Nordic ends season on high note

Senior skier advances to State meet


Senior captain Jackson Sokolowski hunches over in an attempt to maximize speed. Sokolowski finished first at conferences Feb. 1 and Feb. 3 at Theodore Wirth Park.

Racing through the finish line with ease, senior nordic captain Jackson Sokolowski clinched first place at conference and earned a State qualifying time at Sections.

Sokolowski said he was pleased with the team’s performance at recent conference meets held Feb. 1 and Feb. 3.

“I think the meets went really well for everybody,” Sokolowski said. “We lost a lot of (varsity skiers) last year, but a lot of people are stepping up and were coming together as a full team and community.”

According to head coach Diane Vezendy, many skiers performed well in the last meets.

“The St. Louis Park skiers skied very hard last week at conferences. Jackson Sokolowski took first place with plenty of time to spare,” Vezendy said. “Our girls also had a great race with all conference. Susanna Hu (took) third, Cecelia Schmelzle (took) fifth and Caroline Green (earned) sixth.”

Junior skier Kate Brinkman said the team placed as expected at conferences.

“I think it went pretty well, I think we kind of fell exactly where we had been placing in the other meets. We’d been really close with Benilde and Chaska/(Chanhassen), the girls at least,” Brinkman said. “We got third which is where we’d been falling in the other races.”

According to Sokolowski, the team now competes at a higher level because of improvements made throughout the season.

“I think as a team we’ve improved a lot throughout the year and personally I’ve improved a lot as well. Earlier in the year we were far behind the Bloomington schools; we couldn’t really compete with them,” Sokolowski said. “Now in these last meets we were leading, and beat them a couple of times, and I personally beat the other skiers by a larger margin.”
Vezendy said the team worked hard to overcome the struggles caused by the lack of snow during the beginning of the season.

“Our sport is very dependent on the weather and unfortunately this season we weren’t able to get on snow until late December,” Vezendy said. “We weren’t able to start racing until January so that resulted in, at times, two races a week.”

Brinkman said the team should be proud of its performance given the difficulty of the competition.

“Our Section is really hard, our team as a whole isn’t grown in to make it to state or anything,” Brinkman said. “I want each of them to be proud of how they do, not finish disappointed if they didn’t place, but go into it like race your own race and not worry about your team.”

Sokolowski will ski at State 10 a.m. Feb. 16 at Giants Ridge.