January 21, 2010 at 9:46 a.m.
But, this batch of skiers is back with a vengeance, and they aren't holding anything back in their conference meets.
Top 10 finishes from Joe Cartier, Mark Sandgren and Steve Wagner propelled the 'Cats to comfortable win at Trollhaugen last week.
Chisago Lakes won the meet with 425 points, Centennial came in behind them with a score of 397, and Andover was way off the pace in third place, scoring 367.
Cartier and Sandgren were jockeying for the top spot on the team in both races, but Carter narrowly edged him out with a total time of 51.78 seconds. The mark earned him a fourth place finish overall.
Sandgren came in right behind Cartier, finishing in fifth place overall in the meet. He was over a second behind Cartier after the first run, but a 25.58 second follow-up run drew him just behind his teammate. His total time of 51.8 seconds was two-hundreths of a second behind Cartier.
Wagner wasn't far off that pace, as he finished in eighth place overall. He had a sub 26.5 first run, but he went over 27 seconds in his second run, and that's what dropped him to eighth. As it stood, Wagner finished with a total time of 54.12 seconds.
Corbin Peterson missed out on being the fourth Wildcat in the top 10 by eight-hundreths of a second. The senior couldn't break 28 seconds in his first run, and that cost him in the overall standings, as he finishing with a combined time of 55.16 seconds, just out of reach of the 10th place finisher, who clocked a 55.09 second total.
Jake Sandgren and Hogan Haas also finished in the top 20 for the boys. Jake Sandgren finished in 17th place with a time of 57.03 seconds and Haas finished in 20th with a time of 57.53 seconds.
Although the girls had some wild success as individuals, they couldn't quite overcome the suddenly unbeatable Centennial Cougars in the team standings.
Centennial won the meet, as they've done at every NWSC event this year, with a score of 357 points. Chisago Lakes came in second with a total of 295 points, and Blaine came in third with 247 points.
The 'Cats were paced by Sheila Stephani and Katie Rayer, who finished one-two in the big meet.
Stephani had the fastest run of the day, and the only sub-28 second race of the whole meet, when she finished the second run in 27.89 seconds. In fact, only five runs all day had when under 30 seconds, and Stephani and Rayer were had four of them.
Coupled with her 29.05 first run, Stephani took first by a wide margin, finishing with a total of 56.94, which was a second and a half faster than Rayer.
Rayer also had a good day, also. After her first run of 28.39 seconds, she was sitting in first place, and she would've kept it except for Stephani's amazing second run. Rayer's 29.86 in the second run gave her a total of 58.25 seconds on the day, and left her over two seconds ahead of the third place finisher.
Teresa Sandberg was the third Wildcat to finish in the top 10 when she finished in eighth place. Her total time of 62.34 was enough to earn the 'Cats some big points.
Araya Gamble did the same, finishing in 15th place with a time of 64.73 seconds.
That was when Centennial's depth took over, as they had three finishers between Gamble and Amanda Houle, the next Wildcat to in the standings. She finished in 26th place with a time of 69.37.
Beth Swanson also struggled a bit, finishing in 42nd place with a time of 78.17 seconds.
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