By Ron Haggstrom
The pressure began to mount for Stillwater senior Jessie Diggins as she approached the starting line of her final girls’ high school Nordic ski meet Thursday morning. The senior said she was a “little more wound up” than usual.
It came with good reason -- a defending state champion named Annie Hart of St. Paul Academy. But Diggins ended up passing her friendly rival in the final 50 meters, winning one of the closest races (1.5 seconds) in state history at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
“I was feeling a lot of pressure (this morning),” said Diggins , who won her third individual title in the past four years. “I feel really lucky that I won today.”
Cloquet-Esko-Carlton senior Raleigh Goessling didn’t need any such luck. Goessling separated himself from the rest of the field, winning his first boys’ individual title by 22 seconds.
“I have been at the state meet five times, but this one is special,” Goessling said. He was last year’s runner-up behind Erik Fagerstrom of Eden Prairie.
Diggins’ finish led Stillwater to its second team crown in the past three years. Ely won the boys’ team championship for the first time in school history.