Minnesota's two best high school Nordic skiers — Hopkins sophomore girl Sydney Drevlow and St. Paul Highland Park senior boy Davis Isom — have reached new heights.
They have been selected for the United States' under-18 team that will compete Feb. 17-19 in the Nordic Nations Cup in Jyvaskyla, Finland.
"I am really excited for this cool opportunity," Drevlow said. "I have never been out of the country."
Drevlow and Isom qualified for the team at the U.S. Cross Country National Championships earlier this month in Houghton, Mich. Six girls and six boys make up the U.S. under-18 contingent.
The timing means neither will participate in the high school state championships Feb. 16 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.
"I have two more years to go to the state meet," Drevlow said. "Not too many skiers get the opportunity to go to Finland."
Drevlow qualified with strong performances in the 10K freestyle and classic races over the week of national championships. Results in three junior races served as selection criteria and also were for national championships.
"I wasn't expecting this being that I only had been skiing about a month [after cross-country running season]," Drevlow said. "I was surprised by my results."
Hopkins coach Brett Schulze knew she had the necessary attributes.
"Sydney is a great skier and competitor," he said. "She loves to ski, works hard, enjoys going fast and can make herself hurt, all of which makes her a great competitor.
"She is part of a strong community of skiers who are dedicated to one another and the sport. Her entire family loves to ski and has been an integral part of her progress and success."
Drevlow is the defending girls individual state champion in Nordic pursuit, having finished 20 seconds ahead of the runner-up with a combined time of 33 minutes, 40.7 seconds.
"Our team was very proud of her successes last year," Schulze said. "The team will miss her for the rest of the season, but everyone is excited by her results and her invite to ski in Finland. It is a great opportunity, and we look forward to great skiing from her in the future."
Isom qualified for the trip with a third-place finish in the 10K freestyle race and two other top-10 finishes at the national championships. He was the boys runner-up to Minneapolis Southwest's Cooper Camp in last year's state meet. He posted a combined time of 28:49.9.
"Davis looks different than a regular high school skier," St. Paul Highland Park coach Brad Moening said. "He has very good technique and is very fluid. Davis is very focused on improving his craft."