By Randee McGown
The Mound Westonka Nordic ski team took advantage of the chilly sunshine at Wirth Park Dec. 10 to put together a sixth-place finish at the second meet of the season. The skate race took place on the beautiful natural snow trails overlooking downtown Minneapolis and included the Twin City Nordic Ski Conference and the Minneapolis Ski Conference.
Senior captain Kate McGown paced the White Hawks girls with a time of 18:21, making 17th place behind an always-dominant Highland Park team. Senior Grace Hanson put in a sub-20 minute time (19:57) good for 29th place, junior captain Carly McGown and sophomore Anna Elliott finished back-to-back at 22:01 and 22:19, and sophomore Anika Budzius completed the scoring team at 25:17. The girls team finished sixth overall out of 11 teams, showing the strength of the entire crew.
First-year skier sophomore Lance Nemecek put his fall cross country conditioning to good use and led all White Hawks skiers with a time of 16:49, less than two minutes back from the leaders from Highland Park. Senior captain Robby Brustad finished strong with a time of 17:18, followed by junior Roman Fenzl at 17:51 and back-to-back finishes by junior Nolan Hanson (18:30) and junior Dylan Osborn (18:43). The team finished seventh overall out of 10 teams and had three other skiers in the top 80 finishers.
As a result of this year’s early consistent snow, the team has been able to train at several different locations and has enjoyed the novelty of skiing the race on a course no one on the team had ever seen before. Coach Sue Harrison is pleased with the team’s early performances and is looking to build on the successes so far to craft another winning year.
The varsity team will next trek to Biwabik at the end of Winter Break for the Mesabi Invitational, an important chance to preview the course and skiers they will likely see at the State Championship in mid-February.