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PL key part of Warrior ski team

Pequot Lakes’ students should again play a key role in the alpine (downhill) skiing partnership with the Brainerd Warriors’ girls’ team.

Last year, two Pequot Lakes’ skiers qualified for state as individuals for the Warriors – 2013 graduate Savannah Stone, who finished second overall; and her sister, Alex Stone, who was 43rd despite only an eighth-grader. Savannah ended up being a five-time state qualifier while Alex has made two appearances at state.

“Savannah was always a formidable presence for anyone we skied against,” said Brainerd Warrior alpine coach Jim Ruttger. “She had the ability to win every meet we were in last year, even the state meet. We will obviously miss her.

“Alex (Stone) is going to be exciting to watch in the next few years. She’s only a freshman, but she has the skills set that Savannah had at that (grade) level. Alex will benefit from being a little taller and stronger this year.”

Another Pequot Lakes student, Jaden Lindner is a senior captain with the Warriors. Other Pequot Lakes skiers on the team are sophomore Addison McGuire and eighth-grader Grace McGuire. Alex Stone’s dad, Mike, also serves as assistant coach.

“Jaden (Lindner) has been in our program all the way through,” Ruttger said. “Unfortunately, she suffered a (torn ACL) late last season and wasn’t able to be on our section team. She worked hard all summer, and has the ability to crack at top 10 at the section meet.

“Grace (McGuire) was on our section team last year, and is technically solid. She will be fun to watch as she gets bigger and stronger. This is the first year Addison (McGuire) has been with us. We’re excited to have her on the team.”

The four Pequot Lakes skiers were training in Colorado on Thanksgiving week. All the Warrior skiers started practicing at Mount Ski Gull since it opened on Nov. 29. Brainerd will host an invitational at Mount Ski Gull on Monday, Jan. 3.

“We plan to start the meet at 5 p.m., and take advantage of the new lighting (at Mount Ski Gull),” Ruttger said of the home meet. “We can also attract more teams since schools like meets after school so the kids don’t miss a whole day of classes.”

Brainerd is scheduled to open the season at the Cook County Invitational on Friday, Dec. 13 at Lutsen. The Section 5 meet is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, at Afton Alps.

““Our girls’ team could do real well this year, especially since a couple of the more serious competitors, like Blake and Benilde-St. Margaret, were moved out of our section. We still have strong teams like Orono, Minnesota, Alexandria and St. Cloud.

Matt Sherman is competing for the Brainerd boys’ alpine team. The Warrior boys’ meet schedule is the same as the girls.