DETROIT LAKES — The Brainerd Warriors boys snapped a six-year drought, while the Little Falls Flyers girls made it seven straight Tuesday.
The Warrior boys and Flyer girls advanced to the state Nordic ski meet by winning the Section 8 meet at Maplelag.
Brainerd, led by Riley Nelsen’s second-place 23:08 and Zean Baker’s third-place 23:11, captured the boys title by a “decisive” 12 points over second place Bemidji.
“We’re delighted and happy for the boys team,” said Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan. “The big difference today was our third and fourth skiers had great races. Gerrit (Garberich) skied very well and Noah (Baker) had his break out race and saved it all for today. They both had been steadily and slowly improving through the year. Today they were just on fire.”
Garberich skied a 10th-place 24:44 followed by Baker in 11th place with a 24:55.
It’s the first state trip for the boys team since 2004-05, but it will be the second Nordic state meet for Nelsen and Zean Baker.
Also returning to the state meet are Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud and Sarah Fairbanks. Those two along with the Little Falls girls team will return to Giants Ridge for the state meet Feb. 16.
“Those two have been consistent skiers all season and today wasn’t an exception,” said Brainerd co-head coach Chris Hanson. “Sarah skied extremely well and was right behind Allison and in sight of each other. Things didn’t change a whole lot for the second race. Both knew the other skiers who they were around. They were familiar with a lot of the other girls and so they knew what they needed to do. They weren’t really in any danger of not being repeat state participants.”
Kosobud placed eight in 28:12. Fairbanks finished 10th in 28:52. Winning the girls race was the Flyers’ Maria Hauer, who completed the classic and freestyle races in 27:00.
Mauer’s win, along with three other top 10 finishes, helped the Flyers advance to state for the seventh straight season.
“We had a really good challenge against Cathedral, who skied very well in the skate portion of the girls race,” said Flyers head coach Terry Wasland. “The girls had to really come back strong in the classic event and they skied outstanding in the afternoon. They were able to pull and that was good to see our girls respond like that.”
Chelsea Rutz placed fifth in 27:40. Kaitlin Geisenhof was sixth in 28:04 and Mattia Hendrickson was seventh in 28:06.
Little Falls’ Preston Zimny will also return to state. He placed eighth in the boys race with a 24:19. It will be his third state meet.
“I thought he held his own in the freestyle, which is his weaker of the two races,” Wasland said. “He came back really well in the classic so it was a nice day for Preston.”
Boys team scores: 1-Brainerd 378, 2-Bemidji 366, 3-St. Cloud Tech 343, 4-Little Falls 334, 5-Detroit Lakes 332, 6-Mora 294, 7-St. Cloud Cathedral/Sartell 264, 8-Trek North 262, 9-Alexandria 246, 10-St. Cloud Apollo 206, 11-Ottertail Nordic 187
Individual winner: Jake Richards (DL) 22:24
Brainerd results: 2-Riley Nelsen 23:08, 3-Zean Baker 23:11, 10-Gerrit Garberich 24:44, 11-Noah Baker 24:55, 22-Matthew McDonald 24:26, 44-Connor Gunsbury 27:53, 46-Benjamin Hanson 28:00
Little Falls results: 8-Preston Zimny 24:19, 16-Nathan Almen 25:30, 20-Mathew Massman 26:00, 26-Brian McNamara 26:23, 29-John Gottwalt 26:53, 34-Isaiah Korver 27:21, 39-Gunnar Kleinschmidt 27:50
Girls team scores: 1-Little Falls 385, 2-St. Cloud Cathedral/Sartell 365, 3-Braienrd 329, 4-Mora 326, 5-Bemidji 310, 6-Trek North 307, 7-Detroit Lakes 298, 8-Alexandria 275, 9-St. Cloud Apollo 250, 10-St. Cloud Tech 216, 11-Ottertail Nordic 254
Individual winner: Maria Hauer (LF) 27:00
Brainerd results: 8-Allison Kosobud 28:12, 10-Sarah Fairbanks 28:52, 23-Victoria Johnson 31:28,34-Gabriella Haire 32:21, 35-Serena Schreifels 32:27, 37-Sara Whiteman 32:39, 45-Michaela Quast 33:16
Little Falls results: 5-Chelsea Rutz 27:40, 6-Kaitlin Geisenhof 28:04, 7-Mattia Hendrickson 28:06, 13-Josie Lange 29:31, 31-Chloe Houle 32:09, 40-Ingrid Floersheim 33:01
Next: Brainerd, Little Falls in state meet Feb. 16 at Giants Ridge, Biwabik.