The Burnsville girls' Alpine ski team flew past team expectations in 2012.
The Blaze, which did not have any individual state qualifiers last year, made the trip to the state tournament as a team last week at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. It placed last among eight teams.
"I wanted each girl to improve in their own level and get to the next place for themselves," first-year head coach Luke Abrahamson said. "And that's exactly what happened. As far as my expectations, we met those and far exceeded them [by] making it to state."
The Blaze finished second in Section 6, finishing only four points behind champion Bloomington Jefferson at Buck Hill. Burnsville prevailed in a second-place tiebreaker with Lakeville South. The team's top four skiers accumulate points for the team totals while tiebreakers are determined by the fastest time for the team's fifth skier.
"We were on the edge of seats just waiting," Abrahamson said. "We knew it would be a close one between everybody. We heard there was a tie for second. Lakeville South's name was called for third place, and we knew we were in it.
"We were just having fun. The girls were on cloud nine, pretty much just walking on midair. We couldn't believe it that we made it."
Junior Laura Garbe finished 60th overall individually at state with a team-best time of 1:29.24 two-run total. Senior co-captain Toni Carlstrom had the team's second best time at 1:31.20, finishing 67th individually.
Burnsville will be in position to make another run at state next year, as the team only has two seniors on the roster this year.
"We're the eighth-best team in the state because of how we finished," Abrahamson said. "I'm only looking forward to this coming offseason and next year."
Calvin Swanson is a University of Minnesota journalism student on assignment for the Star Tribune.