Prior to the season, coach Charil Reis said the Rhinelander High School Nordic ski team's goal was to place one skier in the top 25 and another in the top 50 at the Wisconsin Nordic Ski League state meet. The Hodags achieved half of that goal over the weekend.
Jenna Younker placed 50th on the number in the overall pursuit in the two-day competition that wrapped up Sunday at the Birkebeiner trailhead in Cable.
Team-wise the Hodags finished 12th out of 12 qualifying girls' teams at state, while the Hodag boys placed 13th in a 16-team field.
Younker was close to the goal following Saturday's 7-kilometer classic race, in 51st place. She picked up one spot on Sunday with the 49th-fastest 7-kilometer freestyle time to clock in 50th with an aggregate time of 50 minutes, 45.1 seconds.
Younker was the only Hodag to finish in the top 50 percent of the state meet. Zach Goodrich led the Hodag boys placing 77th in a field of 129 skiers. Carleene Morien was second across the line for the Hodag girls, 81st out of 110.
Goodrich had a steady meet on the boys' side, placing 77th in both classic and freestyle to finish with a combined time of 44:39.8. Nicholas St. Pierre was the fastest for Rhinelander in Sunday's freestyle event, with the 75th-best time on the day, as he finished 81st in the overall standings (44:39.8). Levi Smith was 90th (47:11.5), followed by Breckin Younker (99th, 48:02.2), Alec Lowry (103rd, 49:08.2) and Daniel Goldsworthy (108th, 50:31.4).
Morien was 80th in classic and 81st in freestyle for the Hodags, to finish with an overall time of 57.03.1. Abbie Henrichs was 84th (59:20.2), Valerie Dalka was 85th (59:45.3), Emma Roberts finished 86th (1:00:04.6), Jaylen Janssen was 98th (1:07:55.3) and Malie Llanos was 103rd (1:20:46.9).
Two of Rhinelander's top four finishers in Saturday's classic race - Gwyneth Lowry (79th, 29:17.4) and Emma Hjelle (83rd, 29:34.5) - missed Sunday's competition due to illness.
Lakeland again ruled the boys' side of the state competition, taking the team title by six points over Ashwaubenon. Lakeland senior Kieran Mullen edged Ashwaubenon junior Jackson Adler by 1.7 seconds for the overall state title. Wausau Nordic United's Olivia Dreger posted a 6.2-second margin of victory in the girls' pursuit over Lakeland freshman Mia Case. Wausau United edged Lakeland for the team state title by two points.
Lakeland took the middle school girls' title while Peak Nordic claimed the middle school boys' title. Rhinelander finished fifth of 11 teams in the girls' standings, led by Anna Wood (15th), Liana Teter (24th) and Megan Lester (25th). The Hodag boys were seventh of 13 in the middle school race. Jett Biolo (21st), Kyle Morien (24th) and Will Rutkowski (30th) were Rhinelander's top finishers.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at email@example.com.
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