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Warriors Athlete of Week: Nordic skier breaks out at CLC Championships

Brainerd Warrior Maxim Osborne skis off the starting line at the Central Lakes Conference meet Jan. 26 at Northland Arboretum. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch

Maxim Osborne

Sport: Nordic skiing

Year: Sophomore

Age: 16

Height: 6-foot-5

Career highlight: Winning the conference meet

Other sports: Track and field, cross country

Grade-point average: 3.74

Favorite class: AP World History

Favorite food: Pizza

Favorite movie: "Lone Survivor" and "American Sniper"

Favorite TV show: "Sherlock"

Future plans: Pursue career in military

Parents: Melissa and Barry Osborne

Maxim Osborne maximized his performance at last week's Central Lakes Conference Championships at Northland Arboretum.

Throughout this season, the sophomore has been one of the Brainerd Warriors' top male skiers but he hadn't won a race.

In all but one race, Osborne's finishes ranged from second to 17th place. In addition, he placed 36th in the world's largest Nordic event Jan. 14 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.

A week ago, he broke away from the pack and skied to the CLC championship. He completed the course in 25 minutes, 35 seconds, helping the Warrior boys team capture the team title.

"I like to think I do better in all different types of conditions," Osborne said, "whereas some people are good on good snow and can't ski as well in conditions that aren't optimal. I like to consider myself a pretty even athlete.

"Part of it was the wax job the coaches gave us, and just practicing with teammates. I've been working hard this season. This was my race and I had a good day."

Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said it doesn't matter to her which Brainerd blue uniform crosses the line first as long as it's a Warrior.

"They've been taking my word for it and interchanging," Ryan said. "For Maxim, in the pursuit format, to come through as a sophomore, and do as well as he did—I knew he had that race in him. I was just waiting for when it was going to show up.

"He's been in that mix. You never know who's going to be first, second or third, but he's always in that mix. That's certainly part of why the boys team is being so successful."

Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson said watching Osborne progress from a junior high skier to a lanky speedster on the varsity has been a pleasure to coach.

"Maxim's conference race was a breakout effort for him, and the timing of it is excellent with the section and hopefully state meets only a couple weeks away," Hanson said. "He's surrounded by a great group of guys and girls. Maxim has been fortunate to ski behind and learn from some excellent skiers the past few years. He's now starting to serve as the same model to our younger racers. He's a great role model for coachability and effort."

In the CLC race, skiers skated in the morning instead of in the afternoon.

Osborne, who was named the CLC boys Nordic skiing performer of the week ending Jan. 28, was sitting in fifth place after the skate, 31 seconds out of first.

"My normal strategy is trying to beat everyone out of the group who I start with and catch as many as I can on my way through," he said. "Then, whenever I see a person, I try to catch up to them and pass them. There was a group of guys at the finish that I was catching up to since it was sort of the second-to-last turn. I tried to power right up though that group. I tried to catch all of them before the finish."

Osborne said his classical start was more difficult since he had double-poled and the snow was chewed up from the skate race. He also wanted to keep teammates Evan Schreifels and Andrew Wasniewski in his sight.

"I wanted to keep in my top five position that I had and catch up to a couple other guys, and keep up with Evan Schreifels and those guys," Osborne said. "About halfway through, I got to Rudy's Hill—me and Evan were in second or third place and we were catching up to Andrew. Then my goal was to pass Andrew and stay close to Evan. Once I hit the last corner, I was still right next to Evan and I thought 'All right, I'm going to go for it' and I gave it all I had."

Other notable efforts:

• Jake Heikkenen, floor hockey, scored four goals and had two assists vs. Robbinsdale. He had 11 points in two games.

• Alex Stone, Alpine skiing, won the girls race at Lutsen.

• Millie Klefsaas, gymnastics, won four events and the all-around title vs. Apollo.

• Gunnar Niemeyer, Preston Owen and Michael Bylander, swimming, each won two events and were on two winning relays vs. Apollo.

• Michael Russell, boys basketball, scored 20 points vs. Sartell.

• Kylee Heurung, girls basketball, had 20 points and 12 rebounds vs. Sartell.