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Nordic Skiing: Baker, Nelsen help Warrior boys to title

COLERAINE — A runner-up finish by Zean Baker and a third-place showing by Riley Nelsen helped the Brainerd Warriors boys team to the championship in Monday’s Little Falls Invitational at Mt. Itasca.

It was the third victory of the season for the Brainerd boys team.

Baker finished the pursuit event (5-kilometer classic, 5km freestyle) in 28:11 with Nelsen coming in at 28:36. Noah Baker was 17th, Gerrit Garberich 19th and Matt McDonald 29th.

“Our three top boys never changed positions,” Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. “Noah, Gerrit and Matt all moved up from their classic time in the morning. Their skate moved them up in the rankings. Moving up and bunching up helped us beat Bemidji. They were missing one skier due to illness but a win is a win.

“Zean and Riley never gained in position but they didn’t lose position either, and they narrowed the gap on (first-place) Jake Richards a little bit. They’re still trying to catch him. I know Riley was not happy with his morning race, but he had a good afternoon race. Zean was as smooth and in control and as focused as I’ve seen him.”

In the girls meet, Brainerd finished sixth with Allison Kosobud in 10th place and Sarah Fairbanks in 16th.

“I know Alli was not happy with her classic race, but she made it up in the skate,” Ryan said. “She moved up four positions from the morning. Sarah moved up three places. They rebounded from their (classic) times in the first true pursuit race of the season. They managed their down time.”

The Little Falls girls were second, led by Maria Hauer in sixth place, Chelsea Rutz in eighth, Mattia Hendrickson ninth and Kaitlin Geisenhof 11th.

The Flyer boys, who were fifth, were paced by Preston Zimny in ninth place and Nathan Almen in 18th.

Ryan said the junior high championships scheduled Jan. 28 at Northland Arboretum have been moved to Jan. 26 at Ski Gull.

Boys teams (15 teams): 1-Brainerd, 5-Little Falls

Individual winner: Jake Richards (Detroit Lakes) 27:39

Brainerd results: 2-Zean Baker 28:11, 3-Riley Nelsen 28:36, 17-Noah Baker 31:29, 19-Gerrit Garberich 31:34, 29-Matthew McDonald 33:04, 44-Connor Gunsbury 34:26, 50-Benjamin Hanson 35:09, 56-Sam Guida 35:42, 72-Jed Smith 39:04

Little Falls results: 9-Preston Zimny 29:53, 18-Nathan Almen 31:34, 25-John Gottwalt 32:58, 28-Brian McNamara 33:04, 46-Mathew Massmann 34:34, 65-Gunnar Kleinschmidt 37:08, 70-Easton Johnson 38:41

Girls teams: 1-Grand Rapids, 2-Little Falls, 6-Brainerd

Individual winner: Solveg Viren (Grand Rapids) 32:41

Brainerd results: 10-Allison Kosobud 35:23, 16-Sarah Fairbanks 36:49, 35-Michaela Quast 40:08, 47-Tori Johnson 41:35, 48-Gabriella Haire 41:41, 50-Serena Schreifels 41:45, 63-Sara Whiteman 44:09, 67-Anne Grabowski 44:58

Little Falls results: 6-Maria Hauer 34:29, 8-Chelsea Rutz 35:01, 9-Mattia Hendrickson 35:18, 11-Kaitlin Geisenhof 35:38, 39-Chloe Houle 40:27, 40-Josie Lange 40:31, 55-Ingrid Floersheim 42:10, 72-Alishia Olson 48:41,

Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in Bemidji Invitational at Detroit Lakes Jan. 24.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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