Pequot Lakes’ eighth-grader Grace McGuire was among five Brainerd Warriors advancing to the girls’ state alpine skiing meet after Section 5 competition on Thursday, Feb. 6, at Afton Alps.
The Warriors missed advancing their entire team to state by 1/100th of a second, and one-half point. But, after girls from champion Minnetonka and runner-up Orono were excluded, the 10 fastest individuals not on either team also qualify for state, which was Wednesday, Feb. 12 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
The Warriors’ state delegation included Hannah Moen (10th place), Ashley Fitterer (12th), McGuire (13th), Emily Aga (17th) and Payge Fitterer (18th). All five will be making their first trip to state.
Pequot Lakes’ freshman Alex Stone, Brainerd’s top seed, fell on her first run and eventually finished 59th.
Warriors coach Jim Ruttger was proud of how the girls team responded, knowing it would have to pull together after Stone fell and finished 73rd on her first run.
“The girls could have figured they were done for the day, they watched it unfold, and they decided not to let that happen,” Ruttger said in a Brainerd Dispatch story. “They knew they had to ski as well as they possibly could the next two runs and they just got it done.”
After the first run, the Warrior girls were one point out of second place.
“We knew going into our second run that these girls would have to ski like they’ve never skied before to try and catch Orono, and they did a great job,” Ruttger said. “Hannah moved up from 13th her first run to ninth her second run. Ashley and Grace were bunched right in there.”
After her fall, Stone recovered to have the 10th-fastest second run but her overall time was 1:42.52.
Girls team scores: 1-Minnetonka 290, 2-Orono 252, 3-Brainerd 251.5, 4-Wayzata 205.5, 5-Annandale 187, 6-Hopkins 180, 7-Maple Grove 159, 8-Westonkla 150, 9-Breck 128, 10-Armstrong 90, 11-Lakes Area Alpine 79, 12-Breakaways 56
Individual winner: Erin Olejnik (Minnetonka) 59.74
Brainerd results: 10-Hannah Moen 1:07.83, 12-Ashley Fitterer 1:08.07, 13-Grace McGuire 1:09.26, 17-Emily Aga 1:11.22, 18-Payge Fitterer 1:11.69, 59-Alex Stone 1:42.52