The Hastings boys and girls alpine ski teams have each won the last two Metro East Conference meets and both continue to improve. The boys, led by last year's state-qualifier Jacob Peine, are outdistancing their opponents by over 50 points. The girls, after a slightly inconsistent start, are rounding into form with their returning state qualifiers in Kayla Boogren, Josie Pechous and Shannon O'Connor, with Mahtomedi not far behind them.
Head coach Jim Peine said he was very happy with how both teams are performing.
"They're doing fantastic," he said. "The boys haven't lost a race yet, so they're doing really well. St. Thomas Academy was predicted to go to state this year and we've beat them every race. The girls have won one, took second in one and tied for first in the third."
Heading into the season, Peine said that there was one main thing he wanted his teams to improve upon.
"This season, a little more consistency for our boys," he said. "Getting Jack Caturia back really helped, he was out last year with a knee injury for the whole season. And all the other boys are really stepping it up a little more."
"On the girls' side, I think they have more potential than what they've done so far," Peine said. "I think they can win this conference, we just haven't had good, consistent finishes with all of them. Our top three girls keep switching first, second and third place which is kind of a fun thing. That really helps the team push each other a little bit because you never know who's going to take first, and they're not making mistakes, they're all stepping up, which is really nice."
Peine also singled out brothers Jake and Sam Molitor, for how they have improved, as well as Vika McGrath and Logan Doty.
Two weeks ago
Two weeks ago, the boys won by nearly 70 points. Peine took first, Hayden Niebur fifth, Sam Molitor sixth, Jake Molitor eighth and Josh McKinney 10th. Behind them were Thomas Karnick who took 11th, Caleb Kimmes in 17th and Decker Whyle placed 20th. The runs that were not scored were by Jack Tousignant in 41st and Jack Caturia tok 46th.
That same meet, the girls edged out Mahtomedi by 15 points. They dominated the top five with Pechous taking first, O'Connor third, Boogren fourth and Alexa Kimmes fifth. Just outside the top-10 were Logan Doty in 15th, Nicole Reents in 18th and Taylor Pelava 19th. Miranda Ries finished 22nd, Mallory Karnick was 29th and Vika McGrath took 35th.
The MEC meet from last week was much of the same, though Mahtomedi was able to tie the girls for first. Caturia broke out to take first for the boys, with Peine in second, Jake Molitor took sixth and Sam Molitor eighth, and McKinney rounded out the top-10 in 10th. Niebur finished 17th, Tousignant 22nd, Caleb Kimmes 27th, Thomas Karnick 29th and Whyle 43rd.
While the girls took up much of the top-10, Mahtomedi was able to put most its the skiers in the top-20 to counterbalance the Raiders, and they tied with 322 points apiece. Boogren, O'Connor and Pechous finished first-through-third, respectively, McGrath finished eighth and Alexa Kimmes was 10th. Doty placed 18th for Hastings, while Pelava was 21st, Reents 23rd, Ries 25th and Mallory Karnick 28th.