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Alpine Skiing: Warrior girls ski to home meet win

Warrior Alpine skier Erin Hoelzel skis Monday, Jan. 28, during the Brainerd Invitational at Mount Ski Gull. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Gallery 1 / 4
Warrior Brandon Neifert skis the course Monday, Jan. 28, during the Brainerd Invitational at Mount Ski Gull. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch Gallery 2 / 4
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LAKE SHORE—There was a tight bunch of Brainerd Warriors skiers Monday, Jan. 28 at Mount Ski Gull.

And it wasn't because they were huddled together to stay warm, but rather the Warrior girls posted five top 10 finishes to win the Warrior Invitational by two points over St. Cloud.

The Brainerd boys placed second behind St. Cloud.

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More photos of Brainerd Invitational meet >>

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Erin Hoelzel's second-place time of 51.30 led the Warriors. Emma Hiebert followed in fourth with Cassidy Chaney in fifth and Alli Krantz in seventh. Maddie Pederson was ready should any falls have occurred with her eighth-place time of 54.06

"We're really seeing a trend of which of our girls are starting to rise toward the top," Brainerd head coach Jim Ruttger said. "They've been really consistent here. We've had four meets in the last nine days.

"We're coming off a huge day Friday. That was monumental for our girls. They finished third, but they were only behind Edina and Stillwater. They were the fastest team out of our section there, which included Minnetonka. That's a real confidence boost for us going into sections."

Brandon Neifert used the fastest second run to secure his second-place finish and lead the Warrior boys. Cal Madison landed in fourth place followed by Trevor Hutchison in seventh and Anthony Elsenpeter in eighth.

"We've been up against St. Could four times now and they've come away with three of those," Ruttger said. "They have a great team this year so you can't take anything away from them. They're going to do really well at sections. They'll be in the hunt and hopefully, we are, too.

"We needed Max (Darkow) and Gavin (Hoelzel) to stand, but both, on their first runs, had falls."

Monday's event concluded Brainerd's regular season. The Warriors will compete in the section meet Thursday, Feb. 7 at Afton Alps.

"We've just been trying to work with each one of these skiers to try and get a couple extra tenths or extra seconds out of them," Ruttger said. "We've been working with each one of them almost on specific little things that are really acquired skills that take some time to develop. Some of that focus is paying off.

"Just the improvements from November until now has been impressive. That's across the board with both of our teams."

For more photos of the Brainerd Invitational meet, go to

Boys team scores: 1-St. Cloud Breakaways 74, 2-Brainerd 71, 3-Annandale 36, 4-Lakes Area inc.

Individual winner: Ben Nelson (BA) 46.70

Brainerd results: 2-Brandon Neifert 47.08, 4-Cal Madison 48.51, 7-Trevor Hutchison 50.72, 8-Anthony Elsenpeter 51.77, 11-Kameron Lee 52.07, 17-Gavin Hoelzel 59.29, 18-Max Darkow 1:00.52, 19-Parker Linn 1:09.00

JV Brainerd results: 1-Esten Heibert 50.92, 2-Sean Baumann 52.88, 4-Ethan Johnson 56.46, 5-Emmett Johnson 57.30, 7-Logan Omberg 1:01.24, 8-Garrett Krantz 1:01.66, 9-Peter Breitbach 1:05.70, 10-Briston Domino 1:06.87, 11-Micah Wood 1:07.79, 13-Max Krieger 1:17.77, 14-Jack Anderson 1:22.13

Girls team scores: 1-Brainerd 74, 2-St. Cloud Breakaways 72, 3-Lakes Area 27, 4-Annandale inc.

Individual winner: Ashley Stolt (BA) 50.61

Brainerd results: 2-Erin Hoelzel 51.30, 4-Emma Hiebert 51.91, 5-Cassidy Chaney 52.98, 7-Alli Krantz 53:35, 8-Maddie Pederson 54.06, 11-Calia Chaney 55.42, 20-Madeline Sherman 1:20.22, 21-Maddie Kalenberg 1:20.48

JV Brainerd results: 1-Hannah Taylor 55.86, 2-Anna Krieger 56.06, 3-Karson Krassas 56.29, 4-Whitney Fink 57.53, 5-Linsey Proctor 58.67, 6-Lauren Kalenberg 59.73, 8-Annika Wiczek 1:02.54, 9-Morgan Krieger 1:02.58, 11-Addie Ryan 1:03.85, 12-Aubrey Wiczek 1:04.09, 13-Bridget Collins 1:04.65, 15-Millie Taylor 1:08.78, 16-Amanda Trusty 1:09.18, 19-Julia Goralsky 1:11.88, 21-Lindsey Neifert 1:24.63, 22-Anna Tupy 1:34.24