DETROIT LAKES — Zean Baker skied to his first varsity victory Tuesday in the Bemidji Invite at Maplelag.
Baker finished the 5-kilometer classic course in 12:43 and the 5km skate in 12:29 for a total pursuit time of 25:13.
Following Baker in second place was teammate Riley Nelsen with a pursuit time of 25:23.
“Zean and Riley are a 1-2 punch that make us a pretty tough team,” Warriors co-head coach Chris Hanson said. “Riley actually led off with the fastest classic race (12:27) so he was the first one out for the skate. He gave Zean someone to chase. The two of those guys coming in 1-2 was big for us.”
Their 1-2 finish, plus the top 20 finishes of Gerrit Garberich (8th), Noah Baker (12th) and Matt McDonald (16th), helped the Warriors tie Bemidji for the boys title with 381 points apiece. However, Bemidji won via a tiebreaker, which was the time of each team’s fifth skier.
“It can’t hardly get any closer,” Hanson said. “We know it’s going to be close with the section meet coming up. Bemidji and Brainerd, those two have been butting heads all year. Hopefully, this fires up the boys for the last couple weeks of practice and the last few races. Whoever is healthy and is on that section day (Feb. 7) will be the state participant.”
Preston Zimny was fifth to help the Flyer boys to third place, 21 points behind the front-runners.
In the girls race, won by Little Falls, the Flyers’ Maria Hauer won the individual title with a pursuit time of 30:04. Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud was runner-up with a classic time of 15:25 and a skate clocking of 15:28 for a pursuit time of 30:54. The Warriors’ Sarah Fairbanks was ninth.
“We were consistent on the girls’ side,” Hanson said. “Again, we were led by the 1-2 combination of Allison and Sarah with some other girls lending solid support.”
Following Hauer in the top 10 for the Flyer girls were Chelsea Rutz (4th), Mattia Hendrickson (7th) and Kaitlin Geisenhof (8th).
Brainerd skis in the Central Lakes Conference meet Jan. 31, tentatively set for St. Cloud. Hanson said the Section 8 meet will be moved from Camp Ripley to either Detroit Lakes or Mt. Itasca in Coleraine.
“The attitude for the boys and girls teams has been outstanding, considering the conditions we’ve had this season,” Hanson said. “Their persistence is what has given us some pretty good results this year.”
Boys team scores : 1-Bemidji via tiebreaker 381, 2-Brainerd 381, 3-Little Falls 360, 4-Detroit Lakes 322, 5-Mora 319, 6-Trek North 311
Individual winner: first time ever Zean Baker (Brd) 25:13
Brainerd results: 2-Riley Nelsen 25:23, 8-Gerrit Garberich 27:51, 12-Noah Baker 28:53, 16-Matthew McDonald 29:51, 32-Connor Gunsbury 31:31, 34-Sam Guida 31:35, 39-Benjamin Hanson 32:35, 44-Jed Smith 34:23
Little Falls results: 5-Preston Zimny 26:30, 11-Nathan Almen 28:41, 13-Brian McNamara 29:07, 15-Mathew Massmann 29:46, 18-Isaiah Korver 30:13, 22-John Gottwalt 30:45, 38-Michael Carle 32:14, 41-Levi Hintz 33:11, 46-Easton Johnson 34:49,
Girls team scores: 1-Little Falls 3084, 2-Brainerd 353, 3-Bemidji 352, 4-Mora 350, 5-Trek North 343, 6-Detroit Lakes 336
Individual winner: Maria Hauer (LF) 14:53 classic, 15:10 skate, 30:04 pursuit
Brainerd results: 2-Allison Kosobud 30:54, 9-Sarah Fairbanks 33:13, 18-Michaela Quast 35:32, 22-Gabriella Haire 36:20, 26-Serena Schreifels 37:07, 30-Tori Johnson 37:45, 35-Anne Grabowski 39:05, 39-Sara Whiteman 40:31, 43-Micaela Hallan 45:09,
Little Falls results: 4-Chelsea Rutz 31:23, 7-Mattia Hendrickson 32:30, 8-Kaitlin Geisenhof 32:49, 25-Josie Lange 36:37, 27-Chloe Houle 37:07, 28-Claire Gammon-Deering 37:13, 33-Amelia Kresha 38:14, 41-Kristen Gotfredson 41:53
Next: Brainerd in Central Lakes Conference championships at St. Cloud Apollo Jan. 31.