Lack of snow hasn't prevented Christina Roberts from being one of the state's top Nordic skiers.
In seven races this winter, on less than ideal trail conditions, Roberts has won four times, finished second twice and was fifth at the Hopkins Relays, an event that featured 124 skiers.
She is ranked sixth in the state and is hoping to qualify for her fourth state meet Feb. 13 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
"Christina definitely wants to make a showing (at state)," Warriors coach Chris Hanson said. "Her strength is her competitiveness, her fiery competitiveness. She likes to win, and she's good-natured about it. She's not in your face, not doing college football dancing in the end zone stuff. She gets along with her competitors, and she's well respected. We get good comments about her from other coaches at meets."
Roberts said conditions at Northland Arboretum and French Rapids are actually better than last winter.
"We were at French (Monday) and although there was dirt and rocks, I guess it's better than being on lakes, like we were last year," she said.
"There is some snow, but not as much as we would like. We're going to need more snow or we're not going to be able to ski on our trails."
Roberts' victories were Dec. 9 at the St. Cloud Apollo Invitational, Dec. 18 at the St. Cloud Cathedral Classic, Dec. 27 in the Brainerd Invitational and Jan. 2 at the Deer River Invitational.
Roberts said the Brainerd race was memorable because it had been canceled the last two years and the Warriors beat Grand Rapids for the first time in a while.
"It was kind of raining so the snow was melting as we skied," Roberts said. "There were dirt patches we had to hop around, but I felt pretty good. It was nice to actually have a meet instead of having it canceled. It gave us more practice racing."
All of Roberts' victories have been in the freestyle discipline, although she is more experienced as a classic skier.
"I definitely like classic better because I've been doing it longer," Roberts said. "When I was younger, before I was on the ski team, that's all I did. It comes more natural than freestyle. I like it because it uses more upper body strength. Coming from swimming that helps me a lot in that aspect.
"I've gotten to like (freestyle) better over the years, once I got the technique down by training over the summer. I still definitely like classic better than skating, although it's faster and sometimes that's more fun."
Hanson said the Hopkins race and Saturday's Mesabi East Invitational at Giants Ridge in Biwabik are events where skiers can classic or freestyle, not both.
"The last three years at state, classic was Christina's strong suit," Hanson said. "Last year as she did the pursuit (classic and freestyle combined) her skating came along. This year her skate is just as strong as her classic. Unfortunately, those big races force you to do one or the other, and you don't get a look at the entire field."
Roberts will have an opportunity to do both disciplines in a pursuit race Jan. 16 at Grand Rapids.
"She can handle both races," Hanson said. "She can head into the second race being as tough as she was in the first. Some kids get drained for the second race. That's not the case for Christina. The tougher the course, the longer it is, the more adverse the conditions, the stronger she's going to be."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Chris Woodard, Nordic skiing, won the boys' race at Deer River.
Tom Zelinske, wrestling, won the 130-pound title at the Cambridge tournament and captured his 100th and 101st career victories.
Gregg Day, boys' hockey, had a hat trick vs. Grand Rapids.
Josiah Collins, swimming, won two events and was on two first-place relays vs. Apollo.
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