Roseville skier Elizabeth Kiresuk has put herself in position to enjoy a day in the sun.
Kiresuk, who has grown up in the shadow of Nellie Ide of Blake and Rosie Hust of Orono the past two years and currently is battling back from injury, is among the favorites to win the girls' Alpine skiing title Wednesday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
Ide and Hust finished 1-2 in their senior seasons a year ago. Kiresuk wound up fifth and is the top skier back from that field.
"Nellie and Rosie have been a big inspiration to my skiing," Kiresuk said. "They have made everybody push harder, including myself."
Kiresuk, a senior, has had to push even harder over the past year. A few weeks after the state meet, she tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee.
"It was a little tough at the beginning," said Kiresuk, who had seven months of rehabilitation before getting back on snow. "I was a little tentative at first and lacking confidence."
Kiresuk, who considers herself at about 90 percent, turned in her best performance of the season on her second run of the Section 4 meet at Wild Mountain. She finished in 30.58 seconds on her way to medalist honors.
"My confidence has really grown the last month," Kiresuk said. "I've been having great training sessions."
Now, she gets to conclude her prep career at one of her favorite locations — Giants Ridge.
"I've had some really good runs there, especially at state," Kiresuk said. "It's been a good hill for me. I won't hold anything back."
Kiresuk said competing only as an individual provides an edge over those who are also vying for the team title. Chisago Lakes is the defending team state champion but was the runner-up to Stillwater in the Section 7 race.
"The team aspect puts some girls at a disadvantage," Kiresuk said. "I'm just racing for myself and can be aggressive."
The boys' event resembles that of the girls. Eagan junior Izak Hofstad is the top returnee from last year's field, where he finished sixth. Teammate freshman Camden Palmquist took Section 6 medalist honors over Hofstad, who finished fourth.
Section 5 champion Minnetonka is back to defend its team title. It was the runner-up last year.
Be prepared to see plenty of royal blue and gold sprinting toward the stadium finish line in quest of medalist honors.
The Wayzata boys' squad has three of the top four ranked skiers in seniors Luc Golin and Anders Sonnesyn and sophomore James Schneider. Golin and Section 6 champion and No. 1-ranked Sonnesyn are the top two returnees from last year's field, where Golin finished fourth and Sonnesyn fifth. Schneider placed 12th.
The Trojans finished second to Minneapolis Southwest in the team standings a year ago. Minneapolis Southwest is ranked No. 2 behind the Trojans while Forest Lake holds down the third spot.
The Trojans also have the No. 1-rated girls' skier in junior Mara McCollor. The Section 6 champion finished fourth in the state meet last year and is the top returnee.
Minneapolis Southwest and Armstrong are the top two ranked teams. Ely, the defending state champion, is ranked sixth.