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Successful swoosh at state Nordic ski meet continues for Duluth East girls

A snowless winter didn't deter Duluth East's Nordic ski team from having high aspirations. The Greyhounds got the most out of their training in limited conditions at the Snowflake Nordic Ski Center and Spirit Mountain, and claimed top-three finis...

East girls win state Nordic ski title
Duluth East's Annie Harvieux (left) gets a hug from teammate Carolyn Lucca on Thursday. (Paul Walsh / For the News Tribune)

A snowless winter didn't deter Duluth East's Nordic ski team from having high aspirations. The Greyhounds got the most out of their training in limited conditions at the Snowflake Nordic Ski Center and Spirit Mountain, and claimed top-three finishes in Thursday's Minnesota one-class high school championships at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

The top-ranked East girls won a second straight team title, and sixth overall, while the boys placed third after winning a year ago.

East seniors led Northeastern Minnesota individually as Annie Harvieux placed fourth in the girls pursuit race and Ryan Davis was third in the boys race.

"All of our hard work, dedication and discipline made a difference. It took a lot of strength to stay positive this winter," Harvieux said by phone. "I concentrated on being relaxed and enjoying the race, and hoped to be in the top five."

The East girls won all but one race this season, finishing third at the Mesabi East Invitational on Jan. 7 at Giants Ridge. They earned the state title by one point over No. 3 Wayzata, 372-371.

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Stillwater senior Nora Gilbertson, ranked No. 7, won the 10-kilometer individual race in 33 minutes, 54.3 seconds. Wayzata sophomore Alayna Sonnesyn was second in 33:57.1 and Forest Lake ninth-grader Rocci Wohlk third in 34:05.2. Top-rated Harvieux was next in 34:13.9 and senior teammate Chelsey Youngberg was sixth in 34:47. Next for the Greyhounds were sophomores Sophie Schuder, 21st in 36:00.8, Katie Allen, 29th in 37:05.3, and Ashley Herman, 30th in 37:05.4.

Ely junior Amy Bianco was fifth in 34:31.4. Gilbertson was ninth last year.

"Thank goodness Snowflake Nordic was able to make some snow this winter. That saved us," said East coach Bonnie Kask. "Teams in the Twin Cities were able to find good trails, with man-made snow, 20 minutes away, but we really had to travel to have a long workout. We survived with a great attitude."

In four state meet seasons, Harvieux went 71st, 28th, sixth and fourth. The last East girl to win the state pursuit title was Rachel Daw in 1999.

Top-ranked Ben Saxton, a Lakeville North senior, won a second straight boys 10K pursuit title in 28:52.3, nearly a minute ahead of Detroit Lakes senior Jake Richards in 29:42.6. Davis, ranked No. 10, finished in 29:49.6. Next for East were seniors Geoff Ash, 18th in 31:11.4 and Bauer LeSavage, 31st in 31:40.8,

In previous state meets, Davis was 46th in 2010 and ninth in 2011.

"I was hoping to be in the top five or top three, so I'm really happy with my finish," said Davis, who competed in two Class AA state cross country meets. "This has been a tough season, for a lot of teams, with so little snow, but we made it work."

Top-rated Roseville won the boys team title, in a tight-three school finish, with 370 points. No. 2 Hopkins was second with 367 and No. 3 East next with 362. The East boys won all but two races this season.

Related Topics: SKIING
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