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Edina sophomore swimmer Jiarui Xue has the state’s fastest time in the 500-yard freestyle.
Edina sophomore swimmer Jiarui Xue has the state’s fastest time in the 500-yard freestyle.


Jiarui Xue of Edina


Edina • swimming

Edina coach Scott Johnson is quick to describe Xue. It takes a single word: Exemplary.

"Jiarui is as good in the classroom as he is in the pool," Johnson said. "He has very high goals in swimming and life, and continues to take steps toward achieving those goals."

Xue, a sophomore, has the state's fastest time in the 500-yard freestyle at 4 minutes, 35.23 seconds despite swimming the event only three times this season.

"That is big-time," Johnson said.

Xue also has the state's third-fastest times in the 200 freestyle (1:42.54) and 200 individual medley (1:54.47).

"I have been working hard in practice and doing tough sets," Xue said. "I focus on specific goals."

Johnson takes advantage of Xue's versatility, using him wherever he needs him in the Hornets lineup.

"Jiarui can swim any event," Johnson said. "We will put him in events where we can maximize his points for the team. He is an outstanding team player."

Taylor Voigt of Hill-Murray


Hill-Murray • Alpine skiing

Confusion over Voigt's time on her initial run didn't prevent the freshman from becoming a state champion. Voigt took first place in the girls Alpine skiing state meet with a total time of 1:15.32 on her two runs at Giants Ridge in Biwabik. "I was cruising," Voigt said. A timing error kept her first run from registering among the leaders, but it was cleared up before the second run.

Nolan Winter of Lakeville North


Lakeville North • basketball

The 6-10 senior forward has elevated his game for the stretch run. With the South Suburban Conference title on the line, Winter scored 123 points, including a career-best 47 against Farmington, during a four-game stretch, helping the Panthers close in on first place. "Nolan is very consistent and efficient," Panthers coach John Oxton said.

Sophie Stramel of Rosemount


Rosemount • hockey

Stramel has a knack for scoring timely goals. The sophomore scored her second goal of the night 32 seconds into the second overtime, giving the Irish a 3-2 victory over Cretin-Derham Hall in the Class 2A, Section 3 championship. Her first goal came in the third period, and she assisted on Rosemount's first goal.

Benon Brattebo of Eden Prairie


Eden Prairie • Nordic skiing

The senior was in a fight to the finish and won. Brattebo edged Ben Lewis of Blaine by the length of his left toe in a photo finish and won the Nordic boys pursuit skiing state championship with a time of 26:00.9, the same time recorded by Lewis. He was 14 seconds off the lead after the morning 5K classical race.

Ayla Brown of Becker


Becker • basketball

Brown steps up her game against better competition. The senior had two 30-point games and a 27-point outing over four games that included matchups against Benilde-St. Margaret's and Minnehaha Academy. "Ayla is having a fantastic season," Becker coach Dan Baird said. "She has a lightning-quick first step and is relentless at attacking the basket."

Josh Nelson of West Lutheran


West Lutheran • Alpine skiing

The Warriors senior went out in style, garnering a state championship in his final race. Nelson was the medalist in the Alpine boys skiing state meet with a time of 1:14.33 for his two runs. He was the runner-up a year ago and finished his career with three top-10 finishes at the state meet.

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