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Nordic Skiing: Warriors, Flyers dominate races at Detroit Mountain

Robert Williams / Forum News Service Kendal Hendrickson of Little Falls skates to a first-place finish at Detroit Lakes.1 / 3
Robert Williams / Forum News Service Brainerd's Evan Storbakken skis to a runner-up finish Tuesday.2 / 3
Robert Williams / Forum News Service Hunter Zupko of Little Falls cruises to victory in the boys race at Detroit Lakes.3 / 3

DETROIT LAKES—Brainerd Warriors and Little Falls Flyers dominated the 8-team Detroit Lakes Invite Tuesday at Detroit Mountain Rec Area.

The Warrior boys team skied to first place with Evan Storbakken gliding to a runner-up finish. Little Falls' Hunter Zupko won the boys individual championship.

In the girls meet, Little Falls won the team title and the Flyers' Kendal Hendrickson was the individual winner. The Warrior girls finished fourth.

Zupko paced the 6.45-kilometer freestyle event with a time of 19:34.2. Storbakken was second at 19:54.0 followed by teammate Gabe Raguse at 19:55.6. Brainerd placed all 13 of its skiers in the top 13—Evan Schreifels was fifth, Sam Nesheim sixth, Andrew Wasniewski ninth, Maxim Osborne 12th and Mac Brink 13th.

"We are just delighted to be racing No. 1 with the races we've lost (to weather conditions)," Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. "To have Evan win last week at Fergus Falls and come back and stay with Hunter Zupko in his sights the whole race—Evan's skiing outstanding right now. It was a wave start. Gabe started in a different wave. To have those two boys pushing up and being within range of Hunter is just great racing."

Rounding out the top 10 for Little Falls were Colton Yurek in seventh place and Cormac Shanoff in eighth.

In the girls race, Hendrickson covered the course in 23:54.0. The Flyers' Christy Masog was sixth, Nicollet Gammon-Deering 10th, Molly Lange 11th and Alice Foote 12th.

For the Brainerd girls, Grace Erholtz was fourth and Faith Watson eighth.

"Grace and Faith had a great rebound race," Ryan said. "They didn't ski as well as we had hoped at Fergus. They trained hard last week. They had an opportunity to get to French Rapids and ski a lot of hills and it certainly showed in their performance today. Those two girls we hope should be in those top slots. Our next girls Hannah (Trtanj), Sarah (Hanson) and Gina (Wasniewski) have moved up. We just need to bunch our girls a little bit closer together and edge out a few others.

"Again, we're a young team. We're seeing good things happening with our ninth-graders like Gina, Callie (Knapp) and Isabel (Nelson) and from our returners like Sarah and Hannah.

Ryan said conditions were less than optimum but are improving.

"With the cold weather, new snow, a firm surface underneath, 3-4 inches of snow on top, it was definitely a challenging race day," she said. "To see our top four boys bunched in the top six places was a great day for us.

"You had to have a lot of muscle and drive to propel yourself through some of the dry, abrasive snow and snow running around you ankles on your boots. We haven't had optimum racing conditions yet but we're racing and we're happy to be doing that."

Boys results

Team scores: 1-Brainerd 388, 2-Little Falls 373, 3-Bemidji 358, 4-Alexandria 321, 5-Moorhead 292, 6-Detroit Lakes 243, 7-Ottertail 224, 8-Trek North 103

Individual winner: Hunter Zupko (LF) 19:34.2

Brainerd results: 2-Evan Storbakken 19:54.0, 3-Gabe Raguse 19:55.6, 5-Evan Schreifels 21:19.4, 6-Sam Nesheim 21:32.8, 9-Andrew Wasniewski 21:38.7, 12-Maxim Osborne 21:45.6, 13-Mac Brink 21:54.9, 20-Zachary Herrlich 23:08.8, 21-William Schultz 23:11.6, 30-Nick Whiteman 23:56.4, 38-Ben Renner 24:19.4,

Little Falls results: 7-Colton Yurek 21:33.3, 8-Cormac Shanoff 21:36.1, 15-Colton Gottwalt 22:35.8, 22-Jackson Grant 23:13.8, 25-Brett Gottwalt 23:34.2, 28-Landon Kimmon 23:49.9, 36-Isaac Jackson 24:14.0, 46-Thomas Zupko 26:15.7

Girls results

Team scores: 1-Little Falls 376, 2-Alexandria 370, 3-Bemidji 363, 4-Brainerd 351, 5-Moorhead 340, 6-Detroit Lakes 192, 7-Ottertail 141, 8-Trek North 122

Individual winner: Kendal Hendrickson 23:54.0

Brainerd results: 4-Grace Erholtz 25:30.0, 8-Faith Watson 26:05.2, 19-Hannah Trtanj 28:39.7, 20-Sarah Hanson 28:53.3, 21-Gina Wasniewski 28:54.3, 23-Callie Knapp 29:05.7, 25-Isabel Nelson 29:31.7, 30-Laura Wadsten 29:53.0, 33-Sarah Nesheim 30:35.2, 34-Abbygail Wohl-Kovatovich 31:04.5

Little Falls results: 6-Christy Masog 25:40.1, 10-Nicollet Gammon-Deering 26:34.7, 11-Molly Lange 26:41.1, 12-Alice Foote 26:46.0

Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in St. John's University Invite at Collegeville 2 p.m. Thursday.

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