Skiers up to the test at ABC Relays

Given the switch to an afternoon start, the ABC Relays showcased several top teams on what was a busy weekend for the man-made ski loop at Theodore Wirth Park Jan. 19.

Anoka's Cory Mecl completes a turn on the Wirth Park freestyle course during the ABC Relays Jan. 19. Mecl placed 12th, three seconds behind ninth place. Teammate Chris Hecker was runner-up in the event. Photo by Bill Jones

Anoka’s Cory Mecl completes a turn on the Wirth Park freestyle course during the ABC Relays Jan. 19. Mecl placed 12th, three seconds behind ninth place. Teammate Chris Hecker was runner-up in the event. Photo by Bill Jones

Several Andover skiers had a busy day of skiing competing in both a junior national event followed by the high school event.

Stillwater won both the boys and girls team titles over runner-up Andover while Coon Rapids’ boys placed third and Anoka girls’ finished third.

Four skiers completed a 3.3 kilomter course with two in classic style and two in freestyle to give the team result.

Anoka’s Kayla Billett won the freestyle individual title in 8:50, 24 minutes clear of two Andover skiers, runner-up Amanda Jensen (9:14) and third-place Maddie McKeefry (9:15). Billett’s teammate, Lindsey Gast placed sixth in 9:51 and Coon Rapids’ Anna Nelson scored the team’s top finish, 9:58 in ninth place.

Andover’s Maria McQuillan turned in the top classic race for her team with a sixth-place finish in 10:40. Coon Rapids’ Kaitlyn Benson was 13 seconds back in seventh place and Anoka’s Heather Jensen was 13th.

Spring Lake Park girls’ placed 24th among 32 teams and Blaine was 26th.

On the boys’ side, Anoka’s Chris Hecker scored a runner-up finish in the classic race, 19 seconds behind Stillwater champion Sean Bjork. Coon Rapids’ Steven Mueggenberg was fourth in 9:47, tying Champlin Park’s Iazaak Peterson. Andover’s Erik Larson was sixth in 9:48, Coon Rapdis’ Ryan Heida was seventh in 9:50 and Andover’s Ian Mead was eighth in 9:50. Spring Lake Park’s Cole Grotting was 34th and Blaine’s Luke Setterholm was 58th in the field of 62 skiers.

In the freestyle race, Andover’s Lucas Hieb finshed third, 10 seconds behind Minnetonka’s James Sebold and 17 seconds behind Stillwater champion Paul Larson. Hieb’s teammate Chris Meados placed fifth to give the Huskies to top-five finishers in 8:28. Coon Rapids’ Stephen Coughlin edged Michael Coughlin by four seconds and one position, sixth and eighth places, respectively. Anoka’s top skier was Jeff Barstow with a 15th place finish.

Spring Lake Parks’ Nate Landwher placed 46th and Blaine’s Gio Sanchez was 60th in the field of 62 skiers.

Spring Lake Park boys’ placed 25th and Blaine was 27th among 30 teams.

Jason Olson is at jason.olson@ecm-inc.com

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