The early-February drive the Champlin Park Alpine ski team is forced to take to Giants Ridge is a hassle, to say the least.
But sometime this week, the hope is the miles put on by the traveling party heading back north find out why it is a must for the Rebels.
Two members of the Champlin Park boys Alpine ski team will be competing in the state meet at Giants Ridge Feb. 13.
When they arrive, the advantages that both senior Josh Phleger and ninth-grader Anson Kuznik will bring with them are obvious after going through the Section 7 state meet qualification process eight-days prior on the same hill.
“It is the reason why we make the trip for sections,” said head coach Gary Phleger. “It is an inconvenience to us to be in that section because we have to travel so far, but I guess there is a silver lining in everything, and the sliver lining is we get a show that is pretty similar to what state is the week before.”
In truth, Josh Phleger – Gary’s son – shouldn’t need much of a refresher. This will be his fourth consecutive trip to the state Alpine ski meet.
For Kuznik, who missed out last year by not even a second, it could be critical however.
The set-up is expected to change some, and the weather will surely play a role. But having experienced the hill once already could be huge.
“It should help with his nerves,” said Gary Phleger. “He was pretty calm last week though. He is not a speed guy, he is more of a technical skier. The second set-up was perfect for him. He had some work to do, but I told him to just ski how you like to ski, because that hill has your name all over it, and he did.”
That effort earned him a 10th place overall finish out of the 102 boys competing, which was good enough for a two-run time of 1 minute, 17.49 seconds to get him to state.
Josh Phleger was fourth in the section in 1:14.33.
Their teammates on the boys side (Tony Kuznik, Cooper Johnson, Parker Toenies and Gunnar McLellan) helped the Rebels put together a seventh-place finish as a team with 300 points, which was just a single point back from sixth-place Marshall.
The girls ended up 11th in the team standings.
Lisa and Tara Dalman were the team’s top performers after finishing in 27th and 45th place respectively.
Allison Phleger, Belinda Huang, Zoey Rugel and Tyra Crushshon also skied for the Champlin Park girls.
Contact Nick Clark at [email protected]