December 23, 2009 at 3:08 p.m.
In what became their season-opener because of one delay, the Chisago Lakes boys and girls alpine ski teams had mixed results throughout the day at the 24-team invite.
The girls had more success on the slopes than the boys, and it was because of a pair of returning skiers who both cracked the top 20 in the standings.
Sophomore Katie Rayer put together two solid runs, finishing in 33.34 in her first run, and 35.70 in her second run for a combined time of 69.04 seconds. The finish kept her pretty far away from the top five girls, who all finished in 65 seconds or less, but six through 13 were all only a second or two ahead of Rayer.
Junior Teresa Sandberg was right there also, finishing in 16th place with almost identical runs. In her first run, she was slightly slower than Rayer, finishing in 33.53, but in her second race, she was a hint faster, finishing in 35.63 seconds. Her total time of 69.16 seconds earned her 16th.
Two more Wildcats, Araya Gamble and Sheila Stefani, finished in the top 50, and that helped the team's cause. Gamble put together two good runs for a total time of 76.10 seconds, which was good enough for 36th place. Stefani had a tough run in her first go-around, finishing in 45.61 seconds, but in her second run, she came down the hill much faster, finishing with a time of 34.47 seconds. Her combined time of 80.08 seconds put her in 42nd out of 119 skiers.
Amanda Engelbrekt finished in 62nd place for the 'Cats with a time of 87.83 seconds, and Beth Swanson came in 71st place with a time of 91.44 seconds.
The girls as a team finished in fourth place in with a total of 372 points. They weren't far off the winners, the Stillwater Ponies, who scored 436 points. The other two teams in the top three, Bloomington Jefferson and Eden Prairie, also topped the 400-point mark.
With three guys in the top 39, but none in the top 19, the 'Cats had consistency, but no top flight threat on the day. Steve Wagner was the top finisher, coming in 20th place with a time of 65.72. Only three seconds separated Wagner from the top three skiers.
In 32nd place, senior Corbin Peterson had a combined time of 68.22 seconds, and Jake Sandgren finished in 39th place with a time of 69.42 seconds.
The 'Cats went more than 30 skiers without a placer until Hunter Haas finished in 76.97 seconds in 73rd place.
Mark Sandgren and Joe Cartier, two of the Wildcats top returning skiers, both fell in one of their runs and tumbled in the standings. Sandgren finished in 93rd place and Cartier cracked the top 100, finishing in 98th place.
As a team, the boys finished in ninth place with 416 points. St. Thomas Academy won the event with 535. The 'Cats could've challenged that total if Cartier and Sandgren had two flawless runs each.