Brotherly love exists in many forms. For two Nordic skiers from St. Cloud Tech, it takes the shape of a highly talented skiing tandem.
After an 19-year hiatus, the St. Cloud Tech boys Nordic ski team — led by Chris and Cory Rouw — is finally heading back to the state meet after a Section 8 win on Feb. 5 at Camp Ripley.
Senior Chris and sophomore Cory have been integral in getting the Tigers back to their former successes, with Cory finishing in first and Chris in fifth at the section meet.
In addition to the Rouw brothers, skiing for Tech on Thursday at the state meet will be seniors Grant Myres, Nick Proell and Curtis Williams, sophomore Isaac Wieber and junior Jason Combs.
Little Falls, the Section 8 champion, competes in the girls state meet. The state meet is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Thursday at Giant’s Ridge in Biwabik.
The Rouws bring a skill set that most coaches can only wish for. But what makes them especially valuable is the dynamic that they bring to the team.
“Chris is the leader and his little brother keeps everything loose,” said first-year head coach Lance Beuning. “Cory has a fun personality. He’s always playing gags and keeping everyone loose. But he’s shown a ton of growth this year. They’re both competing so well.
“It’s fun to watch. They’re usually each others toughest competition.”
Even though Chris is older and more experienced, it’s the little brother Cory who has been coming out on top for the Tigers.
“He beats me every race, but I’ve taught him all he knows,” Chris said. “But in all honesty, it’s just awesome to be out here. He pulls me through the race and we switch off the lead sometimes. We race together and not against each other.”
The Rouws began their skiing careers as toddlers, being propped up by their dad while they slowly built up the ability to ski. Chris loved it, Cory didn’t. Fortunately for Tech, Cory stuck with it, and now the brothers find themselves in a position to battle for a state title.
“Last year, we had some injuries and we couldn’t get through,” Chris said. “This is our year to shine.”
“Personally I’m hoping for top 20 (individually), but for a team I think second or third,” Cory said when asked about the team’s odds at state. “I think we a have a good chance to do really well.”
In addition to winning the section meet, the Tigers are fresh off of a Central Lakes Conference championship that saw six of their skiers earn all-conference designations, including Chris and Cory.
“It’s great. All of the success we’ve had just shows how close of a team we are and how strong of a group we have,” Cory said. “We have a great coach and supportive staff. It’s nice to have all that.”
With heavy competition expected from schools like Eden Prairie and Hopkins, the Tigers are hoping to finish among the top three.
“We have a lot of seniors, so this is our year,” Beuning said. “After this we’ll lose a lot of skiers and it’ll be tough to bounce back from that. We’ve competed against Eden Prairie this year already and did well, so we’re hoping to repeat that performance.”