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Up North: Saints' Stertz to Compete in Junior Biathlon World Championships

Updated: January 23, 2020 04:05 PM

You've seen her name among the College of St. Scholastica (CSS) headlines. Emma Stertz has led the CSS Nordic Ski Team in four races so far this season.

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"She's a very talented athlete and she really drives her teammates pretty hard in training which in turn makes them better, which makes our team as a whole better," said CSS Assistant Skiing Coach Reitler Hodgert.

Most of them have been local races. However, beginning Thursday Stertz will ski on an international stage as she's qualified for the U.S. Junior Biathlon World Championship Team.

"We had a series of races in Jericho, Vermont over Christmas. There was three races and they took the best results out of two and they brought the top three of four in each category," explained Stertz about her qualification.

Although Stertz is a first-year skier with the Saints, this is the Grand Rapids native's third year qualifying for the Junior World Championships that will take place in Switzerland.

"It's always a good experience to race on a big scale like that. It's a lot different than racing here in the U.S., especially our small Minnesota races, so it's always a good experience to race against the big guns," added Stertz.

Stertz is the first female skier from the Saints to represent the U.S. in the Biathlon Junior World Championships since Kelsey Dickinson in 2013. Dickinson went on to become a three-time NCAA qualifier. Having this kind of exposure helps CSS carry on a rich tradition.

"Sending athletes to title events like these really allows them to ski at a very, very high level against the best in the world. They bring that level back to us, so it really brings up the whole team," added Hodgert.

Stertz will be there for about two weeks with the world championships running through February 2. Although she'll be competing solo for the Saints abroad, when she returns to Duluth she plans to work with her team towards getting the Saints a spot on the national stage this season.

"I just really want to work with my team the best I can hopefully get someone on the team to the NCAA's. It's a really strong group of girls so hopefully we can get a couple of them there," said Stertz.

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