Nordic victorious at Sections

Girls’ team advances to State tournament


Maren Wilsey

Junior Rachel Katzovitz skis at sections Feb. 10. The girls Nordic team qualified for the State meet for the first time since 2004.

After a long day of competing against other schools in the area, Park’s nordic team was tremendously successful at Sections, according to sophomore Jersey Miller.

“Finally getting to be at that moment that we’ve worked so hard for all season was just so exciting. This is the first time the girls’ team has won sections since 2004,” Miller said. “We were competing against Hopkins and Wayzata, and those are both two really strong teams.”

The nordic skiing Sections championship was Feb. 10 at Hyland Hills. The girls’ team won first place by one point and the boys’ team placed fifth. Senior captain Victoria Schmelzle said winning was especially meaningful because of the passing of the team’s previous coach as the team dedicated its win to his memory.

“With our coach (John Dyste) having passed away, it was a really big deal to have done this for him,” Schmelzle said. “We all know he would have been really proud of us. I know we kind of kept that in mind all day that we’re doing it for him. He helped build this team.”

Nordic coach Erik Ahlquist said the competitiveness and adaptability of the girls’ team made their success possible, and he is proud of them.

“The girls on this team are super competitive (and) they’re really teachable. They’ll ask us how they can improve. When we give them suggestions, they do everything that we ask them to do, and they do more. Every single one of them, over the course of the season, has improved tremendously,” Ahlquist said. “These kids are just the best. I just love being with them every day.”

Sophomore Ayelel Meyen said she will never forget the tournament because everyone performed to their best ability.

“I honestly don’t think it could have been any better, because so much meaning and work went into this race. It was an unforgettable experience,” Meyen said. “As a team, as a whole, I think we did amazing because we all showed up and did what we had to.”

Every moment matters. Every points counts.

— Jersey Miller

Miller said putting in extra effort taught her that what she does is meaningful.

“Every moment matters. Every points counts. You have to push yourself as hard as you can while you’re racing to reach your goals,” Miller said.

Meyen said having a great competitive team, coaches and supporters helped the team win Sections. 

“Having such a great competitive team, a great group of coaches and a great group of supporters such as other team members and parents cheering really made winning Sections possible,” Meyen said.

Ahlquist said he’s proud of the team for achieving its goals, and hopes to continue to exceed expectations at the State meet.

“The goal that we had going into the whole season was to win Sections. We achieved that one. That’s pretty freaking fantastic,” Ahlquist said. “We’d love to be top five in State. Whether we attain that or not, we’ll have to wait and see.”

The girls’ nordic team will compete in the State tournament Feb. 16 and 17 at Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort.