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Minnehaha Academy junior Bjorn Halvorson

A high school Alpine skier returned his state championship medal after admitting he should have been ineligible for the state meet.

Junior Bjorn Halvorson, who skied for Minnehaha Academy, forfeited his medal to the Minnesota State High School League last week, a school official confirmed Thursday.

Halvorson, who won the state Alpine skiing title in February at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, is now listed as disqualified on the high school league's website. Runner-up Jack Post of Eden Prairie is listed as the meet champion.

"Bjorn returned his medal. It was a decision that he made because he felt it was the right thing to do,'' said Minnehaha Academy Principal Nancy Johnson. "We're proud that he took that step.''

Johnson declined to comment on the nature of the eligibility issue. She said Halvorson is "no longer enrolled at Minnehaha Academy.''

The changes to the website come on the heels of action taken by the high school league last week to close a loophole that left it powerless to confront an athlete who competed in and won a state meet after denying a violation of league eligibility guidelines.

The league's board of directors voted April 5 to amend a bylaw to give the league more authority going forward when a student denies violating a league rule and is later found to have violated it. The change means the student "shall forfeit any honors won as an individual" subsequent to the violation.

Earlier at the same meeting, the board voted to accept an athlete's request to relinquish a medal won at a state competition. Neither the athlete nor the sport was named.

Speaking last week about the board's action, league Executive Director Dave Stead said: "In my 26 years we've never had this happen before. But there was a student-athlete who contacted us to say, 'There was an eligibility issue on my part and I decided that what I should do is return the medal.'"

Asked about the eligibility issue, Stead said the school "never confirmed with me what happened."

Johnson said Sarah Halvorson, head coach of Minnehaha Academy's boys' and girls' programs and also Bjorn's mother, is no longer the school's coach. She was not employed as a teacher.

Messages left at the Halvorsons' home were not returned.

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574

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