The senior was state runner-up last year but faces plenty of challengers.
Burnsville senior Vivian Hett has improved her finish every year at the Nordic skiing state meet. If she wants to complete her high school career following the same trend, it means becoming a state champion.
“That would be the cherry on the top of my career,” said Hett, the runner-up a year ago. “I’ve accomplished everything I’ve wanted to do up to this point.”
She knows all too well that clearing that final hurdle isn’t going to be easy. She faces formidable competition from seniors Alayna Sonnesyn of Wayzata and Mattie Watts of Irondale and junior Rocci Wohlk of Forest Lake. Sonnesyn was the runner-up in 2011 and 2012.
“There are a lot of good competitors,” Hett said. “There is definitely not a clear favorite.”
The wide-open event will be held Thursday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. The race will consists of a 5K freestyle and 5K classical race to determine the pursuit champion.
“I’ve become a lot more balanced [between freestyle and classical] with a faster tempo,” Hett said. “I have to improve my time if I want to win it.”
Hett’s runner-up time was 34 minutes, 21 seconds a year ago. Duluth East’s Anna Kubek, who graduated, won the meet in 33:58.9.
“I’m going to be pretty nervous,” said Hett, who will be competing in her sixth consecutive state meet; her other finishes were 109th in 2009, 53rd in 2010, 11th in 2011 and eighth in 2012. “There is going to be a little pressure, but I usually handle it pretty well.”
Burnsville also will be among the teams trying to dethrone defending state champion Wayzata in the girls’ team competition. Forest Lake is the favorite in the boys’ field.
The boys, like the girls, will crown a new pursuit champion. Bloomington Jefferson sophomore Zak Ketterson, who finished third in 2013, is the top returnee. Ketterson and Mounds View senior Steve Hokanson are the only two in the field who finished in the top 10 a year ago. Hokanson was sixth.
The Alpine meet also will also crown new individual champions for boys and girls. The race for Giants Ridge supremacy will be held Wednesday.
In the boys’ field, Eagan sophomore Thomas Anderson (fifth last year), Centennial senior Taylor Lindy (sixth), Chanhassen freshman Louis Nguyen (seventh) and Blake senior Teddy Ankeny (eighth) head the returnees. They are the only four who finished in the top 10 a year ago.
In the girls’ field, Orono freshman Rosie Hust is the top returning individual. She placed third last year. She will be joined by four other 2013 top-10 finishers: Hermantown junior Madison Danelski (fourth), Minnetonka senior Megan Greiner (fifth), Rochester Century junior Kate Hanson (seventh) and Eagan senior Sally Anderson (ninth).
Defending state champions Blake (boys) and Minnetonka (girls) will look to repeat their 2013 feats in the team competition.
|Toronto - WP: A. Sanchez||5||FINAL|
|NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson||4|
|Washington - WP: D. Fister||4||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos||2|
|Arizona - LP: V. Nuno||2||FINAL|
|Philadelphia - WP: R. Hernandez||4|
|Boston - WP: A. Webster||3||FINAL|
|Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer||2|
|NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom||2||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson||0|
|Miami - WP: J. Turner||4||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: C. McHugh||2|
|Chicago WSox - LP: R. Belisario||3||FINAL|
|Minnesota - WP: J. Burton||4|
|Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar||10||FINAL|
|Kansas City - LP: B. Chen||3|
|St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright||1||FINAL|
|Chicago Cubs - LP: K. Hendricks||0|
|Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain||1||FINAL|
|LA Angels - WP: J. Smith||2|
|Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson||7||FINAL|
|Colorado - LP: R. Brothers||5|
|Baltimore - WP: T. McFarland||3||FINAL|
|Seattle - LP: Y. Medina||2|
|San Diego - LP: E. Stults||3||FINAL|
|Atlanta - WP: M. Minor||8|
|Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir||9||FINAL|
|Texas - LP: M. Mikolas||3|
|Los Angeles - WP: H. Ryu||4||FINAL|
|San Francisco - LP: J. Peavy||3|