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Cook County Alpine Skiing Goes to State

For the first time in Cook County High School’s history, both the male and female alpine ski teams qualified for state competition in the same year, “no small feat”, according to Coach John Oberholtzer.

The top two highest-scoring teams at Sections earn the privilege of going to state. Each team is composed of six athletes, and the points are calculated from those earned by the top four in a team. Though both first and second place at Sections go to State, Cook County (Section 7) ranked first for both the male and female teams out of the 19 teams competing.

From the male team, the athletes are team captain Ben Obinger, Cy Oberholtzer, Ray Dressley, Goshi Dimitrov, Graham Oberholtzer, and Finn Taylor. Alternates Hans Mehlhaff and Knut Remmem will be going as well. The female team consists of team captain Kalina Dimitrova, Genevieve Silence, Sophia Blanck, Liv Hedstrom, Annabelle Silence, and Ruby Gulstrand. All team members will be racing for both a team win and an individual ranking.

Some of these skiers made very strong individual finishes at the Section’s race, a promising prospect for scoring high at State. Junior Ray Dressley won Sections, and junior Cy Oberholtzer took third place. Equally impressive based upon age, according to Coach John Oberholtzer, is that freshman Goshi Dimitrov finished 8th and eighth grader Graham Oberholtzer came in 9th. “To put four kids in the top 10 is really awesome,” says Coach Oberholtzer.

For the female team, junior Kalina Dimitrova finished 3rd, junior Genevieve Silence finished 4th, sophomore Sophia Blanck placed 16th, and sophomore Liv Hedstrom placed 21st.

The State competition will be held at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik, Minnesota, on February 14th starting at 10 a.m. In Minnesota, high school alpine ski racing only involves slalom, and there will be two runs for each skier, in which they have 30-55 seconds to make it down the hill.

Coach Oberholtzer says of the Cook County teams that they’re a “great group of kids that have been training together and racing since most were very young. Many started when they were five or six years old. They are a close-knit group and very supportive of each other. There is a family vibe for sure.”

You have to be tough for ski racing, according to Coach Oberholtzer. He calls it “a gritty sport. You have to train in tough, cold, often nighttime conditions. Often there are crashes…our kids have been through lots of ups and downs and they really develop a lot of character out of getting up and doing it again!”

Ray Dressley says, “Our finish at Sections shows everyone what even a small school can do with dedication and hard work.”

Team captain Kalina Dimitrova commented, “Our team is like a family, from the coaches right on down to the newest members. We girls are especially caring and supportive of each other.”

Team captain and sole senior Ben Obinger looked back on his years of skiing and said, “It has been great growing up with these guys and developing as racers. I’ll never forget my times on the slopes with the team. Let’s go rip it up at State!”

Finn Taylor added, “You have to ‘risk it for the biscuit!’”

For Sophia Blanck, who grew up skiing but never had the chance to go to State till now, getting the chance is a big thing for her. She says the adrenaline really keeps her going. “Send it!” she commented.

Coach John Oberholtzer appreciates all Lutsen Mountains have done to support Cook County over the years. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a mountain to raise a skier, and Lutsen has helped make that possible.

Haley Searls
Haley Searls
Hello! My name is Haley Searls. I’ve loved writing from an early age, though my nonfiction writing at five years old consisted mainly of weather and gardening reports. I still have some of those early articles: “It’s sunny.” “It’s still sunny.” “It’s raining.” I’m glad to say my writing has improved since then. I wrote a guest post for the Silver Bay Public Library blog, and was the writer/editor of the newsletter for my American Heritage Girls troop. I have been writing for the North Shore Journal since June 2022. Besides writing, I love reading, drawing, photography, music, and spending time with family and friends. Two books that have really influenced my writing are Reforming Journalism by Marvin Olasky and Writer to Writer by Bodie and Brock Thoene. As a journalist, I want to share positive community interactions and inspire people to make lasting connections. Article topics that interest me are ones which show community activities and involvement. Such articles include community events, youth accomplishments, library programming, small businesses, local history, local artists and authors, art programs, and cultural events such as theater and dance. If you have an article idea, email the North Shore Journal with my name in the subject line! I look forward to hearing from you!
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