Nordic ski team hosts meet before State

Robert Galbreath photos

PINEDALE – Ideal conditions greeted Nordic skiers at the Pinedale High School Nordic Ski Meet on Feb. 12 and 13. Low-hanging clouds delivered fresh powder and kept the wind at bay as volunteers prepared the course and starting line at the White Pine Nordic Center.

Pinedale athletes took on Jackson, the defending State Champion in both boys’ and girls’ Nordic ski, and Lander, the 2020 state runner-up. Undaunted by the competition, the Wranglers waxed their skies and hit the course, improving times and placings.

“On Friday, the teams skied a 5-kilometer classic race,” said head coach Chris Calabro. “The temperatures were in the 20s with no wind, and a light snow fell throughout the day, providing a layer of fresh snow on the groomed trails. On Saturday, the skiers competed in a 10-kilometer skate race on 4 to 6 inches of newly groomed snow, with temperatures in the low 20s again and no wind.”

Junior Zane Hayward led the boys’ varsity team on Friday, placing 14th and timing the course in at 23 minutes, 16.29 seconds. Junior Jimmy Winkelkotter shot through the finish line seconds later, placing 18th at 23:33.94. Freshman Max Rife came in 23rd place at 24:46.77.

In girls’ varsity, junior Lexie Goodrich took 20th place, clocking in at 26:25.29. Freshman Paige Graham placed 38th at 35:17.08.

Rife broke into the top 10 in the boys’ varsity 10-kilometer race on Saturday. Taking 10th place, Rife completed the 6.2-mile course in 34:01.31, his personal record for the season, said coach Calabro.

Winkelkotter moved up to 13th place at 35:22.63 and Hayward came in 17th at 36:42.54, their fastest times in the event this season, according to Calabro.

Goodrich placed 27th in the girls’ varsity 10-kilometer race, finishing in at 45:43.38. Graham took 36th place at 1:03:07.98.

The PHS Nordic ski team competes at the state championships in Casper on Feb. 26 and 27.

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