BIWABIK, Minn. - Josh Nelson, the lone skier on the Plymouth-based West Lutheran ski team that is coached by his father, Todd Nelson, won the boys Alpine state title Tuesday afternoon at Giants Ridge, becoming another in a line of Nelson athletes to have excelled on the course.
Brothers Sam Nelson and Isaiah Nelson both skied for this small operation. Isaiah, 21, is on the U.S. Ski Team and won the super-G at the Alpine Junior World Ski Championships last March.
Taylor Voigt, a freshman from Hill-Murray, won the girls race and led the Pioneers to their first team title despite a timing glitch that left her uncertain of her standing after her first run.
The Alpine event, held on an unseasonably rainy day that topped out at about 40 degrees, is the first sports state championship of the winter season. Nordic skiers compete in their state meet on Wednesday and Thursday at Giants Ridge.
Nelson, a senior who finished second last season, had a combined time 1 minute, 14.33 seconds. He was followed by Stillwater junior Cash Jaeger (1:14.63) and Hastings junior Jackson Reents (1:14.89).
Minnetonka repeated as the boys team champion won its eighth state title — its fourthsince 2017.
Nelson said he took it a little too easy on his first run of the day, but it didn't show in his time. He was the speediest going into the afternoon run.
It was his grandmother, he thinks, who called from the crowd that he had won it after he crossed the finish line on his second run.
"Relief," he said. "I did it."
He regularly trades wins with Nelson, Jaeger said, so he knew he was up against tough competition.
"I know he's the type of guy who doesn't let up," Jaeger said. "I knew I had to be aggressive and not make any mistakes."
Voigt, whose total time was 1:15.32, said she knew she had skied her first run well — she can tell when she has gone fast — but confusion about her ranking put her in a tough position.
"It messed with my brain," she said.
Once it was sorted out, she was able to relax into the familiar role of leader. On her second run, she crossed the line calm and collected, in 37.05 seconds, the fastest run of the day on the Innsbruck course.
"I was cruising," said Voigt, who was thirdat the state meet last year and 20th in 2021. "I'm so proud of myself, and grateful to my coaches and teammates."
Minnetonka junior Marisa Witte was the girls runner-up, followed by Blake sophomore Vivien Pihlstrom.