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Nordic Skiing: Two runners-ups for Warriors

COLERAINE - A pair of runner-up finishes with both coming close to being something different was how the Brainerd Warriors enjoyed their host invite Tuesday at Mt. Itasca.

Brainerd's Gabby Haire climbs a hill during Tuesday's Brainerd Nordic ski invite at Mt. Itasca in Coleraine. The Brainerd girls finished second. Haire placed seventh.
Brainerd's Gabby Haire climbs a hill during Tuesday's Brainerd Nordic ski invite at Mt. Itasca in Coleraine. The Brainerd girls finished second. Haire placed seventh.

COLERAINE - A pair of runner-up finishes with both coming close to being something different was how the Brainerd Warriors enjoyed their host invite Tuesday at Mt. Itasca.

The Brainerd boys, led by Noah Baker's third-place 22:41, finished a point behind Grand Rapids for the top spot.

"Grand Rapids took a gamble with their guys by letting them skip the transition," said Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson. "We didn't take that gamble and it paid off for Grand Rapids. We decided to switch our skis after the first part of our race. Grand Rapids figured the same skis could handle the course. That can be a big risk, but it paid off for them."

Robert Pike scored an eighth-place 24:21 followed by Connor Gunsbury in 10th and Evan Schreifels in 12th for Brainerd's points.

The girls were led by Gabby Haire's seventh-place 28:48. She was followed by Faith Watson in ninth, Claire Gunsbury in 15th and Lydia Herath in 16th.

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The Warriors actually tied with Little Falls, which was led by Catherine Zack's fifth-place 28:31. By combining the times of the top four skiers Brainerd was able to secure second over the Flyers with a combined time of 1:58.54 to 2:00.07.

"It was soft and warm, but we were just happy to be on snow," said Hanson. "The girls were tough. It was a longer course than we normally have. It was four laps on softening snow. They performed gutsy. You could see the wear and tear on their faces when they finished. Everyone made it and we're always happy to finish that high.

"This was also our first look at classic. It was a pursuit race so the kids got in some classic technique."

The Little Falls Flyers boys team finished fourth behind Hunter Zupko's seventh-place 23:48 on conditions Hanson described as "skiing on mashed potatoes."

Boys results

Team scores: 1-Grand Rapids 372, 2-Brainerd 371, 3-St. Cloud Tech 361, 4-Little Falls 336, 5-Bemidji 323, 6-Patrick Henry 303, 7-Detroit Lakes 280

Individual winner: Vasek Cervenka (Grand Rapids) 21:56

Brainerd results: 3-Noah Baker 22:41, 8-Robert Pike 24:21, 10-Connor Gunsbury 24:36, 12-Evan Schreifels 24:53, 17-Ben Hanson 25:52, 19-Sam Nescheim 26:07, 22-Mac Brink 26:16, 25-Gabe Raguse 27:13, 27-Landon Bruggeman 27:45, 44-Will Schultz 31:12

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Little Falls results: 7-Hunter Zupko 23:48, 15-Drew Peterson 25:18, 20-Gunner Kleinschmidt 26:12, 26-Hunter Kleinschmidt 27:15, 29-Michael Carll 28:00, 34-Christian Ganz 29:30, 35-Seth Crocker 29:49, 40-Jacob Massmann 31:00

Girls results

Team scores: 1-Grand Rapids 382, 2-Brainerd 357, 3-Little Falls 357, 4-Bemidji 332, 5-St. Cloud Tech 192, 6-Detroit Lakes 170

Individual winner: Emma Stertz (Grand Rapids) 26:01

Brainerd results: 7-Gabby Haire 28:48, 9-Faith Watson 29:28, 15-Claire Gunsbury 30:15, 16-Lydia Herath 30:23, 17-Sara Whiteman 30:42, 20-Maren Hadrits 31:54, 22-Anne Grabowski 33:23, 23-Emily Nelson 33:48, 24-Grace Erholtz 34:20, 31-Laura Wadsten 36:07

Little Falls results: 5-Catherine Zack 28:31, 11-Ali Foote 29:50, 12-Elizabeth Becker 29:59, 19-Molly Lange 31:47, 26-Savana Slettom 35:00, 29-Lydia Lange 35:46, 34-Sierra Marshik 37:27, 36-Carlie Sobiech 39:12

Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in Alexandria Invitational at Andes Tower Hills 10 a.m. Jan. 3.

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Noah Baker races to a third-place finish during Tuesday's Brainerd Nordic ski invite at Mt. Itasca in Coleraine. The Warriors team placed second.
Noah Baker races to a third-place finish during Tuesday's Brainerd Nordic ski invite at Mt. Itasca in Coleraine. The Warriors team placed second.

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