EAST GULL LAKE – Mara Williams has skied into the Brainerd Warriors No. 1 position while teammate Savannah Stone recovers from an injury.
The Brainerd senior won her third race of the season Monday in the Warriors’ Invite at Ski Gull, compiling a total time of 53.91 to outdistance runner-up Molly Magnuson of St. Cloud by 2.16 seconds.
“I’ve been finishing my two runs, finding my outside ski, I’m really kind of putting it together and I’ve been solid and having some good finishes,” Williams said of her recent success.
Her first-run time was 26.59 followed by a 27.32.
“Our first course was pretty fast,” Williams said. “I held it together, stayed in it and carried my speed all the way down. The second course I just tried to stay in it and stay solid.”
Warriors coach Jim Ruttger was expecting a win from Williams on Monday since the meet was on Brainerd’s home hill.
“She skied two very clean runs, and she came out on top,” he said. “I don’t think there were any surprises there.”
Williams helped the Warriors to Monday’s team title. Brainerd bunched six skiers in the top eight, with Alex Stone finishing third, and Ashley Fitterer, Emily Aga, Jaden Lindner and Marissa Bjerkness sweeping places five through eight.
“Alex wasn’t far behind,” Ruttger said. “She’s kind of been in that No. 2, No. 3 position for us all season. Ashley came on strong. Ashley, Emily, Jaden, Marissa, that group in there, they’re always right on each other. And, Hannah Moen was too. She fell on her first run, but her 30:23 (on her second) was right in there.”
Monday was the Warriors’ final meet before the Section 5 meet Feb. 9 at Afton Alps.
“We’ve got some real tough competition, with Minnetonka especially, they’re very deep,” Ruttger said. “They’re probably expected to win state, but our girls have a chance.
“Savannah was out here today on skis for the first time to see how it feels. We hope to have her back. We definitely need her back by sections to be able to do well there because she could be a great one with Mara at sections.
“Our focus right now is we really want to make sure Mara gets to state. She has a good shot at it, as certainly Savannah does.”
Girls team scores: 1-Brainerd 81, St. Cloud 63, 3-Annandale 29, 4-Lakes Area 14
Individual winner: Mara Williams (Brd) 53.91
Brainerd results: 3-Alex Stone 56.34, 5-Ashley Fitterer 58.50, 6-Emily Aga 58.86,
7-Jaden Lindner 58.91, 8-Marissa Bjerkness 59.14, 14-Molly Aga 1:09.75, 16-Julia Wallace 1:14.06, 17-Hannah Moen 1:16.83, 20-Sydney Darkow 1:22.52, 21-Maddie Olson 1:28.84, 22-Camryn Schmidt 1:40.45
Next: Brainerd at Section 5 meet 10 a.m. Feb. 9.