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Flynn, Carl Branch qualify for state

Alexandria Nordic skiers Pat Flynn and Carl Branch qualified for the state tournament after finishing in the top 10 of the Section 8 field at Maplelag Resort near Detroit Lakes on Tuesday.

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The Cardinals boys’ team finished in fourth place among 12 Section 8 teams with 348 team points and the girls’ team finished seventh out 11 teams with 280 points. The boys were hoping they could finish with their best race of the season and qualify for state as a team, but they ended up finishing 18 points behind first place St. Cloud Tech.

“They were hoping to pull off an underdog upset, and they were pretty close,” head coach Jeremy Rapp said.

The race was a 10 kilometer pursuit race, with skiers completing a 5 kilometer skate race first and then following that with a 5 kilometer classic race two hours later.

The boys’ individuals looked to be in good shape after the completion of the skate race with Carl Branch finishing in fifth, Flynn in 10th and Eric Branch in 11th.

“After the first race, Carl and Pat were the ones who would have qualified, and Eric was just one place out,” Rapp said. “We weren’t too surprised, but it was a sigh of relief at the same time.”

Flynn followed up this performance with a solid third place in the classic race to finish fourth overall in the section. The Alexandria coaching staff said his finish was a pleasant surprise.

“I didn’t really expect Pat to do as well as he did,” Rapp said. “He got fourth place overall. I was hoping he would get top 10, but not top five.”

Carl Branch took 10th in the conference to qualify for state, and his brother Eric Branch finished five places outside of a state qualifying spot in 15th.

The Cardinals were hoping to also have an individual from the girls’ team qualify for the state meet. Julia Sieling figured to have the best chance to qualify, but she ended up finishing in 26th place.

“It’s always a hope to get as many kids to state as possible,” Rapp said. “Julia, she has been to state twice before, and it was kind of a bad taste not to see her get there again.”

The state meet is February 13 at Giants Ridge in Biwabik, Minnesota.


SECTION 8 BOYS TEAM – 1. St. Cloud Tech – 366; 2. Little Falls – 365; 3. Brainerd – 356; 4. Alexandria – 348; 5. Mora – 318; 6. Detroit Lakes – 306; 7. Bemidji – 293; 8. St. Cloud Cathedral – 228; 9. St. Cloud Apollo – 212; 10. St. Johns Prep – 177; 11. TrekNorth – 133; 12. – Otter Tail Nordic – 124

SECTION 8 GIRLS TEAM – 1. Little Falls – 371; 2. Mora – 362; 3. Bemidji – 348; 4. St. Cloud Cathedral – 347; 5. Brainerd – 309; 6. St. Cloud Tech – 302; 7. Alexandria – 302; 8. Otter Tail Nordic – 239; 9. Detroit Lakes – 219; 10. St. Cloud Apollo – 197; 11. TrekNorth – 55

ALEXANDRIA BOYS PURSUIT RESULTS – 4. Pat Flynn, 31:34; 10. Carl Branch 32:30; 15. Eric Branch, 32:58; 27. Dalton Struck, 35:01; 37. Casey Call, 36:52; 54. Grant Rudolph, 39:44; 71. Sitka Corage, 44:52

ALEXANDRIA GIRLS PURSUIT RESULTS – 26. Julia Sieling, 41:05; 29. Becca Mateer, 41:35; 34. Ellie Hurlen, 42:52; 35. Lauren Hagstrom, 42:56; 39. Britt Hurlen, 43:38; 42. JeAnna Miller, 45:19; 45. Camille Johnson, 45:51