If Savannah Stone can stand on her two runs in the Section 5 meet, then Katie Majka’s school-record state finish may be in jeopardy.
The Pequot Lakes High School junior, who skis for the Brainerd Warriors Alpine team, is becoming one of the state’s top skiers. This season, she’s won two of the three high school races in which she has competed, while enjoying success on the USSA and FIS circuits.
In 2001, Majka became the standard-bearer for Brainerd’s program when she finished seventh in the state meet. Stone was in seventh place last season before she fell, hiked back up the course, and wound up 64th.
“I didn’t know that, until last year at state, that she was the highest (Warrior),” Stone said. “My parents told me after I was seventh on my first run. That’s a goal of mine, trying to get that or higher.”
Stone has competed in three state meets, finishing 17th as a sophomore and 72nd as a freshman, If she qualifies this year she will become the first Warrior to ski in four state Alpine meets.
She finished 21st in the season-opening Cook County Invite Dec. 9 at Lutsen. She won the St. Cloud Invite at Powder Ridge in Kimball Dec. 20 and the Hibbing Invite at Giants Ridge Jan. 5.
“Even the one she didn’t win, the first meet at Lutsen, she clipped the gate on her first run,” Warriors coach Jim Ruttger said. “Her second run was the fastest run. Every run since she’s had the fastest time. No one’s been able to touch her.”
Ruttger says a combination of things make Stone so talented.
“Before the end of November she had already spent 10-11 days at two different camps Colorado,” Ruttger said. “She had a bunch of race training early in the season. She trains with Team Duluth one day a week, and trains with us whenever she’s around, and obviously with USSA. This year and last year she’s also doing FIS. She’s been doing very well on those other circuits as well.”
Stone agrees the preseason camps and USSA and FIS make a difference.
“I went to two really good camps in Colorado,” she said. “That got me off to a pretty good start. I’ve been working hard in practice to go faster and faster. My dad is kind of like my personal coach. He helps a lot. He knows exactly what I’m working on, and gives me feedback right away.”
The feedback Ruttger’s receiving is that Stone may be the top-ranked skier north of the metro.
“We don’t see a lot of those (metro) teams but Savannah sees a lot of them at other venues so she has a good feel where she fits in,” Ruttger said. “From what we’re hearing and seeing, I would say there are a very small handful of girls who can stay with her and challenge her.”
The USSA and FIS circuits take Stone to Michigan, Canada and northern Minnesota. Her parents, Mike and Kelly, usually chauffeur her to the various events.
“She’s just getting a variety of coaches to assess her,” Ruttger said. “She has a tremendous amount of natural ability. What comes with experience is an ability to ski the shortest line, the fastest line, through a course. As a team she been such an asset to us because we can benefit from watching her ski.”
Other notable efforts:
• Jack Sauer, boys basketball, scored 24 points against Sauk Rapids.
•Allison Kosobud, Nordic skiing, won the girls title at the Fergus Falls Invite.
• Kayla Kraemer, girls basketball, scored 21 points against Rocori.
• Josh McKeag, swimming won two events and was on a winning relay against Sartell.