Chris Woodard gained another trip to state and Ty Hunt qualified for his first state appearance following the Section 8 boys' Nordic skiing race Thursday at Maplelag in Detroit Lakes.
Woodard qualified for state in the pursuit race (a combination of classic and freestyle) with a seventh-place finish at 39:26. He was 40th in the state freestyle race last year.
Hunt advances to state in classic with an eighth-place time of 20:57.
Josh Gold of Little Falls qualified for state with an eighth-place finish in freestyle.
Woodard and Hunt helped Brainerd finish second, behind four-time defending section champion Grand Rapids, which is ranked No. 1 in the state. The Thunderhawks had 737 points and Brainerd 705.5
"It was our best finish since I've been here," Warrior boys' coach Chris Hanson said. "Grand Rapids was tough, as always. We held on to our top 10 state ranking by finishing ahead of Alexandria and Bemidji."
Woodard, skied despite a viral infection.
"Chris was looking subdued but he went out and skied a decent classic race and did exactly what he needed to do in the skate race," Hanson said. "He put on his game face and went for it. It was clear to us that know him that he wasn't skiing at his top form. We gave him the option of doing only one race, putting everything into that and conserving a little bit of energy but that would have hurt our team score so he was non-stop go for it."
Hanson said Hunt skied a "fantastic" classic race.
"Ty finished ahead of Chris for the first time," Hanson said. "He nearly qualified in the skate as well. To qualify in classic and skate, and not in pursuit, is a little unusual. He was a place away from doing that.
"That duo of Ty and Chris is a combination that's going to be a powerful 1-2 punch the next couple years."
Boys team scores -- 1-Grand Rapids 737, 2-Brainerd 705.5, 3-Alexandria 694.5, 4-Bemidji 694, 5-Mora 609, 6-Little Falls 602.5, 7-Fergus Falls 556, 8-Detroit Lakes 515, 9-St. Cloud Apollo 497.5, 10-Deer River 235, 11-Battle Lake 189, 12-Greenway 187, 13-St. John's Prep 186, 14-Hillcrest Academy 38
Pursuit winner -- Aaron Roessler (GR) 37:02
Classic winner -- Tyler Gerling (GR) 19:50
Freestyle winner -- Roessler 17:07
Brainerd pursuit -- 7-Chris Woodard 39.26, 9-Ty Hunt 39:39, 15-Derrek Matson 41:26, 21-Titus Goodew 41:58, 22-Brandon Town 42:10, 39-Cory Olson 45:41
Brainerd classic -- 8-Hunt 20:57, 9-Woodard 21:18, 16-Goodew 22:04, 18-Matson 22:17, 23-Town 22:39, 30-Justin Grunewald 23:00, 39-Olson 24:07
Brainerd freestyle -- 5-Woodard 18:08, 10-Hunt 18:42, 16-Matson 19:09, 20-Town 19:31, 30-Goodew 19:54, 43-Olson 21:34
Little Falls pursuit -- 10-Josh Gold 40:16, 17-Tim Wasland 41:29, 26-Jared Asmus 42:51, 43-Cody Rekstad 48:46, 46-Eric Englehart 51:04, 49-Chris Thielen 57:01
Little Falls classic -- 12-Gold 21:41, 22-Wasland 22:34, 28-Asmus 22:53, 45-Rekstad 26:25, 47-Englehart 27:06, 52-Thielen 30:48
Little Falls freestyle -- 8-Gold 18:35, 12-Wasland 18:55, 31-Asmus 19:58, 47-Rekstad 22:21, 53-Englehart 23:58, 59-Thielen 26:13
Next meet -- State meet Feb. 14 Giants Ridge, Biwabik
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