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NORDIC SKIING: Warriors finish in top three in opener

KIMBALL — At least there was man-made snow at Powder Ridge, which enabled the Brainerd Warriors to finally open their season Thursday.

The Warrior boys finished second and the girls third in a 3-lap skate race. Brainerd’s Zean Baker was runner-up in the boys race and Allison Kosobud was third in the girls meet.

“For our first day on snow, we’re very happy with how well the kids did,” Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said.

Maria Hauer placed second and Kaitlin Geisenhof fifth for the Little Falls Flyer girls, who finished fourth. John Gottwalt, in 13th place, led the sixth-place Flyer boys. Baker finished in 7 minutes, 27 seconds, about three seconds behind Nick Proell of St. Cloud Tech. Proell competed in biathlon last season before returning to high school competition this winter.

“Zean was right there with him, they went back and forth,” Ryan said.

Rounding out Brainerd’s top four boys scores were Gerrit Garberich in fifth place, Connor Gunsbury ninth and Noah Baker 11th.

“Gerrit was a ways back, but he gained ground,” Ryan said. “He felt it wasn’t his day, but he still took fifth in the first race of the season.

“Connor had an awesome race. He blew by everybody and picked off a lot of skiers.

“Noah got stuck in traffic but made up a ton of ground. On a 3-lap course, you’re not only trying to catch the guy who’s fastest but you’re going around slower skiers on the second and third laps. Noah had to do a lot of maneuvering in tough conditions.”

Brainerd’s boys finished two points behind first-place Tech.

In the girls race, Callie Smith of Mora won, Hauer was runner-up, followed by Kosobud at 9:21. Brainerd’s Sarah Fairbanks was fourth.

“Ali was in the lead with the girl from Mora and Maria (Hauer) behind her the majority of the race,” Ryan said. “On the third lap, it was quite a downhill and it was slushy and rutted, and a lot of kids were falling. Ali took a hard fall and Maria passed her, but Ali made up ground. That was about two-thirds of the way through the race. To take that hard of a fall throws you off a little bit.”

Fairbanks finished in 9:37.

“Sarah was quite a ways back at the start,” Ryan said, “but she kept picking it up and passing people and she pulled into fourth, which was a great result for her.”

Gabrielle Haire was 14th and Sara Whiteman 23rd for the Warriors’ four girls scores.

“We had some very competitive sophomores that came through today,” Ryan said. “It was Gabby’s best place ever and Sara was fourth.”

St. Cloud Cathedral won the girls race with Mora at 362 points and Brainerd 361.

“With four points separating third and first you can see how tight of a (girls) race it was,” Ryan said.

Boys team scores: 1-St. Cloud Tech 379, 2-Brainerd 377, 3-Mora 368, 4-Alexandria 338, 5-Willmar 317, 6-Little Falls 290, 7-St. Cloud Apollo 287, 8-St. John’s Prep 248

Individual winner: Nick Proell (Tech)

Brainerd results: 2-Zean Baker 7:27, 5-Gerrit Garberich 8:13, 9-Connor Gunsbury 8:39, 11-Noah Baker 9:01, 15-Benjamin Hanson 9:13, 30-Sam Guida 10:21

Little Falls results: 13-John Gottwalt 9:07, Gunner Kleinschmidt 9:23, Ethan Crocker 10:27, Tayler Murphy 11:55, Adam Fellbaum 12:18, Greg Bertrand 12:27

Girls team scores: 1-St. Cloud Cathedral 365, 2-Mora 362, 3-Brainerd 361, 4-Little Falls 352, 5-Apollo 311, 6-Alexandria 306, 7-Willmar 215, 8-Tech 176

Individual winner: Callie Smith (Mora)

Brainerd results: 3-Allison Kosobud 9:21, 4-Sarah Fairbanks 9:37, 14-Gabriella Haire 10:42, 23-Sara Whiteman 11:23, 26-Victoria Johnson 11:29, 39-Anne Grabowski 13:14, 66-Erin Peterson 15:23

Little Falls results: 2-Maria Hauer 9:07, 5-Kaitlin Geisenhof 9:41, Amelia Kresha 11:14, Elizabeth Becker 11:31, Kendall Hendrickson 11:55, Christy Masog 12:02

Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in Grand Rapids Invite at Mt. Itasca 10:30 a.m. Saturday; Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in St. Cloud Apollo Invite at Powder Ridge, Kimball, 3 p.m. Tuesday

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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