COLERAINE — Brainerd’s Zean Baker skied to a fifth-place finish and Warrior boys and girls teams placed fifth in the Ely Timberwolves Invite classic meet Tuesday at Mt. Itasca.
Baker completed the 5.4-kilometer course in 13:37 and was the only Warrior boy to finish in the top 30.
Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud skied to 10th place in the 5.4km girls race at 16:25.9.
“The man-made snow conditions at Mt. Itasca were fantastic, certainly better than what we see anywhere else nearby,” Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson said. “We were thrilled to ski a true Nordic course with about a 1.5 km loop of groomed and tracked trail on challenging terrain. For most kids it was only the fifth or sixth time on snow this season.
“It was exciting to see improvement in our skiers, literally on an hour-by-hour basis. Our boys and girls teams did very well with both finishing fifth of 13 teams behind powerhouse squads like Duluth East and Ely.
“Zean had one of his best classic races ever, placing fifth in a strong boys field. Alison was the top girl from Section 8 and Zean was the second-best Section 8 male skier behind second-place finisher and ranked skier Jake Richards from Detroit Lakes.”
Little Falls girls finished fifth, led by Maria Hauer in 13th place. The Flyer boys were ninth, paced by Preston Zimny in 22nd place.
“(Co-head) coach (Mary Claire) Ryan and I were pleased to see that we finished just behind the Little Falls girls team, which has dominated our section for the past few years,” Hanson said, “and we were equally pleased for the guys to place close to section rival Bemidji. Riley Nelson, a strong classic skier for us, missed the event for wisdom teeth removal. His return should help us considerably in the next event.”
Brainerd is scheduled to return to Mt. Itasca next Tuesday for the Deer River Invite.
“Looking at the forecast and current conditions, the Mt. Itasca location looks like it will be a regional race site for a few teams until we get some proper snow,” Hanson said. “Our next meet hosted by Deer River has already changed to this venue.”