are a more modernized type of movement. Freestyle, otherwise known as Skate relays reflect more of a roller-skate, or rollerblade movement where the skier pushes off and to the side to gain movement. This technique is much more strenuous on the body as it requires the synchronization of many moving body parts to perfect the technique.

In the girls Classic relay, Irondale placed middle of the pack in 14th-position with a combined time of 0:48:58, which was 11 minutes off the pace of first place Wayzata who posted a dominating 0:37:23 which was nearly two-minutes better than second-place Andover who recorded a total time of 0:39:05.

Individually in the girls classic relay, the highest placing Irondale skier was Junior Laura Jankowski with a time of 0:10:10 in the first leg of the relay. Her time was 21st best as she was about a minute-and-a-half off the pace of first place Niki Reiker, a senior skier from Roseville who posted a time of 08:43.

Other top five finishers were: 2. Maddie McKeefry from Andover, 0:08:49. A tie was recorded for third place with Vessa Pearsall from Stillwater and Nicole Schneider from Wayzata recording identical times of 0:09:06. 5. Hannah Rudd from Armstrong 0:09:09.

Irondale faired a little better in the Classic Relay on the boys side of things, placing in the top ten by coming in ninth with a time of 0:37:03 which was just under five-minutes behind first place Stillwater who recorded a time of 0:32:15. Freshman Skier Joey Jankowski had Irondale’s best time in the Classic relay posting a time of 0:08:29 in the third-leg which was good enough for 16th-place.

The boys top five finishers in the Classic relay were: 1. Jake Ajax from Spring Lake Park/St Anthony, 0:07:40. 2. Luke Brown from Minnehaha Academy, 0:07:43. 3. Nick Gardner from Mounds Park Academy, 0:07:46. 4. Sean Bjork from Stillwater, 0:07:47 5. Lucas Mason from Roseville, 0:07:49.

In the Skate relay Irondale showed their dominance by placing second in the girls division and first in the boys. In the girls division, Irondale posted a combined time of 0:34:42 which was 40-seconds off the pace of first place Wayzata who recorded a time of 0:34:02. Roseville came in third with a time of 0:36:40 and Stillwater was fourth timing in at 0:36:43. Individually, Irondale Junior Mattie Watts recorded the best overall Skate time of 0:07:47.

Other individual competitors placing in the top five are: 2. Michaela Keller-Miller from Wayzata, 0:08:16. 3. Lauren Farquhar from Wayzata, 0:08:27. There was a tie for fourth place between Sarah Tokos from Irondale and Hanna Torvi from Roseville coming in with a time of 0:08:35.

The boys cruised to victory by recording a time of 0:29:01, over 40-seconds better than second place Mounds View with a 0:29:43. Mound Westonka (0:30:35), Minnetonka (0:31:03), and Andover (0:31:30) rounded out the top-five schools in the boys Skate relay.

Individually, Junior Steve Hokanson from Mounds View had the best overall time recording a 0:06:37 followed closely by Tyler Gilbert of Irondale and Scott Harrison of Mound Westonka who each recorded a 0:06:50. Rounding out the top five are Bjorn Adelsman from Irondale and Colin Touhey from Minnetonka who each tied for fourth place by recording 0:07:04.

This event continues to be very successful each year. This year, Trollhaugen saw competition by 25-Girls Classic teams along with 25-Girls Skate teams. The boys had 26-Classic teams and had 34-Skate teams. A total of 104-girls skied the Classic relay and 109 in the Skate. 112-boys skied the Classic and an outstanding 136 skied the Skate.