Hornets’ luck changes prior to state ski meet

During his long tenure as the Alpine skiing coach at Edina High School, Dave Nelson has been blessed with good luck.
Want proof? Just look at his record. His resume includes eight girls state championships, plus two boys state championships, since 1996.
Nelson’s luck took a turn for the worse a few days prior to the 2013 state meet when his No. 1 boys skier, junior Spencer Knack, was badly injured in a training accident. With two vertebra damaged, there was no way he could compete in the state meet Feb. 13 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. That left the Lake Conference champs short-handed for the biggest meet of their season.
“Spencer is still in quite a bit of pain,” said Nelson. “But he will make a comeback. He is a quick, agile skier with a lot of athletic ability.”
The Hornets competed gamely without Knack.
“Each one of our skiers gave it everything he had,” said Nelson. “And I was proud of the way our two girls qualifiers skied. The skiers we have this year are more than a family … they really care about one another.”
Nelson is already thinking about next season, when everyone will return to the boys varsity lineup except senior captain Coleman Foley.
Knack will head the returning cast along with sophomore Dennis Bao, who led Edina with a 19th-place individual finish at state.
“Dennis had two of his best runs of the season at Giants Ridge,” Nelson noted. “He could be in the top 10 in the state the next two years if he keeps progressing. I could not ask for a better attitude from an athlete, and Dennis is also a 4.0 student.”
Edina finished sixth in the state team standings, which was understandable with a skier of Knack’s caliber missing.
Blake School won the state team title 159-139 over second-place Stillwater. Orono, Eden Prairie and Silver Bay were other teams that placed in front of Edina. The Hornets finished ahead of Eastview and Hermantown.
Michael Murney of Bloomington Jefferson took the state individual title with Jack McNeill of Blake finishing second and Jack Post of Eden Prairie taking third place.
In state girls Alpine skiing, Minnetonka was the team champion. Edina’s top skier was Ana Martinez, who took 23rd place. Kaia Lindquist was Edina’s other state qualifier.
Elizabeth Koprucki of East Ridge was the individual girls state medalist. Savannah Shore of Brainerd took second place and Rosie Hust of Orono took third.
Nelson was impressed by the quality of the course at Giants Ridge.
“It was worthy of a state meet,” he said.