ALEXANDRIA — With Zean Baker. Without Zean Baker.
Either way the Brainerd Warriors are winning.
Saturday at the Alexandria Invite, they had the benefit of their senior captain, who skied to a first-place time of 18:46. Teammates Gerrit Garberich placed second, Noah Baker third and Connor Gunsbury’s eighth-place time of 21:27 helped the Warriors to a 20-point victory over Bemidji.
“Alexandria’s invitational was originally scheduled as a classic race, but marginal snow conditions warranted a late change to a freestyle race,” said Brainerd co-head coach Chris Hanson. “The Warriors have been working hard of late on classic technique, but both boys and girls squads effectively made the adjustment and raced extremely well.”
Matt Massmann placed fourth in 20:10 and John Gottwalt was seventh to lead the Little Falls Flyers boys team to third.
On the girls side, the Little Falls Flyers, led by Maria Hauer’s winning time of 21:48 captured the team title. But the Brainerd Warriors closed the gap to one point.
Brainerd’s Allison Kosobud skied to a second-place time of 22:40. Gabriella Haire placed fifth and Victoria Johnson ninth for the second-place Warriors.
The Flyers’ Claire Gammon-Deering just beat out Brainerd’s Sara Whiteman for 14th place to give the Flyers the one-point win. Little Falls was without No. 2 skier Chelsea Rutz.
Little Falls Kaitlin Geisenhof finished third.
Boys team scores: 1-Brainerd 14, 2-Bemidji 34, 3-Little Falls 53, 4-Alexandria 58, 5-Willmar 113
Individual winner: Zean Baker (Brd) 18:46
Brainerd results: 2-Gerrit Garberich 19:40, 3-Noah Baker 20:05, 8-Connor Gunsbury 21:27, 16-Ben Hanson 21:56, 25-Sam Guida 22:42, 32-Evan Schreifels 23:13
Little Falls results: 4-Matt Massmann 20:10, 7-John Gottwalt 20:33, 18-Gunner Kleinschmidt 21:59, 24-Isaiah Korver 22:34, 33-Ethan Crocker 23:27, 35-Michael Carll 23:31, 41-Scott Crocker 25:25
Girls team scores: 1-Little Falls 30, 2-Brainerd 31, 3-Alexandria 49, 4-TrekNorth 75, 5-Bemidji 90, 6-Willmar 126
Individual winner: Maria Hauer (LF) 21:48
Brainerd results: 2-Allison Kosobud 22:40, 5-Gabriella Haire 24:27, 9-Victoria Johnson 25:18, 15-Sara Whiteman 25:59, 18-Marin Hadrits 26:13, 29-Ane Grabowski 27:46
Little Falls results: 3-Kaitlin Geisenhof 23:26, 12-Amelia Kresha 25:33, 14-Claire Gammon-Deering 25:43, 16-Mattia Hendrickson 26:03, 17-Josie Lange 26:11, 19-Elizabeth Becker 26:21
Next: Brainerd at Fergus Falls Invite 1 p.m. Tuesday, Little Falls at Mora Invite 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Individual winner: Logan Heitke (St. Cloud Tech) 23:25
Brainerd results: 2-Robert Pike 23:38, 3-Sam Neshiem 23:46, 9-Luke Norquist 25:03, 25-Mac Brink 27:36, 31-Caden Johnson 28:58
Little Falls results: 6-Nathan Warnke 24:36, 8-Trenton Peterson 24:39, 19-Jacob Massmann 26:02, 22-Greg Bertrand 26:29, 23-Hunter Kleinschmidt 26:43, 24-Taylor Murphy 26:59, 33-Brady Waldoch 29:30, 37-Evan Walter 32:52
Individual winner: Chloe Houle (LF) 27:11
Brainerd results: 3-Katie Pemula 28:16, 6-Emily Nelson 28:36, 8-Madeline Quast 28:39, 15-Hailey Anderson 30:10, 19-Lydia Herath 30:53, 21-Erin Peterson 31:23, 22-Emma Anderson 31:39
Little Falls results: 2-Christy Masog 27:35, 5-Nicolett Gammon-Deering 28:22, 9-Abigail Segler 28:40, 12-Jillian Cox 29:28, 16-Autumn Zupko 30:12, 18-Carlie Sobiech 30:48, 24-Hannah Veillette 32:02, 25-Sierra Marshik 32:12, 29-Makayla Klever 32:55, 38-Rachel Almen 37:10, 41-Kinbrae Sperstad 41:17