Their emotions were torn in the aftermath of the Section 6 Nordic ski finals Feb. 4 at Theodore Wirth Park.
On one end, four individuals from Armstrong had just qualified for their first state meet appearance. But on the other, it could have been more.
The Armstrong girls ended up finishing second in the team competition to Hopkins, falling a measly three points shy of topping the Royals in the chase to get the entire team to Giants Ridge in Biwabik this week.
“When you come that close, it is always disappointing,” said head coach Steve Hopke. “The team goal was to qualify for state. We had a shot, and they knew it, and they all skied well, but the competition also skied well. It was a good meet, and fortunately we have four individuals that will be representing us in the state meet.”
Two of those individuals come from that girls team.
Ninth-grader Hannah Rudd was the runner-up finisher in the girls race, placing second with an overall pursuit time of 35 minutes, 21 seconds.
Junior Anna Nachbor also qualified after placing fourth overall in 36:29.1.
Senior Emily Delaney (12th overall in 38:49) missed out on qualifying individually by 52 seconds.
Ninth-grader Maria Schoening was 13th in the girls race, sophomore Kelsey Sather placed 15th, senior Rachael Johnson was 17th, and sophomore Megan Stuart ended up 20th out of the 76 girls competing in the section.
“All seven of our girls were in the top-20,” Hopke said. “You can’t ask for much more than that.”
On the boys side of the event, the Falcons were fourth as a team. But like the girls, the Armstrong boys also got two skiers advancing to the state meet.
Junior Jon Delaney was the top finisher for Armstrong. He placed fifth overall in 31:35.6. Sophomore Tom Norman also qualified. He grabbed the final qualifying spot by placing 11th in 33:07.8, despite skiing nearly a quarter of the classic race with just one pole.
“He broke a pole, so for him to still get in was really something,” said Hopke. “Classic skiing with only one pole is a real disadvantage, so for him to come back like he did is unbelievable.”
The boys and girls state Nordic ski meet is set for Thursday, Feb. 14 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Contact Nick Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org