Three Hastings Raider alpine skiers qualified for the state meet after competing at the Section 4 meet on Wednesday, Feb. 6. Senior Alexa Kimmes, junior Sam Molitor and eighth-grader Aaron Herber will all head to Giants Ridge in Biwabik for the state meet, which takes place on Wednesday, Feb. 13. It is the second trip to state for Kimmes and Molitor who were both part of last year's state boys and girls teams.
Head coach Jim Peine said that the last two weeks of bad weather did not affect the skiers as much as some other sports, and in some cases even helped. Before the section meet, the Raider boys took home a Metro East Conference championship while the girls finished third.
"It was perfect weather really," Peine said about the section meet. "Snow conditions were really good, (and) for the young team we have we did pretty good."
He also said that neither team showed much rust or nerves heading into the section meet and it was a valuable experience for both teams for next year as Kimmes is the only senior on either squad.
"Alexa (Kimmes) made two good solid runs, I think she has a little more," Peine said describing the performance of the qualifiers. "She did enough to qualify, the way she skis I think she wanted to ski to make sure she made it versus scoring high and now she can go at state really hard and I think she's looking forward to that."
He said that Molitor was in a similar boat to Kimmes.
"Sam Molitor, he has a little more potential than what he did, but again he skied to make sure he made it to state and I think he's going to let it all go here at state as well," Peine said.
"Aaron (Herber), I think Aaron skied really well. His second run was one of the best runs I've seen him ski," Peine said. "He's really coming around this time of year, I mean perfect timing he's peaking at the right time."
The alpine skiers will compete at Biwabik on Wednesday, Feb. 13, while nordic skiing teammates Trevor Caflisch and Linnea Urban will race the next day. Peine said that in terms of size/atmosphere, the Section 4 meet had significantly more skiers than the state meet will.
Kimmes led the Hastings girls by taking 11th with a combined time between her two runs of 1 minute, 13.50 seconds. Seventh-grader Abigail Pelava was not far behind Kimmes in 17th with a time of 1:15.26, freshman Taylor Pelava finished in 20th in 1:15.57 and eighth-grader Mallory Karnick placed 34th (1:18.66). Junior Nicole Reents took 44th with a time of 1:21.01, fellow junior Miranda Ries finished 58th in 1:29.66 and as a team the girls took fifth with 350 points, just five points behind Hill-Murray.
Molitor was the top finisher for the boys, taking ninth with a time of 1:03.65. Herber was not far behind in 16th with a time of 1:05.53. Just narrowly missing out on state by one spot was seventh-grader Jackson Reents in 18th with a time of 1:05.98, junior Thomas Karnick finished 39th in 1:10.60 and freshman Caleb Kimmes placed 74th (1:23.04). Freshman Charles Millhollin took 79th with a time of 1:25.31.