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Kristen Bourne, Mounds Park Academy Nordic skiing

, Star Tribune

Alexis Alexander, Champlin Park girls' basketball

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Bryanna Fernstrom, Chisago Lakes girls' basketball

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Garrison Gillard, Maranatha boys' basketball

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Porter Morrell, Elk River boys' basketball

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Kenny Reed, St. Paul Harding boys' basketball

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Andrew Sprang, Benilde-St. Margaret's boys' hockey

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Athletes of the week: Better ski racing through relaxing

  • February 11, 2013 - 9:20 PM

KRISTEN BOURNE

Mounds Park Academy

Nordic skiing

After dedicating the offseason to becoming an elite-level skier, Bourne spent the first month of the high school skiing season frustrated with her results. Physically, she was fine. Perhaps her problems, she concluded, were in her head.

"My ski club had a session with a sports psychologist about two months before," said Bourne, a senior. "It was about approaching races differently. I finally figured out what I needed to be doing to relax and prepare and I've been having good races ever since."

A second-place finish at the prestigious Mesabi Invite in early January was the catalyst to a season in which she won seven races, including Wednesday's Section 4 individual championship. Her pursuit time of 28 minutes, 58 seconds was 16 seconds ahead of runner-up Racquel Wohlk of Forest Lake. The victory vaulted Bourne to the No. 1 ranking in the state according to skinnyski.com.

Don't ask her what her new relaxation technique is, however.

"It's kind of a secret. I don't want anyone else to figure it out," she laughed. "Let's just say that it involves sleep and a certain kind of music. Now when I go out to race, I'm really relaxed and mentally focused."

ALEXIS ALEXANDER

Champlin Park • basketball

The Rebels upset the two top Northwest Suburban foes behind the junior point guard. She had 13 points, eight rebounds and five assists in a 62-57 victory over Centennial, and 16 points, five rebounds and five assists in a 58-51 victory over Osseo.

BRYANNA FERNSTROM

Chisago Lakes • basketball

The 6-5 junior center was dominant in the post last week, scoring 60 points and hauling down 36 rebounds in the Wildcats' victories over Irondale, North Branch and Hermantown. She is averaging 20.6 points and 10. 3 rebounds per game.

GARRISON GILLARD

Maranatha • basketball

The Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in Class 1A, routed No. 9 West Lutheran 66-38 behind 27 points, six assists and five rebounds from the senior guard. He added 18 points, five rebounds and four assists in a 79-73 overtime victory over Minneapolis Washburn.

PORTER MORRELL

Elk River • Basketball

The senior point guard's all-around play led the Elks to victories over Blaine (80-68 in double overtime) and Andover (69-57). In all, Morrell had 50 points, 19 rebounds, eight assists, seven steals and hit seven of 11 three-pointers.

KENNY REED

St. Paul Harding • Basketball

Harding downed conference rival Humboldt 74-69 in overtime last Monday on the strength of a school-record 47-point performance from the senior forward. His total was the third-highest in St. Paul City Conference history.

ANDREW SPRANG

Benilde-St. Margaret's • hockey

The senior goalie backstopped two crucial Red Knights' victories, beating national prep power Shattuck St. Mary's 5-2 and Eden Prairie 3-2. Sprang stopped 69 of the 73 shots he faced.

JIM PAULSEN

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