Alpine Viking girls race to State

Molly Rider 23rd in State
Mike Larson

The Cook County girls’ Alpine ski team put an exclamation mark on the end of its season with a trip to the state meet, competing against the best of the best. Molly Rider finished 23rd in a field featuring the top skiers in the state. The Cook County girls’ Alpine ski team put an exclamation mark on the end of its season with a trip to the state meet, competing against the best of the best. Molly Rider finished 23rd in a field featuring the top skiers in the state. It might be looked at as “Thomas the Train.” You know the story— the little train that could! The State Alpine meet is typically dominated by strong metro-based schools. Cook County was one of only two northern teams in a field of eight teams—the other northern school being Duluth Marshall. This year was no different— metro schools did in fact dominate the podium. However, Cook County had a presence and it was known!

Lakeville South won the meet for the third consecutive year and had three skiers in the top 10 with all other top 10 skiers from metro schools. The likelihood is that the majority of the top 25+ skiers who placed at the state meet participate in some capacity with the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) Junior Olympic development program. With the advent of the Olympics, Lindsey Vonn (Apple Valley) and Kayln Richardson (Edina) are two former Minnesota metro standouts and now Olympians. They too, skied with the USSA junior development program and were competitors in the state just a few years ago. This is the level of competition our young girls’ Alpine team faced (likely going head-to-head with future Olympians) and this is where they can be proud.

Molly Rider placed 23rd in the entire state and while impressive she will tell you she could have done better. Signe Larson skied hurt from a bad fall during practice just five days prior to the state meet. Signe literally left her crutches at the starting gate and replaced them with ski poles.

Combined with state team members Meghan Lehto (8th grade), Rose Ingebrigtsen (9th grade), Katie Smedstad (10th grade) and Senior Ali Boettcher, this team competed against the best of the best and finished 8th among the eight teams.

Duluth Marshall took fourth place at the state meet and Cook County won over Marshall a week earlier in the section meet. With a healthy Signe and strong Molly these two athletes could see top 15-20 results. Combined with the team, Cook County has the ability to be there with the best. And on any other day this Cook County team could see a third or fourth place state team finish. That’s something considering the level of competition. But that’s also ski racing.

Head Coach Jim Vick has an uncanny ability and keen eye on the technical aspect of ski racing. And that’s why many of his Cook County skiers have experienced success at a high level— at the high school circuit—under his tenure. No, it’s not the USSA development program—Coach Vick will be the first to say he teaches kids to enjoy skiing with the philosophy ski for life first with racing second. Yet, he is also a coach who sees a Thomas the Train. And that Train was recently noticed.


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2010-02-20 digital edition


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