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Peterson places 64th at state Nordic meet, Benning places 83rd

Hastings sophomore Rachel Peterson placed 64th at the state Nordic ski meet on Thursday, improving on her place from last year by 22 spots.

The lone qualifier for the Hastings boys, Zack Benning, was 83rd.

Peterson shaved 90 seconds off her time from last year at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, finishing this year's race in a combined time of 38 minutes and 48.1 seconds.

She finished the freestyle leg in 19:25 and the classic leg in 19:23.1.

"I thought she put two really good races together," coach John Dewall said. "Overall, she skied tough. She really rocked it in that classic race in the afternoon. She knocked off a bunch of places. It's always good when you can knock off 10 places in one race, and she did that."

Peterson skis throughout the year, doing summer biathlon training. Dewall expects that, with that in mind, she should be able to continue moving up the state rankings.

"In a couple years, she could be getting near that top 10," he said. "I tell these kids, always set your goals high. She has the potential to do very well in the next couple of years."

Anna Kubek of Duluth East won the meet with a combined time of 33:58.9. There were 120 competitors in the girls race.

Wayzata won the meet. Roseville was third and Stillwater was fourth.


Benning, a junior, had a combined time of 33:55.3 and placed 83rd out of 119 racers.

He had a time of 16:59 in the freestyle race and 16:56.3 in the classic. It was his first year of skiing.

"To get to the state meet, for him, that was the goal," Dewall said. "Once you get there, you need to get the experience. I thought he raced both races very well.

"He told me that it was the hardest thing he'd ever done in his life."

Benning will run track this spring, where he will have a shot to qualify for his third state tournament of the year. He also qualified in cross country running this fall.

"Once you train specifically for technique in the summer, he can grow by leaps and bounds from where he is right now," Dewall said. "The technique will make a huge difference for him. He'll be able to save minutes and minutes."

Jakob Ellingson of Hopkins won the meet with a combined time of 29:24.4.

Eden Prairie won the team meet.