ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Pete's Point: Older sisters inspire two state champions

Pequot Lakes' students Alex Stone and Grace McGuire celebrated winning the state alpine (downhill) skiing title with their Brainerd Warrior teammates on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

Pequot Lakes students Grace McGuire, left, and Alex Stone helped the Brainerd Warriors win their first girls' alpine skiing state title on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. Submitted photo
Pequot Lakes students Grace McGuire, left, and Alex Stone helped the Brainerd Warriors win their first girls' alpine skiing state title on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. Submitted photo

Pequot Lakes' students Alex Stone and Grace McGuire celebrated winning the state alpine (downhill) skiing title with their Brainerd Warrior teammates on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

Stone and McGuire were probably thinking about people who helped them reach the Minnesota State High School League milestone - like their coaches and parents.

And they both have older sisters who have inspired their skiing success.

Stone's sister, Savannah, finished second individually at the state alpine meet with the Warriors in February of 2013 as a Pequot Lakes senior.

"She has been a huge role model for me," Alex explained. "I remember going to the state meet in fourth grade to watch Savannah, who was an eighth grader. I kept thinking that I wanted to also go to state someday."

ADVERTISEMENT

Not only has Alex competed at state three times, but last week she was the top finisher for a Brainerd squad that earned its first alpine title in team history.

"I know Savannah wished she could be at state, but she couldn't take off school," Alex said of her sister, who is a sophomore at Concordia College of St. Paul. "She did call me right after we found out we won (state)."

Savannah, a talented college golfer, is also helping coach skiers at a Twin Cities high school.

"We both started skiing about the time we started to walk," Alex said. "Savannah encouraged me to ski at races when we were younger. And now that she's coaching she's giving more (skiing) advice. She did come watch three of our races this winter."
Savannah's encouragement before the section meet was simple, but helpful. Alex and fell twice in meets late in the season, and her sister reminded her to put that experience behind her and treat the section and state meets like a "new year."

The advice was good as Alex put together admirable runs to finish fourth and help the Warriors win the Section 5 title, and then last week she finished 13th overall at state.

"I know it's an interesting relationship for Alex as she is always going to be compared to her sister," said Brainerd coach Jim Ruttger. "When your older sister was a state runner-up in slalom you know that your teammates, coaches and other competitors can't help but make comparisons as to which one of them was a better skier at any given age.

"They both have their own distinct racing style and it is going to be very fun to watch Alex over the next two years as she gets stronger and improves as a racer. The tables have now turned and Savanna is now in the role of being Alex's biggest supporter. They are a very close family, and I know that whenever Alex does well one of the first orders of business is a call to Savanna."

Meanwhile McGuire's sister, Addison, is a junior skier for Brainerd. She's a talented skier, but didn't make the Warriors' postseason lineup because of the quality depth of the state championship team.

ADVERTISEMENT

"We had six skiers compete at state and (Addison) would have been our seventh," Grace said. "She did come to watch at state, and she was one of the first people to give me a hug. She has always been there for me."

Addison and Grace began skiing at an early age.

"She was seven and I was five when we started racing," Grace recalled. "(Addison) is a good skier. She is a faster free (power) skier than me . I'm always trying to keep up with her."

The Warriors have one senior, Hannah Moen, who will be graduating this year, and Grace said Addison should be among the contenders for Brainerd's six-skier rotation next winter.

"Addison has only been on the Warrior team the past two years while Grace joined the team when she was first eligible as a seventh grader," Rutter said. "Seeing her younger sister's success over the past three years, I'm sure has been an inspiration to Addison. And that now gives her the motivation to work hard to make next year's section team. This year, Addison was right on the bubble for making our six-member section team, and I know she would like nothing more than to join her sister on that team in 2016."

Although the state meet ends the high school season, Alex plans to continue skiing in USSSA competition while Grace is a member of the Mount Ski Gull team participating in Northland Junior Race Series.

Related Topics: BRAINERD WARRIORS
What To Read Next
All proceeds from Saturday, Feb. 4, game against Alexandria Blizzards at Breezy Point Sports Center will benefit CRMC's Courage Cabinet
Minnesota Loons scheduled to host the Blizzard at 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, at Breezy Point Sports Center
The Loons are scheduled to host Alexandria Thursday, Jan. 26 and Willmar Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Breezy Point Sports Center.
The Loons scored two in the third period to tie the game. The Loons are next scheduled to play Friday and Saturday, Jan. 20-21, at Mason City, Iowa.