Irondale girls capture Nordic conference crown

Irondale girls Nordic team. Top row: Sarah Tokos, Mattie Watts, Lili Tapper, Becky Glader, Holly Peterson. Bottom row: Hannah Boleman, Mary Heinks, Laura Jankowski, Elizabeth Axberg, Michelle Meyer.

Irondale senior Mattie Watts won the Nordic conference individual title. (submitted photos)

In its final season as a member of the Twin Cities Nordic Ski Conference, the Irondale High School girls team won the conference championship. The Knights outscored St. Paul Highland Park to capture the title.

Irondale amassed 476 points to edge the Scots by 11. Orono finished third with 401 points.

Next year, Irondale will compete in the Northwest Suburban Conference.

Senior Mattie Watts led the way for the Knights by finishing first in both the skate race and the classic race and winning the individual pursuit championship. Her combined pursuit time, which is determined by adding the times from the classic and skate races, of 32 minutes, 28 seconds was 2:20 faster than the runner-up.

Watts was one of six Knights to earn all-conference honors. She was joined by Laura Jankowski, who was fourth in pursuit; Sarah Tokos, who took sixth; Lili Tapper, who finished seventh, Hannah Boleman, who wound up in 11th place; and Mary Heinks, who took 12th.

Honorable mention all-conference accolades went to Elizabeth Axberg, Michelle Meyer and Becky Glader.

Following the conference meet, Watts spent last weekend competing as part of Team USA in Finland.

On the boys’ side, Irondale was runner-up to St. Louis Park. The Orioles racked up 466 points to beat out the Knights by 25. Third place went to Orono and its 400 points.

Individually, Joey Jankowski led Irondale with an eighth-place finish. He joined teammates Timothy Axberg (10th place) and Cory Momsen (11th) as all-conference honorees.

Taking honorable mention all-conference accolades were Joe Kelner, Ethan Krohn, McEwan Rodefeld and Marcus Schultz.

Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village finished sixth in the team standings for both genders. Among the Panthers who earned all-conference nods were St. Anthony’s Nick Lawson, who led the SLP/SAV boys team with a 12th-place finish. Cole Grotting was all-conference honorable mention thanks to his 23rd-place performance.

For the girls, Erin Guse was the top Panther in the pursuit standings. Her 20th-place finish earned her all-conference honorable mention honors.

Next up for Irondale and Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village is the Section 5 state-qualifier on Wednesday at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. Watts is expected to be back from Finland in time for sections and that should make Irondale the favorite to take home the girls team title.

Andover and Mounds View appear to be the top two teams in the section for boys.

The teams and individuals who qualify will compete at the state meet on Feb. 13 at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik.

Mounds View

Mounds View’s Nordic ski teams competed in the Suburban East Conference championships last week and finished third in the boys’ competition and fifth in the girls’ event.

Senior Steve Hokanson had the best day for either Mounds View team. Ranked fourth in the state heading into the meet, Hokanson finished second to Forest Lake junior Leo Hipp, who was ranked third in the state.

Hokanson finished second in both the classic and skate races while Hipp was first in both events. That gave Hipp the individual pursuit title.

Hokanson also earned all-conference status with his finish and was joined on the all-conference team by teammates Dalton Pauly, Joe Morey and Jack Christianson. Pauly and Morey are seniors and Christianson is a sophomore.

Mounds View skiers picking up honorable mention all-conference awards were senior Jason Langlie, freshman Mark Ousdigian and sophomore Reeder Smith.

Senior Rossy Natale finished 26th overall and was the highest-finishing girl for Mounds View. She earned honorable mention all-conference honors along with teammates Claire Dubois, Grace Ebert and Sarah Dohls-Graf. Dubois in an eighth-grader, Ebert is a sophomore and Dohls-Graf is a junior.

Stillwater swept the team championships, winning the boys’ title by seven points over Forest Lake and the girls crown by 30 points over Roseville.

Next up for Mounds View is the Section 5 state qualifying meet on Wednesday at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. Hokanson will be gunning for his third state-meet berth.

Brian Meyers can be reached at

Twin Cities Nordic Ski
Conference championships

Jan. 24 at Baker Park

Team scores

1 - St. Louis Park    466
2 - Irondale    441
3 - Orono    400
4 - St. Paul Central    396
5 - St. Paul Highland Park    333
6 - Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village    318
7 - Mound-Westonka    298
8 - Benilde-St. Margaretís    292
9 - St. Paul Como Park    279
10 - Holy Family Catholic    174
11 - Robbinsdale Cooper    148

1 - Irondale    476
2 - St. Paul Highland Park    465
3 - Orono    401
4 - St. Louis Park    375
5 - St. Paul Central    363
6 - Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony Village    333
7 - Benilde-St. Margaretís    260
8 - Robbinsdale Cooper    256
9 - Mound-Westonka    250
10 - Holy Family Catholic    225
11 - St. Paul Como Park    55


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