BIWABIK — Maria Hauer destroyed her previous best finish at the state Nordic ski meet Thursday.
The Little Falls sophomore placed 42nd to lead the seventh-place Flyers at Giants Ridge Resort.
Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud didn’t enjoy the day she wanted as she placed 83rd and teammate Sarah Fairbanks finished in 106th.
As predicted, the hills were the undoing of the Flyers according to head coach Terry Wasland.
“The girls skied hard, but those hills did them in,” said Wasland. “We have not had the opportunities to train on any hills and it really showed in the skate race, particularly. Once they got done with the skate race they were all in. It was hard for them to come back.
“We knew it was going to be an issue having only trained on a lake.”
Hauer posted a skate time of 18:11 placing her 37th. She followed that with a 19:41.5 classic time for a 37:52.5 pursuit.
Her previous best state finish was 71st as an eighth grader. This was Hauer’s fourth state meet.
“When we looked at the strength of the field, and what kind of training we had, we felt if we could get any of the girls in the top 50 that would be a pretty good accomplishment,” said Wasland. “Maria getting 42nd — we were pleased with that. She had the best race today for us.”
Mattia Hendrickson finished 71st followed by Kaitlin Geisenhof in 89th, Chelsea Rutz in 93rd, Josie Lange in 114th, Chloe Houle in 116th and Ingrid Floersheim in 117th.
“They are all underclassmen and they have some talent,” Wasland said. “With a season of proper training we believe they are right at the level of some of the best in the state. We just didn’t show it today.”
Kosobud skated to an 88th-place time of 19:20, but then battled back to finish 83rd.
“It was a very hilly course, but I felt pretty good,” said Kosobud. “My skies weren’t waxed very well so I just had to ski. It didn’t go exactly how I planned.”
Kosobud changed her plan for the classic, which she completed in 20:36.2. The junior was in pick off mode.
“The boys had gone before us and they were telling us the snow conditions weren’t the best and to just relax and be smooth with your skies. I tried to do that and I think it helped. I wasn’t slipping as much.”
Kosobud was 41st in last year’s state meet. The slip in place has her eager for next season already.
“I will definitely be training very hard to hopefully improve my placing at the state meet,” she said.
So will Fairbanks, who is also a junior. As a sophomore she placed 81st in the state meet.
“To be honest, it wasn’t that great of a race,” said Fairbanks. “We did not have enough snow time and that held us back.”
Fairbanks was 108th after her skate race. She skied a 21:39.5 in the classic to move up two spots and finish with a 41:53.5 total time.
“I think we really realized how much training in the offseason we need to do, especially when you never know how much snow there is going to be to train on during the season,” Fairbanks said. “I’ll take away from today that I have a lot of work to do over the summer and spring.”
Girls team scores: 1-Duluth East 372, 2-Wayzata 371, 3-Hopkins 351, 4-Stillwater 350, 5-Roseville 317, 6-Burnsville 282, 7-Little Falls 279, 8-Winona/Cotter 261
Individual winner: Nora Gilbertson (Stillwater) 33:54.3
Brainerd results: 83-Allison Kosobud 39:56.2, 106-Sarah Fairbanks 41:53.5
Little Falls results: 42-Maria Hauer 37:52.5, 71-Mattia Hendrickson 39:20.8, 89-Kaitlin Geisenhof 40:22.4, 93-Chelsea Rutz 40:30.4, 114-Josie Lange 44:48.3, 116-Chloe Houle 46:08.6, 117-Ingrid Floersheim 46:53.1