Alpine Ski: Warriors sweep home invite

Warriors host Alpine ski invite at Mount Ski Gull


It was an easy day for the Brainerd Warriors Alpine ski team Thursday, Dec. 30.

With four racers in the top five for both boys and girls, the Warriors swept their home triangular at Mount Ski Gull.

“The biggest factor today was just all the new snow and it really hadn’t had a chance to firm up,” Warriors head coach Jim Ruttger said. “There was a lot of soft snow on the course, so it was a little more challenging for the later seeds.”

The boys scored 110 points with the top four racers representing Brainerd.

Esten Hiebert led the way with a 49:38 time. His first run was second behind teammate Gavin Hoelzel by 1.5 tenths of a second, but Hiebert beat Hoelzel by nearly a full second to take the individual title.


Hiebert is fresh off a third-place finish at Wild Mountain Invite Dec. 17. A win at the home course is another confidence boost.

“It felt really good,” Hiebert said. “I hope I can use this boost in future races. I’ve just been staying on my feet and letting them do all the work.”

Sean Baumann finished third in 50.68 and Emmett Johnson fourth in 52.43.

“The top three finished exactly how we seeded them,” Ruttger said. “Esten is coming off a third-place finish at Wild Mountain and we’ve always known Esten had speed. I’d put our top four, if they are on their ‘A’ game, they are probably as good as anyone in the state. And we didn’t have Parker Linn today who would be in that group.”

A big surprise for Ruttger was the younger skiers like Jagger Klecatsky and Derek Halbur who were 11th and 12th.

“Some of our younger skiers are really starting to step up,” Ruttger said. “They are developing solid technique and we are going to see some great things out of them in the years ahead.”

The girls were led by Lauren Kalenberg who finished in 51.06. Kalenberg posted first-place times on both her runs to come away with the individual title. She was over a second faster than second-place finisher Hannah Taylor.

“Lauren is going to be hard to touch in that No. 1 spot,” Ruttger said. “Hannah really had some great runs, too.”


A sophomore this year, Kalenberg has been All-State twice and is looking to continue to build on her impressive resume.

“I was just ready to race today,” Kalenberg said. “I was a little nervous because we didn’t have any practices leading up, but I got out there early to get some free runs, so I was ready. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing and getting better each year. My goal is to win state this year.”

Calia Chaney was third for Brainerd in 53.10 while seventh grader Piper Grillo was fifth in 58.48.

“(Piper) is just one of those skiers who loves to ski all the time,” Ruttger said. “We are going to see her name pop up here in the years ahead because she is just so passionate about the race.”

The triangular featured Detroit Lakes which is in its first year with an Alpine ski team and Hopkins which is the first metro team to come up to Mount Ski Gull.

The Warriors will be in action next Thursday, Jan. 6, in St. Cloud.


Boys team scores: 1-Brainerd 110, 2-Hopkins 78, 3-Detroit Lakes 64
Individual winner: Esten Hiebert (Brd) 49.38
Brainerd results: 1-Hiebert 49.38, 2-Gavin Hoelzel 50.14, 3-Sean Baumann 50.68, 4-Emmett Johnson 52.43, 8-Logan Omberg 55.04, 9-Garrett Krantz 56.13, 11-Jagger Klecatsky 56.78, 12-Derek Halbur 57.60, 14-Ethan Hiebert 59.71, 16-Peter Breitbach 1:02.89, 20-Drew Cline 1:09.52

Girls team scores: 1-Brainerd 85, 2-Hopkins 60, 3-Detroit Lakes 43
Individual winner: Lauren Kalenberg (Brd) 51.06
Brainerd results: 1-Kalenberg 51.06, 2-Hannah Taylor 52.43, 3-Calia Chaney 53.10, 5-Piper Grillo 58.48, 7-Aubrey Wiczek 58.99, 10-Amanda Trusty 1:00.75
Next: Brainerd at St. Cloud Invite Thursday, Jan. 6.

CONRAD ENGSTROM may be reached at 218-855-5861 or Follow on Twitter at


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