The Rhinelander High School Nordic Ski team is ready and optimistic for the upcoming 2018-2019 season. It marks coach Charil Reis' fifth season in charge and the Hodags bring back a solid experienced squad along with several incoming freshman. There are currently 24 RHS athletes out, and marks the largest number Reis has seen.
Looking at the lineup, a majority of the teams' top skiers return from last season including junior Jenna Younker who finished 50th at the WNSL state championships last season. Younker will be joined by teammates Abbie Henrichs, Valerie Dalka, Emma Hjelle, Gwyneth Lowry, Jaylen Janssen, and Emma Roberts.
On the boys' side of action, Rhinelander returns sophomore Zach Goodrich who led the team last season and finished 77th at state. He will be joined by teammates Breckin Younker, Daniel Goldsworthy, Levi Smith, and Nicholas St. Pierre.
But the varsity lineup will be competing for positions as the Hodags also welcome 11 freshman to the team, and several bring in previous experience at the middle school level. Three freshman girls' finished in the top 25 last season at state including Anna Wood, Liana Teter, and Megan Lester. While freshmen Kyle Morien and Will Rutkowski also cracked the top 30 in the middle school boys' state race last year.
The team will continue to focus on their training and developing their technique so they can continue to grow as individuals, a team, and a program as a whole. They will also look to have skiers again place in the top 50 at state.
The team will kick of their season tomorrow when they compete in the Ice Age Opener at the ABR/Wolverine Trails in Ironwood, Michigan. The race will be a 5.3-kilometer freestyle race and will be a great opportunity for the team to see where they sit and where they need to improve as the season progresses.
Rhinelander will then head to Minocqua for the Lakeland Invite on December, 18th at Winter Park. RHS will then host the two-day Hodag Nordic Challenge at C.A.V.O.C. starting on January 5th. And the WNSL state meet will be February 9th and 10th in Cable.
The Rhinelander High School Nordic Ski team is continuing to build and progress throughout the season. The 2017-2018, the team showed great strides and they added numbers to the program this season as they keep moving in the right direction. Here is a look back at there season and what to be looking forward to for 2018-2019 under head Coach Charil Reis.
The Northwoods Nordic Ski Club, which is the booster program for both the Rhinelander High School and James Williams Middle School teams used the Cedric A. Vig Outdoor Classroom (CAVOC) for a majority of their training this season. CAVOC also hosted the two-day Hodag Nordic Challenge in January in which they made a number of improvements to the trail.
RHS Girls' Team
The Hodags' girls were led by Jenna Younker, who had Rhinelander's best finish for the team at the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League State Meet held at Birkebeiner trailhead in Cable. Younker placed 50th individually. As a team the girls' finished 12th out of 12 qualifying teams
In the classic race on the first day of state, Younker finished the 7-kilometer in 51st and was able to gain a position on Sunday's freestyle and finished 50th and had an aggregate time of 50 minutes, 45.1 seconds.
The second best Hodag girl to finish at state was Carleene Morien who finished 81st in the field of 110 skiers. Morien was 80th in the classic and 81st in the freestyle with a time of 57:03.1.
Following Younker and Morien, the lady Hodags' would finish near the back of the pack. Abbie Henrichs was 84th (59:20.2), Valerie Dalka placed 85th (59.45.3), Emma Roberts charted 86th (1:00:04.6), Jaylen Janssen was 98th (1:07:55.3), and Malie Llanos finished 103rd (1:20:46.9).
The team was also with half of their top four finishers after the classic race due to illness. Gwyneth Lowry placed 79th with a time of 29:17.4 and Emma Ejelle finished 83rd at 29:34.5.
RHS Boys' Team
The RHS boys' team was led by freshman Zach Goodrich throughout the season and had the boys’ top finish at the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League State, finishing 77th out of 129. As a team the Rhinelander boys placed 13th out of 16 teams at state. Besides Alec Lowry, the Hodags' boys team consists of underclassmen. Goodrich's combined time was 44:39.8.
On the second day's freestyle at state, Nicholas St. Pierre held Rhinelander's fastest time and finished 75th and would place 81st overall with a combined time of 45:18.2.
Levi Smith placed 90th at 47:11.5, Breckin Younker finished 99th at 48:02.2, Lowry placed 103rd at 49:08.2, and Daniel Goldsworthy finished 108th at 50:31.4. Looking ahead
The future looks bright for the Rhinelander High School as well as the James Williams Middle School teams for the 2018-2019. The team will be looking to continue to rebuild their program and stress on strength as well as offseason training and continue to strive for the great culture of Nordic skiing.
The Hodags' return a strong core of skiers and will only lose one senior to graduation; Lowry. Not only do they return a majority of their team, but they have a large incoming freshmen group to continue to build their numbers. It was also Reis' most team members and state meet participants in her four years in charge.
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