Nordic Skiing: Knapp’s runner-up finish leads Brainerd boys to 1st, Warrior girls 2nd

The Brainerd Warriors and Wadena-Deer Creek Wolverines competed in the Detroit Lakes Invite Thursday, Jan. 12.

A Nordic skier glides through the course.
Brainerd's Eli Knapp finds his grove Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, during the Detroit Lakes Invite at Maplelag Resort.
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service
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CALLAWAY — Eli Knapp skied to a second-place time of 26:22.8 to lead the Brainerd Warriors boys’ team to a first-place finish Thursday, Jan. 12, in the Detroit Lakes Invite at Maplelag Resort.

The Warrior girls’ team, led by Addie Ryan’s third-place time of 29:56.9, finished second behind Bemidji by four points. Brainerd was without top skier Annalise Baird.

In her stead, however, Ryan secured her third-place finish with Bridget Collins in seventh, Cally Robertson in eight, Isabelle Smith in ninth, Ellie Brown in 12th and Katelyn Kennedy in 14th as Brainerd secured six of the top 15 spots in the girls’ race.

Addie Ryan
Addie Ryan skies to a third-place finish Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, at Maplelag Resort.
Karen Skoyles / Submitted Photo

“Addie had a great day,” Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. “She’s a great endurance athlete. She’s a mountain bike racer in the fall and filled a need for us last year by being in the sprint relay. With her background in biking, distance races are not a problem for her and she has a great competitive edge.

“Cally Robertson had a solid race and the girls are picking things up here.”


The top four skiers of the continuous pursuit led to the team's score.

“A few little glitches here and there and one of our races fell and if you fall you lose too many seconds,” Ryan said. “I think we’re as good as Bemidji, but they won today. And on that course, Bemidji girls always have their best races.”

Knapp skied to a 26:22.8, which put him behind only Moorhead’s Zaine Bratten who won the individual race with a 25:44.9.

Brainerd won the team title by 22 points over second-place Bemidji thanks to Gabe Hallgren’s fourth-place time of 27:05.1. He was followed by Taite Knapp’s sixth-place finish. Lance Hastings placed eighth followed by Leif Hoffman in ninth and Owen Robertson in 10th. Elijah Hallgren was 11th and Joseph Neumann in 13th as the Brainerd boys locked down eight of the top 15 spots.

“The boys were great and Eli is just coming into his own and getting better and better,” Ryan said. “Taite Knapp had a race that I’ve been waiting to see from him and he put it together well and had a great effort and Gabe Hallgren as well.

A Brainerd Nordic skier races up a hill.
Brainerd's Cally Robertson skies up a hill Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023, during the Detroit Lakes Invite at Maplelag Resort.
Jared Rubado / Forum News Service

“We had some great efforts by the kids because it’s now crunch time for us. We have some big races coming up and then it’s sections.”

Boys results

Team scores: 1-Brainerd 384, 2-Bemidji 362, 3-Fergus Falls 346, 4-Moorhead 340, 5-Alexandria 276, 6-Treknorth 216, 7-WDC 132, 8-Detroit Lakes 101

Individual winner: Zaine Braaten (Moorhead) 25:44.9

Brainerd results: 2-Eli Knapp 26:22.8, 4-Gabriel Hallgren 27:05.1, 6-Taite Knapp 27:08.1, 8-Lance Hastings 27:27.1, 9-Leif Hoffman 27:27.1, 10-Owen Robertson 28:07.3, 11-Elijah Hallgren 28:28.7, 13-Joseph Neumann 28:51.7, 16-Alexander Lelwica 29:50.2, 17-Karlton Anderson 29:57.0, 22-Hayden Hagen 30:33.7

Wadena-Deer Creek results: 26-Grant Nelson 30:57.6, 44-Bjorn Brunsberg 33:17.0

Girls results

Team scores: 1-Bemidji 381, 2-Brainerd 377, 3-Alexandria 346, 4-Fergus Falls 336, 5-Moorhead 334, 6-Detroit Lakes 284, 7-Treknorth 191

Individual winner: Jaelyn Miller (Alex) 29:24.1

Brainerd results: 3-Addie Ryan 29:56.9, 7-Bridget Collins 30:17.9, 8-Cally Robertson 30:28.8, 9-Isabelle Smith 30:39.3, 12-Ellie Brown 30:52.4, 14-Katelyn Kennedy 30:58.8, 24-Emma Balsley 32:39.0, 27-Ashtyn Kubista 32:57.9, 32-Caroline Holcomb-Smith 33:54.7, 36-Alice Balsley 34:25.9

Next: Brainerd at Bemidji Inivte 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 21.

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