As Fergus Falls Nordic Ski Coach Joshua Scharnberg enters his second year leading the Otters and needing to replace top kiers Tucker Henkes, Emma Rund and Brinn Donais who all graduated. Henkes made it to state, while Rund and Donais ended their season at the Section meet with personal best performances.
“One of the highlights last year was seeing kids like Dillon Jaros, Shelby Tabbut and Ally Brenneman skiing in meets for the very first time,” said Scharnberg. “This is going to be an incredibly different season, that’s for sure. It will be difficult to navigate the rules and regulations surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the pandemic, some of the fun things we normally do are not possible, such as team dinners and our annual trip to Giants Ridge. That said, we are having a season and I’m excited to work with our team again. We have some guys and gals who have working very hard in the offseason.”
Kolsen Papon is the lone senior on the team. He will be joined by juniors Anders Anthonisen-Brown, Benjamin Schierer, Luke Schroeder and Anna Erickson, sophomores Nicholas Flugstad and Oliver Thorson, freshmen David Ronnevik, Jackson Lysne, Naomi Dummer, Sarah Grotberg and Ahleah Mouser, and eighth-grader Annie Mayer.
“Overall we have a very young team, however, they bring years of experience,” said Scharnberg. “Many of our skiers have been in the MYSL program and have been skiing for several years before joining the high school team. I think with some hard work and determination this year’s team has some high potential when it comes to sections and possibly a state meet, if that happens.”
New faces to the varsity will include junior Kacey Frederickson, sophomore Leila Nasri and eighth-graders Camden Skejeret and Abby Johnson. “All of them are new to skiing and we are happy to welcome them to the family. More than competing, we aim to teach cross country as a lifetime sport and we hope to instill a love for skiing in these newbies.”
Scharnberg, who will be assisted by Paige Horgeshimer, says Bemidji, Brainerd and Little Falls will be the biggest competitors, as usual. “Those cats seem to eat snow for breakfast, but that is changing in Fergus,” noted Coach Scharnberg. “We’re building a ski culture here and I think we will be right up there in years to come.”