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Rochester Alpine ski teams have excellent candidates in state-qualifying meet

Feb. 5—The Section 6 boys and girls Alpine Ski meet is 9 a.m. Tuesday at Buck Hill, in Burnsville. It is a qualifier for the state meet, which is Feb. 13 at Giants Ridge Golf and Ski Resort in Biwabik.

The Rochester ski team is divided into John Marshall, Mayo and Century. Included on the JM team are skiers from Lourdes and the outlying community. The Rochester boys have at least three skiers with legitimate hopes of qualifying for state, as do the Rochester girls. The JM girls also have a solid chance of advancing as a team.

The top two boys and girls teams qualify for state as well as the top 10 individuals who are not members of those teams.

The teams participating are Bloomington Jefferson, Burnsville/Shakopee, Chaska/Chanhassen, Crystal Valley Area, Mankato East, Mankato West, Mound Westonka, Northfield, Prior Lake/Farmington, Century, John Marshall, Mayo, Eagan, Eastview, Eden Prairie, Edina, Lakeville North, Lakeville South, Mound Westonka, and Apple Valley/Rosemount.

Here is a look at the top Rochester skiers to watch.

Soren Krych, Century

A junior, Krych is trying to advance to state for the second straight year. Krych has been beautifully consistent this season. Out of his team's six races, he's finished in the top three in all of them and often second behind the top skier in the state, Hastings' Jackson Reents. Krych is excellent technically, according to Rochester coach Curt Storlie. "If Soren goes and does what he does, he'll make the state meet," Storlie said. "He's had a really nice season."

Jay Sargent, Century

Among the Rochester skiers, Sargent is generally second behind Krych. Of all of the Rochester boys racers, Sargent tends to be the most likely to take chances in his races. "He's not afraid to charge it and take a risk," Storlie said. While that can occasionally get the Century senior in trouble, if Sargent gets away with it Tuesday, he'll have a great chance to advance to state. Sargent is big and strong and uses that to his advantage.

John Mueller, Mayo

Mueller is a sophomore who is coming into his own. At his best, he's generally just 1 second behind Krych. Storlie says that Mueller has work to do technically, but that he has the strongest raw talent on the team. In football, he is a defensive lineman for Mayo. "John is a fantastic athlete and his style and mentality is right on," Storlie said. "He loves skiing."

Baily Earnest-Miller, John Marshall (Lake City)

Earnest-Miller is Rochester's top skier. The senior has never advanced to state but just missed last season. Barring a fall, which is always a possibility for any skier, she is likely to get to state this season. Earnest-Miller has had some issues with her back recently which has slightly held her back. The senior has won three of the six races she's entered this season. She has also finished second twice. Earnest-Miller is excellent technically, smooth and strong.

Ali Storlie, John Marshall (Byron)

Storlie has been a consistent top-five finisher in races this season. A sophomore, her coach and father Curt Storlie considers her a "wild card" in this section meet. "Ali is aggressive by nature and sometimes that is at the expense of consistency with her technique," Curt said. "But she is really good at recovery (from slip-ups), so she can get her skis back under her." Storlie figures to need one of her best runs to advance to state.

Sadie Schjolberg, John Marshall (Wabasha-Kellogg)

Schjolberg has made the biggest jump among all of Rochester's girls skiers, according to Curt Storlie. "Her technique has always been good, but she's gotten a lot stronger and more aggressive," Storlie said. Getting that to translate positively in meets has been the problem. However, the good news is that Schjolberg was at her best in the team's final regular-season meet. "The ability is there," Storlie said.

John Marshall's team

JM has a shot to get to state as a team in the girls competition. If Earnest-Miller, Ali Storlie and Schjolberg can all ski to their potential and the Rockets can get a good run out of Vernonica Voss (Dover-Eyota), Hope Skelton (Wabasha-Kellog) or Emma Reimers (Wabasha-Kellogg), JM could land in the top two as a team. Each team's top four finishers are factored into its final score.