Good Evening MAST Families:
A great day at Wild Mt today. Thank you coaches. You have been so dedicated all season, coaching six days a week, giving up Saturday nights to provide additional training opportunities, focusing your full attention on our athletes, and guiding their development into highly competitive racers. We have the best coaching staff anywhere. Thank you coaches.
And thank you parents. I am deeply grateful to the parents who worked the race, worked the tent, organized the food and beverages, and cheered on our athletes. MAST takes on a lot of race worker positions and you came through. The Section IV Meet Manager, Joe Dalman, asked me to "tell all of the Mpls Nation thanks for all the support." I thank you as well.
First the good news. Two boys and two girls qualified to compete at the MN State Alpine Championships next Wednesday. Andreas Drekonja finished in 7th place and Charlie Smith was not far behind in 9th. Gabby Harritt and Kate Moore both qualified as well. Gabby finished in 13th place and Kate in 16th.
There were several other terrific performances worth mentioning. Lia Rulf has only been racing for only three years and weighs just a few pounds more than a newborn puppy, but she skied her way into 22nd place today. Reese Kuehn and Elli Arbeiter handled the pressure of racing in their first Section IV Championships and finished in 32nd and 33rd place respectively. Parker Hunt had a terrific first run, finishing in 13th. Washburn boys Jack Bajek, Levi Ehlers, and Beckett Wedren have been leap-frogging each other all season long and pushing each other to improve on a daily basis. Jack won the battle today finishing 32nd. Levi was close behind in 34th and Beckett was hot on their tails in 35th.
Now the heartbreaking news. Nahlah Mkaouri finished .34 seconds out of 17th place, which would have sent her to State. She skied fearlessly and put together two beautiful runs nonetheless. The Hastings boys team ran away with first place, finishing with 437 points. Woodbury finished second with 370 points. Stillwater was third, but only a half a point behind with 369.5 points. And SW was fourth, with 367 points. The SW boys were only three points away from second place and qualifying for the State Meet. Argh! The Washburn boys also put forth a great effort, finishing in fifth place with 356 points.... only fifteen points away from qualifying. And on the girls' side, the Washburn girls finished in third place in team scoring, only 25 points out of second. Be proud girls. You skied incredibly well against two powerhouse girls' teams. Hill-Murray is the best girls team to ever compete in Minnesota, and the Stillwater girls are perennial contenders to not only win their Section Championship but a State Championship. I have no doubt that you can close the gap with one more year of training under your belt.
Our athletes did everything they could this season to challenge the best teams at the Section IV Championships. They trained six days a week, worked the drills, watched video, absorbed coaching, and competed with intensity. We demand a lot from you and you rise to meet our expectations with every challenge. All of the coaches are tremendously proud of you. If you are suffering any disappointment tonight, may it be short-lived. Ski racing is an unforgiving, brutal sport. Much like life in the middle ages... okay, not really, but you get the point. Tomorrow morning, wake up, wash up, eat a good breakfast, and put your mind to making more improvements on the hill. And maybe to studying hard in school as well.
I want to end by saying thank you to our seniors. You have led this team with joy, enthusiasm, maturity, kindness, and continuous hard work. The coaches look forward to telling everyone all about you and your inherent goodness at the banquet. For now, a simple "thank you" will have to do.
A few more days of training remain. Take advantage of this opportunity.