It was a learning experience for Richfield junior Erin Brault Feb. 14 when she competed in the state girls Nordic ski meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Brault earned a trip to state by placing 11th in the Section 3 meet Feb. 5 at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. Her combined 5K classic and 5K freestyle pursuit time was 41 minutes, 45 seconds.
Brault was 116th in the state meet field with a pursuit time of 43:45. Her 5K freestyle time was 22:15. She had a time of 21:30 in the 5K classic race.
“The skate [freestyle] course was more difficult and exhausting than I thought it would be,” said Brault. “But I liked the classic course.”
Richfield coach Todd Bauer expects Brault’s state experience to benefit the Spartans’ training regiment next winter.
“Next season, we will include more difficult practices at competitive speeds with longer ski durations,” said Bauer. “We learned with Erin at state that we need to put our skiers in more of these types of situations to be more prepared for state level courses with big changes in topography.”
Duluth East senior Anna Kubak was state girls Nordic ski pursuit champion with a time of 33:59.9. Wayzata won the girls team title with 365 points. Duluth East placed second (362).
“Getting to state is such a big goal and having the experience of being with state and national level skiers is a wonderful learning opportunity,” said coach Bauer. “This was a character-building day for Erin, but having teammates with her to lean on was valuable for all of them.”
Brault agreed with her Richfield coach.
“It was an honor to compete with such good people, plus it was cool that Jakob Ellingson of Hopkins won the boys competition,” said Brault. “I trained with Jakob over the summer.
“It will be an advantage for me and the team to take my state experience with me into my summer training and into next season.
“Having the company of coaches Bauer and Steve Mills along with family and teammmates made being at state that more special,” Brault added.
Contact Greg Kleven at firstname.lastname@example.org