Duluth East senior Anna Kubek won the 10-kilometer pursuit state Nordic ski title Feb. 14 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Kubek finished more than 22 seconds ahead of Burnsville junior Vivian Hett and Mounds Park Academy senior Kristen Bourne.
The second- and third-place skiers were separated by 0.6 seconds. Bourne scored the fastest classic time of the day, but it wasn’t enough to make up the time lost during the freestyle race.
Wayzata passed Duluth East by three points to win the team title.
Andover junior Maddie McKeefry led the ABC-Newspapers-area skiers with a 25th-place finish in the pursuit in 36:35.9 which was nearly one minute slower than her 11th-place finish last season, but gave her a third All-State honor.
Huskies coach Scott Clark said McKeefry was sick at sections and that carried over to state. “She had a tough skate race due to congestion and just couldn’t breath very well,” he said. She posted a time of 18:50 in the freestyle portion which left her in 46th place, 21 spots out of All-State honors.
“Maddie is a fierce competitor and also a very accomplished classic skier and when she went by us, about 300 meters into the classic race she was clearly getting after it,” Clark said.
Passing 21 skiers in a class race is very tough because of the tracks which tend to bottle-up everyone.
“So she was constantly moving out of the tracks to pass which is more effort and put her in the slower snow,” he said. “Amazingly with about 400 meters to go in the race she was in 26th place and was catching the next skier. She managed to outsprint them to the finish and claimed the last all-state spot.”
She finished the classic race in 17:43.6.
Andover teammate Maria McQuillan, a senior, placed 63rd overall in 38:45.5 (19:05 freestyle, 19:40.5 classic) among the 120 skiers.
Anoka senior Kayla Billett improved her position by 10 spots and 54 seconds with a 34th-place finish in 37:00.1 (18:35 freestyle, 18:24.7 classic).
Coon Rapids senior Anna Nelson scored a 58th-place finish in 38:36.5 (19:40 freestyle, 18:56.5 classic) after finishing 40th last season. Nelson was 0.3 seconds behind 57th place as she dealt with an ill-timed cold.
Cardinals coach Denny Green said Nelson was in much better shape coming into state this season but, like many other racers, a bout with a cold derailed her hopes of an all-state finish (top 25).
Green said Nelson’s lungs were burning throughout the morning race, “however, she recovered well for the second race and moved up 20 spots to end on a high note,” he said. “It was just timing with the illness that got her, but this will motivate her as she moves on in her skiing career.”
Hopkins Jakob Ellingson edged Eden Prairie’s Thomas Bye by less than one second for the pursuit state title Feb. 14. Ellingson won the freestyle portion by five seconds and Bye won the classic race less than four seconds.
Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony junior Jake Ajax placed 27th in the pursuit in 31:40.6 seconds or 0.2 seconds out of 25th place. Ajax finished 30th the freestyle in 15:58 and 25th 15:42.6 in the classic race.
Anoka senior Chris Hecker placed 36th in the pursuit in 32:03.6 or 0.2 seconds from 33rd place (15:56 freestyle and 16:07.6 classic). Hecker placed 32nd overall as a junior
Eden Prairie earned the boys’ team title over runner-up Ely by 20 points, while third-place Forest Lake trailed by 23 points.