Garrett Heath circa 2003
The cross country offseason starts for most in late October or early November and then there is about four and a half months until the track and field season starts. So what do most runners do after cross country?
They strap on their skis and compete in the MSHSL Nordic Skiing circuit!
A lot of the great runners in the state, strap on their skis during the winter and compete in regional and state-wide nordic skiing races. The 2021 MSHSL State Nordic Skiing Championships showed an impressive amount of running talent at the top.
The Minneapolis Southwest boys won the championship with the University of Minnesota commit Owen Lindseth scoring for them, and Molly Moening is the two-time defending state champion and a highly decorated cross country and track runner. Also near the top of the individual standings were Sydney Drevlow, Maggie Wagner, Isak Nightingale, and more!
Historically there have been a lot of great Minnesotan runners that have also excelled in Nordic Skiing. Rochester Lourdes standout runner Ian Torchia is the reigning American Birkiebeiner champion, Jake Brown and Leif Nordgren are competing in the Biathlon at the Winter Olympics, and though she didn't run in high school, Jessie Diggins is a two-time Nordic state-champion and the most decorated American cross-country skier of all-time!
This years state meet will be on February 16th and 17th at Giant Ridge Golf and Ski Resort. The boys and girls classic 5K will be on the 16th, with the sprints and freestyle on the 17th. Some of this year's favorites are Molly Moening, Cooper Camp, Isak Nightingale, Margo Nightingale, Daniel McCollor, and Sydney Drevlow.
With the rich history of Nordic Skiing in Minnesota, we thought we would look at some of the previous individual state champions in Minnesota.