Nordic Skiing: Storbakken, Flyers boys advance to state
CAMP RIPLEY—Evan Storbakken's goal of an all-state finish is still alive.
The senior will have to achieve it on his own as he was the lone Brainerd Warrior boy to advance to the state meet after the Section 8-1A meet Tuesday, Feb. 5.
Storbakken placed 10th with a 33:28.0 for his return trip to state.
The Warriors placed fourth overall, while Little Falls finished second and will advance to the state meet.
The Flyers were led by Jackson Grant's fourth-place 32:01.5. Colton Yorek was seventh in 32:33.6. Cormac Shanoff landed in 14th and Colton Gottwalt rounded out the Flyers' score with his 20th-place time of 36:14.5.
"They knew that in order to go to state they would have to just lay it all on the line and give it everything they had and they really did that," Flyers head coach Mattia Hendrickson said. "From our first person to our seventh, everybody just skied an awesome race today. I was so proud of them.
"I was definitely concerned with Bemidji and Brainerd. We haven't really had our full lineup good to go this year. We've had a lot of injuries and sickness so they've been beating us consistently, but I knew we hadn't had everyone together yet so I was hoping once our full team was together that we could do some great things."
Brainerd's Maxim Osborne missed the state cut by one position. Osborne finished 15th in 34:42.7. Ben Renner posted a 19th-place time of 35:04.7 and Nick Whiteman was 24th in 36:08.0 for Brainerd's 336 points.
Storbakken was 10th after the morning classic with a 17:52.0. He posted the 11th fastest freestyle time of 15:36.0, but held his 10th position.
"I know initially (Evan) was not happy with his morning race," Brainerd co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. "The classic is what he usually does just fine in so he knew he had some making up to do. To hold on and stay in that position is a great tribute to his effort."
Osborne was 11th after the classic, but a freak accident in the freestyle prevented his return to state.
"What happened, and it's very unusual for this to happen, but a skier went across his ski and hit the tip of his binding latch and flipped it open and his ski came off and went down the hill behind him," Ryan said. "So he had to go back down the hill he just climbed, get his ski back on and then climb the hill again. He missed qualifying for state by one individual and it was due to that crazy situation."
Renner moved up two spots with his freestyle time of 16:24.7 and Whiteman moved up one spot after the freestyle.
"I think we could have been a little higher, but it wasn't because of lack of effort on anyone's part," Ryan said. "This is the race of the year and everybody certainly gives it their best shot. It was a tight field."
LF's Grant was seventh and Yorek eighth after the classic. Shanoff was 12th and Gottwalt 20th. Grant used the second-fastest freestyle time to move up three spots to fourth.
"He had just a heck of a classic race to begin with," Hendrickson said. "He was just awesome. He started out and passed everyone right away so he was going against himself trying to get the best time. Then for the skate race, I was so impressed with how much he moved forward."
Yorek moved up one spot with his seventh fastest freestyle time. Shanoff dropped two spots, while Gottwalt maintained his position.
"That was huge, Cormac (Shanoff) especially has been battling a back injury the whole season," Hendrickson said. "From him, we just needed him to finish and he did. For him to stay in that same area was huge because he was in a lot of pain. That was all we could have asked for."
LF's Simon Park and Connor Grant each finished ahead of Bemidji's fourth skier, which helped the Flyers to a 10-point victory over the Lumberjacks.
"I told the boys before the race that even though you might not be scoring for the team, you're pushing back some of those other teams so everyone counts today. Both Simon and Connor had great races. Connor, especially, skied out of his mind today in both the classic and skate. It was just incredible how well he raced."
For more photos of the Section 8 1-A meet, go to https://bit.ly/2Db6q91.
Team scores: 1-St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell 392, 2-Little Falls 359, 3-Bemidji 349, 4-Brainerd 336, 5-Moorhead 331, 6-St. Cloud Tech 324, 7-Fergus Falls 245, 8-Detroit Lakes 244, 9-Alexandria 235, 10-Willmar 175, 11-Trek North 155, 12-St. Cloud Apollo 145
Individual winner: Alex Nemeth (SCC) 30:41.9
Brainerd results: 10-Evan Storbakken 33:28.0, 15-Maxim Osborne 34:42.7, 19-Ben Renner 35:04.7, 24-Nick Whiteman 36:08.0, 31-Nole Robertson 36:43.8, 39-Mitchell Neumann 38:27.5, 50-David Dewey 40:09.7
Little Falls results: 4-Jackson Grant 32:01.5, 7-Colton Yorek 32:33.6, 14-Cormac Shanoff 34:19.1, 20-Colton Gottwalt 35:14.5, 22-Simon Park 35:20.5, 27-Connor Grant 36:34.2, 38-Eli Segler 38:17.7
Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in the state meet 10 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 14, at Giants Ridge in Biwabik.