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Ellefson forced to miss state ski meet

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An upper respiratory infection prevented Park Rapids' Summer Ellefson from competing in the state Nordic girls ski meet Thursday at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

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Ellefson, who qualified for her fifth consecutive state meet by winning the Section 8 title at Camp Ripley on Feb. 9, attempted to compete Thursday morning, but withdrew from the 5K freestyle race.

Burnsville senior Sharmila Ahmed won the state title with a pursuit time of 32 minutes, 1 second. Wayzata freshman Alayna Sonnesyn was second in 32:30.8 while Hopkins sophomore Sarah Benton finished third in 32:32.2. Ahmed had the fastest freestyle time of 14:33 and was second in the classical race with a time of 17:28. Benton had the fastest classical time of 17:22.2. Section 8 runner-up Manon Gammon-Deering of Little Falls finished 22nd in 34:20 to earn all-state honors.

Ellefson was vying for her fourth all-state honors. The Park Rapids junior, who competes for the Northwest Independent School, placed 83rd with a time of 40.48 as a seventh grader before following with three top 25 finishes. Ellefson finished 15th in 38:56 as an eighth grader, 10th in 36:07 as a freshman and 24th in 36:21 last season as a sophomore.

Ellefson, who was rated No. 4 in the state entering the state meet, repeated as the section champion with a time of 36:17.

The skiing season isn't over for Ellefson, who earned a spot on the Midwest Junior National Team.

Ellefson skied in eight qualifying races this season with the top points from five of those races being used to select the 30-member Midwest Junior National Team.

Junior Nationals will be held March 7-12 at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

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