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Flynn paces Nordic team in Little Falls

Carl Branch pushes off at the start of his race at the Alexandria home invite on January 14. Branch finished 10th overall at Little Falls. (Eric Morken/Echo Press)

The Alexandria Nordic ski teams got a taste of what the section championship meet will be like as they traveled to Camp Ripley to take part in the Little Falls Invite on Monday.

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The Cardinal boys like what they saw as they came away with three top-15 finishes. Pat Flynn led the way in the pursuit as he finished fifth overall in a time of 36:09 after being third in the classic portion (19:06) of the race in the morning. St. Cloud Tech’s Isaac Wieber and Cory Rouw finished first and second with times of 32:55 and 34:46, respectively.

Alexandria’s Carl Branch wasn’t far behind Flynn. He was 14th after the classic portion of the race but battled his way to 10th overall after the skate with a time of 37:27. Eric Branch also bettered his position after taking 13th in the classic and finishing 12th overall in 37:32.

Dalton Struck finished 29th overall. Casey Call was 40th and Grant Rudolph was 68th as the Cardinals finished fourth as a team. They were just five points behind Brainerd and Little Falls and 11 points behind St. Cloud Tech.

The girls were paced by senior Julia Sieling. She finished the classic race in 24th place and moved up to 22nd overall after the skate with a total time of 44:55. Becca Mateer was 35th overall. Lauren Hagstrom was 38th, Ellie Hurlen 43rd, JeAnna Miller 45th, Britt Hurlen 47th and Camille Johnson was 49th.

The Alexandria girls finished seventh out of 12 teams in the field. Mora won the girls’ portion of the race with 369 team points. Little Falls was second at 359 and Mesabi East rounded out the top three with 355 points.

The Cardinals’ next competition will be next Tuesday as they host the Central Lakes Conference championship race at Andes Tower Hills.

LITTLE FALLS INVITE BOYS’ TEAM STANDINGS – St. Cloud Tech, 359; Brainerd, 354; Little Falls, 354; Alexandria, 348; Mesabi East, 333; Bemidji, 303; Mora, 301; Detroit Lakes, 282; Cathedral, 203; Willmar, 102; Trek North, 77, Ottertail, 43

ALEXANDRIA – Flynn – fifth place, 19:06 classic, 17:03 skate, 36:09; C. Branch – 10th, 20:11 classic, 17:16 skate, 37:27; E. Branch – 12th, 20:09 classic, 17:23 skate, 37:32; Struck – 29th, 21:22 classic, 19:00 skate, 40:22; Call – 40th, 22:40 classic, 19:41 skate, 42:21; Rudolph – 68th, 25:30 classic, 22:01 skate, 47:31

GIRLS’ TEAM STANDINGS – Mora, 369; Little Falls, 359; Mesabi East, 355; Cathedral, 340; Brainerd, 311; Bemidji, 289; Alexandria, 266; St. Cloud Tech, 264; Ottertail, 209; Detroit Lakes, 125; Trek North, 100; Willmar, 82

ALEXANDRIA – Sieling – 22nd, 24:16 classic, 20:39 skate, 44:55; Mateer – 35th, 25:36 classic, 21:44 skate, 47:20; Hagstrom – 38th, 25:57 classic, 22:47 skate, 48:44; Hurlen – 43rd, 26:22 classic, 23:54 skate, 50:16; Miller – 45th, 27:44 classic, 23:07 skate, 50:51; Hurlen – 47th, 27:30 classic, 23:44 skate, 51:14; Johnson – 49th, 27:01 classic, 25:45 skate, 52:46

Eric Morken

Eric Morken is the sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press and Osakis Review newspapers in Douglas County, MN. Follow him on Twitter at echo_sports.

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