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Norway girls sweep podium



Norway Alpine Skiing’s Sofia Ruesch, Ella Rizza and Megan Bittinger. All three were double podium finishers in the race Thursday. (Courtesy photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Norway High School boys and girls varsity ski teams held a home quad conference race at Pine Mountain Resort Thursday.

Marquette, Houghton and Ironwood high schools also competed in the event with a total of 57 racers attending.

The Lady Knights won the overall race over Marquette by 1 point. Norway tallied 42 total points (23 in the slalom and 19 in the giant slalom) while Marquette ended with a total of 43 points (21 in the slalom and 22 in the GS). Ironwood finished third with 102 points.

On the boys side, Marquette took top honors with 29 points followed by Houghton with 61. Norway ended in 4th with 134 points. This was the Knight boys first time fielding a full team in 5 years.

The girls team earned three podium results in each of the two events.

In the slalom, Ella Rizzo dominated the field with over a two- second advantage in her second consecutive slalom victory. She was followed by Sofia Ruesch’s second place finish which was her best result to this point. Megan Bittinger filled out the podium in fifth place.

Sophia Fornetti rounded out the team scoring with a 17th place result.

The Knights finished first, second and third in the giant slalom. Ruesch won her first high school race followed by Bittinger’s second place and Rizzo’s third place. Ingrid Holt came through with a personal best 13th. Grace Schiltz completed the team scoring in 16th.

“We are so proud of these girls,” Norway head coach John Bittinger said. “The weather and snow conditions have been horrible. We have had multiple races canceled and have practiced half of what we normally do and these girls are skiing great. Every opportunity we have with training they have capitalized. This was our first 1-2-3 finish that we have been part of. This is very good timing with regionals coming up in just over a week.”

The emergence of other athletes has impressed him.

“Our top three are skiing so fast,” Coach Bittinger said. “We knew Ella and Megan would be two of the top skiers in the U.P. heading into the season after being All-Conference last year, but the emergence of Sofia has really solidified our team as a top contender.”

The boys team was led by Ben Fornetti’s 14th and 15th place results. Skyler St. John finished 16th in the slalom.

Gavin Layden and Josh Schiltz finished 22nd and 23rd in both events.

Norway is in Houghton on Tuesday.

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