St. Paul Highland Park sophomore Molly Moening won the girls’ Nordic skiing individual championship Friday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. Photos: BRIAN PETERSON • firstname.lastname@example.org
BIWABIK, MINN. — Molly Moening had to get to the hill first. With 12 seconds to make up and the wind picking up, she knew catching Libby Tuttle early was the key to victory, for her and her team.
Moening took home the girls’ Nordic skiing individual title on Friday at Giants Ridge with a time of 32:16.1. She helped propel St. Paul Highland Park to its first team championship with 408 points.
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better,” the sophomore said. “I’m super proud of all of them.”
Tuttle, a senior from Stillwater, started the afternoon’s classic-style chase after a strong freestyle finish in her morning run. Thrashing her way out of the gate, Tuttle set a strong pace but was soon overtaken by Moening.
Henry Snider of Mounds Park Academy, right, edged Roger Anderson of Armstrong at the finish line to win the boys’ pursuit title by less than a second. Similarly close was the boys’ team title: Forest Lake won it in a tiebreaker.
Down to the wire
As Henry Snider and Roger Anderson rounded the final corner, it was anyone’s race.
A few seconds later, it was Snider’s race.
The senior from Mounds Park Academy, from a class of just 55 students, delivered a photo finish after a four-year campaign for a state championship.
“It felt amazing,” Snider said. “I never expected this — since my freshman year, I’ve always dreamed of being a state champion.”
It was “summer training, dedication, and a love of the sport” that made the dream come true, he said.
In fourth place after the morning freestyle race, Snider had to overcome a 12-second advantage from Roger Anderson, who was the only skier to post a sub-14-minute first run.
Snider was up for the challenge.
“I’m always better at the second race. I knew it was definitely possible,” he said.
Anderson and Snider traded the lead a few times. In the final push it was Snider sliding past the finish line, recording a 28:24.2 total pursuit.
Anderson, a junior from Robbinsdale Armstrong, was less than a second behind with a 28.24.8 finish.
Snider finished sixth last year and was one of just two of last year’s top-10 finishers returning to the state meet this year.
Forest Lake pulled in the team victory, winning a tiebreaker with Minneapolis Southwest. Both teams had 401 points but Forest Lake’s combined times ended up slightly faster.
Top finishers for Forest Lake included sophomore Noah Erickson’s sixth-place finish and senior Ethan Erickson’s 11th-place time. Minneapolis Southwest was led by senior Jacob Rochell-Share, who finished in 29:40.8 to claim 13th.
St. Paul Highland Park placed third in the team competition with 357 points.
The meet was originally scheduled for Thursday but was delayed due to extreme wind chills. It was still a frosty afternoon, and the wind picked up late. Still, hundreds of spectators and more than 300 skiers took it in stride as the sun beamed down throughout the day.