In a preseason preview story, Brainerd Warriors Alpine skiing coach Jim Ruttger projected that Savannah Stone possessed the potential to be the program’s highest girls or boys finisher at state.
Stone made the projection come true Wednesday as she finished sixth in the state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Katie Majka had set the program’s previous standard with her seventh-place finish in 2001.
“After the first run I was in third,” Stone said. On the second run I was kind of late on a gate. I was bummed out at first, but I was just happy to get in the top 10.”
Stone continues to ski while recovering from a high ankle sprain suffered three weeks ago.
“My first run the snow was in really good condition, and I ran a 38,” she said. “I got to the bottom and I felt it was a really good run, and I was sitting in third.
“The second run my ankle was hurting a little bit, and that probably played a little bit of a role. There were some tough turns at the bottom. I was just happy I made it through.”
Warriors coach Jim Ruttger thought the ankle prevented Stone from a possible podium (top 3) finish.
“Obviously, we’re happy with a sixth-place finish,” he said. “We can’t lose site of the fact that three weeks ago she was hauled off a hill on a toboggan. Sixth is a pretty good result.”
Joining Stone at state were senior Mara Williams, who finished 49th, and seventh-grader Alex Stone, Savannah’s sister, who was 55th.
Williams clocked a first run of 41.46 and 44.62 in her second for a 1:26.08 combined total.
“The experience was awesome,” said Williams, who plans to ski at Minnesota-Duluth next season. “It was definitely fun. There were a ton of good of racers.
“It was just exciting to be part of something like this. It’s a big deal to make it. There was a lot of great competition.
“I had two clean runs. Two finishes is what you hope for. My first run went well, the second I had a couple slips but overall it was a good day.”
Ruttger’s goal for Williams was a top 25 finish.
“She didn’t quite get there, but it was just nice to have a state meet experience,” he said. “It was a great way to go out her senior year.”
Alex Stone wasn’t in awe in her first state trip.
“I’m just glad I made it and I had a good time,” she said. “I placed 55th out of 89 girls. I thought that was pretty good for my first time.
Alex Stone was one of only three seventh-graders who skied Wednesday, and she recorded the highest finish of the three.
“Alex was the second racer on the course on her first run, and third on the course for her second run,” Ruttger said. “When they seed they take the final individual qualifiers from each section, and put them on the course first. Coming in as the final section qualifier she actually was in a lot nicer position than Mara because she got to race early on great snow.
“Alex skied two really clean runs. She’s going to be a treat to watch the next 3-4 years. She will get bigger and stronger and with that will come speed.”
In the boys race, Thor Linnerooth finished 70th at 1:40.11. He was 36th on his first run, 18th on his second.
“The first run there was a head wall right at the bottom,” said Linnerooth, who plans to attend Central Lakes College next fall. “I just kind of wasn’t on my edge. I slipped out and had to hike. I ended up straddling a gate at the bottom of the first run and had to hike again. ... I was pretty much done from there.”
Ruttger said the hill Linnerooth started on was challenging and steep.
“A lot of did not finish on the boys side happened on that face,” Ruttger said. “Thor fell on his first run and had to hike back to get to the gate he missed to get a second run. His second run he skied great.”
Boys team scores: 1-Minnetonka 161, 2-Edina 147, 3-Stillwater 140, 4-Chanhassen 128.5, 5-Eagan 128, 6-Hopkins 119, 7-Chisago Lakes 80.5, 8-Duluth East 61
Individual winner: Bjorn Halvorson (Minnetonka) 1:09.44
Brainerd results: 70-Thor Linnerooth 1:40.11
Girls team scores: 1-Hermantown 157, 2-Minnetonka 154, 3-Blake 142, 4-Mounds View 135, 5-East Ridge 122, 6-Bloomington Jefferson 114, 7-Minneapolis Southwest 107, 8-Burnsville 62
Individual winner: Megan Danelski (Hermantown) 1:15.43
Brainerd results: 6-Savannah Stone 1:18.51, 49-Mara Williams 1:26.08, 55-Alex Stone 1:27.72