Nordic Skiing: Both Warrior teams sitting 1st after Day 1
The Brainerd Warriors, Little Falls Flyers and Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines competed in Day One of the Section 8 Final.
CALLAWAY — It was a good first day for the Brainerd Warriors.
Both Brainerd sprint relay teams finished first and qualified for the state meet Tuesday, Feb. 7, to hand the Warriors an early lead heading into Day Two of the Section 8 Championship at Maplelag Resort.
The duo of Lance Hastings and Taite Knapp won the boys’ sprint relay with a 13:44.3. In second place was the Little Falls Flyers duo of Alexander Oberton and Edward Sobiech. They clocked a 14:05.4.
“It’s a 1.3-kilometer sprint so it’s pretty fast,” Warrior co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. “There’s one big downhill in it and then a really long climb. The downhill got very scary and ripped up. In the preliminary heats, there were a lot of crashes, but our boys stood up. Lance led off and the next teams weren’t that close to him. Then Taite just expanded the gap. Then Lance went again and the boys really dominated.”
The Brainerd boys’ owned the top preliminary time with a 14:09.0 to advance to the finals.
On the girls’ side, Isabelle Smith and Cally Robertson posted a first-place time of 16:08.4. That was four seconds better than runner-up Moorhead, which skied to a 16:12.7.
The Little Falls team of Aliza Kresha and Beth Ahlin finished sixth with a 17:03.7.
“The way the course was set up, I couldn’t really see them coming, but you could hear the crowd cheering,” Ryan said. “All of a sudden, on the first lap, they’re all yelling Izzy and it was like wow. That young lady could just scoot. She came in and gave Cally a nice lead and they had a good clean handoff. Cally did her run and she yelled to Izzy to give her just a little margin and I wasn’t concerned that she wasn’t going to.
“I was hoping for the best, but I was hoping for top three. To watch them dominate was so exciting.”
Moorhead owned the top time after the preliminary round with a 16:23.4. Brainerd was in fourth at 16:30.0.
Brainerd will enter Wednesday's pursuit with a three-point lead in the overall standings.
Little Falls will be in second with 156 points on the boys' side. The Flyers girls will be in sixth with 144 points.
Regardless of what happens Wednesday, the two relay teams will advance to state.
“We want our entire team to go to state, but I really think our relay teams can do well at state,” Ryan said.
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 159, 2-Little Falls 156, 3-Bemidji 153, 4-Moorhead 150, 5-Fergus Falls 147, 6-Alexandria 144, 7-Sartell/Cathedral 141, 8-TrekNorth 138, 9-St. John’s Prep 135, 10-Wadena-Deer Creek 132, 11-Willmar 129
Sprint relay winners: Lance Hastings-Taite Knapp (Brainerd) 13:44.3
Little Falls results: 2-Alexander Oberton-Edward Sobiech 14:05.4
Wadena-Deer Creek results: 10-Nate Hepner-Jack Halverson-Bucholz 20:34.8
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 159, 2-Moorhead 156, 3-Bemidji 153, 4-Fergus Falls 150, 5-Sartell/Cathedral 147, 6-Little Falls 144, 7-Alexandria 141, 8-Detroit Lakes 138, 9-TrekNorth 135, 10-Willmar 132, 11-Wadena-Deer Creek 129
Sprint relay winners: Isabelle Smith-Cally Robertson (Brainerd) 16:08.4
Little Falls results: 6-Aliza Kresha-Beth Ahlin 17:03.7
Wadena-Deer Creek results: 11-Julia Lunde-Aninika Spicer 25:27.5
Next: Brainerd, Little Falls, Wadena-Deer Creek in Day Two of Section 8 Finals at Maplelag Resort, Callaway, 10 :30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8.