The future looks promising for Brainerd Warriors sophomore Christina Roberts and freshman Chris Woodard after their performances in the state nordic ski meet Friday at Giants Ridge.
Roberts finished 37th in the girls' pursuit race while Woodard was 40th in boys' freestyle.
The duo comes from opposite ends of the experience spectrum, but the underclassmen share at least one thing in common -- more cracks at the state meet.
Roberts holds more experience, growing up on 40 acres of trails to ski. Woodard is in just his second year of skiing.
Roberts, who finished 44th at state last year, improved her place to fulfill one of her goals.
"We were hoping for her to finish in the top 50, doing two races," Brainerd coach Chris Hanson said. "Her own goals were a little more pessimistic, but we told her she needed to do better than that, so she did.
"She showed her strength of character and will in putting together a stronger skate race. Both she and her coaches were pleasantly surprised."
Roberts finished her classic race in 21:18.8 to place 39th in a field of 102 skiers.
"I felt pretty good," she said. "I've felt better on other races, but it was still a good race. My kick wax was good, I waxed right. It was a very close race. Twelve seconds would have brought me 10 places up."
She said shaving 12 seconds off her time is a possibility.
"It's not too hard since its 5K, so it shows every second counts and every turn you've got to make quick," Roberts said.
She finished the pursuit race in 37th place with a freestyle leg of 15:42.
"I went out with very fast skis," Roberts said. "Even though it was a little wet out, we made the skis fast. I knew there was a big group ahead of me. That was my goal, to catch up to all those people.
"It was a little hard getting caught up on the hills with all those people, but I did well getting around them. It was a fast track."
Woodard finished 40th out of a field of 130 skiers with a time of 13:23.1.
"All the times were real tight," Hanson said. "Ten seconds would have probably put him up to 15th."
Hanson said they did not know what to expect from the freshman in his first performance at state.
"We really had (no expectations) because he's been improving all year and this is his first experience at the state meet," Hanson said. "Being a freshman, he was skiing against more experienced people and we were thrilled with him being in the top 40. We look forward to three more years with him."
Woodard was impressed with the state competition, but not surprised that he did well against the best.
"It was just awesome being there as a freshman," Woodard said. "It was pretty cool. I wasn't too surprised. I'd been doing pretty good all year. I was almost expecting to make it to state."
Woodard said the course was fast and he worked the uphills, trying to catch a few people. He had no concrete expectations, being new to the state meet.
"Place-wise, I didn't really have a set number because I'd never been to the state meet before and I didn't know what to expect," Woodard said. "I was hoping for the top half and I also wanted to beat some guys from our section.
"If you take out Grand Rapids, I beat out all the other guys from our section that went."
Girls Team Results
1-Hopkins 737, 2-Stillwater 711, 3-Grand Rapids 710, 4-Roseville 709, 5-Hastings 657, 6-Elk River 632, 7-Duluth East 593, 8-Robbinsdale-Armstrong 478.
1-Stephanie Howe (Forest Lake) 19:26.4, 2-Kari Lonemann (Grand Rapids) 19:28.2, 3-Heidi Hittner (White Bear Lake Area) 19:33.0, 4-Lindsay Williams (Hastings) 19:37.3, 5-Jessica Salvatore (Roseville) 19:39.4.
1-Dauwalter 13:59.6, 2-Cayley Baird (Stillwater) 14:18.8, 3-Jenny Jorvig (Hopkins) 14:25.6, 4-Williams 14:26.5, 5-Shannon Bergstedt (Hopkins) 14:27.2.
1-Dauwalter 19:55 Classical, 13:59 Freestyle; 2-Williams 19:37, 14:26; 3-Hittner 19:33, 14:40; 4-Winters 19:58, 14:31; 5-Jorvig 20:12, 14:25.
Boys Team Results
1-Hopkins 757, 2-Grand Rapids 728, 3-Duluth East 721, 4-Roseville 647, 5-St. Louis Park 606, 6-St. Cloud Cathedral 605, 7-Forest Lake 588, 8-Hastings 562.
1-Garrot Kuzzy (Hopkins) 12:05.3, 2-Tim Damrow (Roseville) 15:45.4, 3-Dan Skold (Hopkins) 16:01.0, 4-Ben Byrne (Grand Rapids) 16:12.7, 5-Garrett Heath (Winona Cotter) 16:19.1.
1-Kuzzy 12:05.3, 2-Heath 12:19.2, 3-Steve Scott (St. Paul Academy) 12:23.5, 4-Evan Ray (St. Paul Academy) 12:26.4, 5-Damrow 12:28.0.
1-Kuzzy 15:37 Classical, 12:05 Freestyle; 2-Damrow 15:45, 12:28; 3-Skold 16:01, 12:32; 4-Heath 16:19, 12:19; 5-Adam Straten (Duluth East) 16:25, 12:30.
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