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Ellefson forced to miss state ski meet

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

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.