BLOOMINGTON - Hastings sophomore Trevor Caflisch qualified for his first state nordic ski championship, clinching the last individual spot during the Section 1 championship meet on Feb. 6 at Hyland Park in Bloomington.
In the girls' race, freshmen Linnea Urban and Emma Bratvold also came very close to a state bid as they finished one and two spots behind the last qualifier.
The top two teams and then top six individuals qualify for the state meet.
For the boys, Prior Lake and Burnsville were the top two teams. Caflisch was the last skier in with a 12th-place finish and a time of 29 minutes and 48 seconds. Head coach John Dewall said that as Caflisch came down the last stretch toward the finish, Noah Schultz of Winona was able to catch him. Caflisch lunged forward at the very end a video had to be reviewed several times to determine that he had edged out Schultz, a literal photo finish. Caflisch officially finished one one-hundredth of a second ahead of Schultz. The Hastings boys as a team finished seventh out of 10 teams.
The girls had nearly as close as a result when freshman Linnea Urban finished just seconds away from qualifying for state. Winona and Eastview were the top teams, but it was a very tough field. Dewall said that the race was unusual in that, when teams qualify for state they often dominate the top-10 so the individuals that qualify often spill into the teens. However, this race the top teams had most of their racers finish lower than usual so if a racer wanted to qualify as an individual, they had to really finish high up. Urban took eighth and was five seconds (33:45) and one spot away for qualifying. Right behind her was Bratvold in ninth and 23 seconds away (34:03).
Caflisch will compete on Thursday, Feb. 15, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, Minn. Dewall said the course will be both a technical and cardio challenge as the course features a very tight skate portion to start, and then in the classic to finish the skiers will climb up the mountain to start and then come down toward the finish.