The Rhinelander High School Nordic ski team competed in the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League State Championships in Cable at the American Birkebeiner trailhead over the weekend, with the RHS boys' finishing 15th and the girls' placing 14th under Coach Charil Reis.
The top Hodag finish on the weekend was Emma Hjelle who finished 74th overall out of 108 skiers. She clocked in with a time of 1 hour, 1 minute, 14.2 seconds as a combined time on Saturday’s 7-kilometer skate and Sunday's 7-kilometer classic.
And finishing right behind Hjelle was freshman Jenna Younker, who charted 75th place and Emma Roberts who finished in 76th place. Rounding out the RHS girls' was Carleene Morien, who finished 85th and senior Gracie Quinn in 94th.
Both Hjelle and Morien picked up six positions in Sunday's final race, and Younker was able to pick up three spots for the lady Hodags. While none of the RHS boys' moved ranks in the final day.
On the boys' side of action Breckin Younker lead the Hodags, finishing in 97th out of 126 with a time of 50:34.2. Following was Nicholas St. Pierre finishing 101st, Daniel Ritchie in 106th, Levi Smith in 111th, and Alec Lowry finishing in 114th.
It was a challenge for Rhinelander, with a fast and simple course along with the changing weather conditions. But the Hodags were able to adjust as much as they could with several skiers improved throughout the three-lap circuit course.
The weekend's race was close out the competition season for Rhinelander, who will not be competing in the sprint championships in Madison next weekend.
The Rhinelander High School Nordic ski team both girls' and boys' divisions placed third at the Ashwabay Summit Race on Saturday. It would prove to be the Hodags final tune up before Rhinelander will compete at the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League state championship that will be held in Cable.
The lady Hodags had solid finishes on the day with all four varsity skiers charting top-15 finishes. Emma Hjelle led the way for Rhinelander and finished in eighth place with a time of 40:34.8.
Jenna Younker finished right behind Hjelle in ninth (41:24.2), and Emma Roberts charted 10th (41:34.0). Allie Fugle charted 13th (44:40.5), and Carleen Morien finished 14th (46:15.6).
Freshman Daniel Ritchie had a solid day and would led RHS finishing the 7-kilometer classic course with a time of 33 minutes, 15.7 seconds. Ritchie’s time was good enough for an 11th place finish.
The rest of the Hodag boys finished in a pack and all cracked the top-25. Breckin Younker placed 21st (35:32.4), Nicholas St. Pierre finished 22nd (36:30.3), and Levi Smith took 23rd (37:15.7).
Along with the RHS varsity competing, the Rhinelander middle school teams also skied well on the day.
Hayward girls' finished first with 10 points, with the Hodags right behind in second overall with 13 points. Anna Wood finished seond (20:27.5), Liana Teter took third (20:32.2), McKenna Nash finished eighth (24:01.3), Juliana Smith placed ninth (24:49.4), and Aubrey Younker took 10th (25:43.8).
The Rhinelander middle school boys' won their division Saturday beating out Canski, Drummond, and Hayward.
Zach Goodrich finished first on the day with the fastest time of 17:19.1. Jett Biolo finished in second with a time of 18:03.0. Kyle Morien finished fourth (18:09.8), Ryan Morien finished 11th (22:43.2), and Sam Rutkowski placed 15th (23:40.6).
It also was RHS’s final competition before state that will be held in Cable at the American Birkebeiner race course. Saturday’s course challenged the Hodags and also will help prepare them for their season finale.
The state course will set up as a 2.3-kilometer loop, which the skiers will race three laps in the freestyle race on Saturday. The classic will be three more laps on Sunday.
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