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NORDIC SKIING: Two Flyers ski to all-state

Manon Gammon-Deering of Little Falls skied in the freestyle portion of the Secti1 / 4
Ricky Devine of Little Falls skied in the classical portion of the Section 8 mee2 / 4
Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud skied in the freestyle portion of the Section 8 meet.3 / 4
Zean Baker of Brainerd skied in the classical portion of the Section 8 meet. Bak4 / 4

Ricky Devine and Manon Gammon-Deering put an exclamation point on successful Nordic skiing careers Thursday.

The two Little Falls Flyers skied to all-state honors during the state meet at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

Devine placed 20th in his second state meet as he concluded with a pursuit time of 31:15.0. He skied a 14:40 freestyle and a 16:35 classic.

Gammon-Deering finished 22nd for all-state honors, which goes to the top 25 individuals. She skied a 15:29 pursuit and an 18:51 classic for a pursuit time of 34:20.

“They both skied very well against some great competition,” said Flyers head coach Terry Wasland. “They skied well in both skate and classic. We’re really pleased with the outcome for both of these two seniors.”

Duluth East won the girls event with 368 points. The Flyers finished seventh with 307 as Mattia Hendrickson placed 39th, Chelsea Rutz 49th, Kaitlin Geisenhof 89th and Maria Hauer 98th.

“The girls were fifth after the morning skate race and then we struggled in the classic event this afternoon,” Wasland said. “We had one girl not feeling well and that hurt us a bit.”

Duluth East also captured the boys event with 374 points. Little Falls finished eighth. For the Flyers, Preston Zimny placed 48th followed by Alex Houle in 103rd, Adam Kempenich in 109th and Nathan Almen in 112th.

“The boys were eighth after the skate, but not far out of seventh,” said Wasland. “Still, they skied hard and had a fun day.

“After skiing in temperatures around zero the last several meets we struggled trying to figure out the wax for the conditions. The kids skied hard and we put everything we had into it and we had another great year.”

Allison Kosobud placed 41st to lead four Brainerd Warriors skiers. The sophomore finished with a pursuit time of 35:48.9. Sarah Fairbanks finished 81st in  the girls race.

“Allison did well,” said Brainerd co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan. “My best hope for her would be the top 50 and she did that. 

“She had a great year. She held her own with the fastest kids in our section. It was one of those things where it was totally new and there was no pressure so let’s just go as fast as we can go. She had a really good skate race in the morning to get into great position for the afternoon.

“Sarah was a little disappointed in her morning race. She was in 97th place after the skate, but had the determination to improve and moved up to 81st. She wanted better, but she had a great year.”

Zean Baker shaved 46 places off of his first state race to finish 53rd in 32:24. The highlight of his day was a 14:49 in the freestyle.

“Zean finished his skate race and blew away that course,” said Brainerd co-head coach Chris Hanson. “He positioned himself really well for the afternoon race. He didn’t ski as strong in the classic race, but it was still a solid classic.”

Riley Nelsen finished 63rd in his first state meet.

“He is one excited boy,” said Hanson. “He was thrilled to be there and he had two solid races. He moved up six places between the morning and afternoon so he finished strong and he’s ready to come back next year and bring more teammates with him.”

Boys team scores: 1-Duluth East 374, 2-Minneapolis Southwest 345, 3-Minnehaha Academy 345, 4-Roseville 332, 5-Eagan 328, 6-Andover 316, 7-Wayzata 314, 8-Little Falls 293

Individual winner: Ben Saxton (Lakeville North) 29:05.7

Brainerd results: 53-Zean Baker 32:24.0, 63-Riley Nelsen 32:40.2

Little Falls results: 20-Ricky Devine 31:15.0, 48-Preston Zimny 32:17.0, 103-Alex Houle 34:55.2, 109-Adam Kempenich 32:28.7, 112-Nathan Almen 35:38.5, 116-Matt Masog 36:42.2, 118-Ben Mushel 37:57.9

Girls team scores: 1-Duluth East 368, 2-Roseville Area 362, 3-Wayzata 342, 4-Andover 334, 5-Minneapolis Southwest 329, 6-Lakeville North 326, 7-Little Falls 307, 8-St. Paul Highland Park 267

Individual winner: Sharmila Ahmed (Burnsville) 32:01.0

Brainerd results: 41-Allison Kosobud 35:48.9, 81-Sarah Fairbanks 37:30.0

Little Falls results: 22-Manon Gammon-Deering 34:20.0, 39-Mattia Hendrickson 35:47.0, 49-Chelsea Rutz 36:16.3, 89-Kaitlin Geisenhof 38:03.8, 98-Maria Hauer 38:47.8, 112-Sarah Andringa 41:34.4, 115-Josie Lange 43:18.2

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at or 855-5856.