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O’Connor places 33rd at state Alpine meet

Hastings High School sophomore Stephen O’Connor placed 33rd at the state Alpine ski meet on Wednesday of last week at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

O’Connor raced at the state meet as a freshman, too, placing 25th last year.

“I thought Stephen skied well,” coach Jim Peine said. “The competition was a lot stiffer this year than it was last year.”

O’Connor had a time of 39.16 seconds on the Innisbruck run and 37.55 on the Helsinki run for a combined time of 1:16.71. Louis Nguyen of Chanhassen won the meet with a time of 1:06.97.

“He skied aggressive,” Peine said of O’Connor. “When you’re up there as an individual, you can ski more aggressively. He could have been even more aggressive.

“He’s just a real consistent skier. He’s had some binding issues this year, but we think we’ve got that fixed. He’s got that figured out and is skiing well.”

Peine is excited about the prospects for next year’s boys team. The Raiders placed third at the section meet with four sophomores and two eighth-graders in the lineup. O’Connor was a big part of that team, leading the way at sections.

“He’s a very coachable kid,” Peine said. “He’s a kid who listens really well and works great with the team. He’s willing to work with any kid at any ability. That’s one of his strong suits.

“We’re really looking forward to next year. Placing third in the section with kids that age, it’s just fantastic.”