Nordic skiing: Spuds' Zaine Braaten places first at Flyers' invite

Moorhead's girls team placed fourth and the Spuds' boys team placed sixth at the Little Falls Flyers Ripley Nordic Ski Invitational on Thursday.

Moorhead's Zaine Braaten heads for the finish line in the Classic race at the Little Falls Flyers Nordic Ski Invitational at Camp Ripley on Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, in Little Falls, Minn.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

LITTLE FALLS, Minn. — Moorhead's Zaine Braaten placed first at the Little Falls Flyers Ripley Nordic Ski Invitational on Thursday at the Camp Ripley Minnesota National Guard Training Center.

Braaten finished the 5-kilometer Classic race in 15 minutes, 5.7 seconds and the 5k Skate race in 13:17.1 for a Pursuit total of 28:22.8.

Brainerd's Elias Knapp was second in 28:47.5, narrowing edging Little Falls' Ethan Yorek, who finished third in 28:47.7. Brainerd's Gabe Hallgren was fourth in 29:14.3 and Little Falls' Connor Grant was fifth in 29:28.1.

Other Moorhead finishers included Hunter Mickelson, who placed 33rd in 34:38.4, Ian Schimmelfpennig, who was 34th in 34:44.9, and Cole Darling, who finished in 35th in 34:47.0.

In the boys relay, Moorhead's Jack Kupitz and Logan Olson placed fifth in 13:05.0. Brainerd's Lance Hastings and Taite Knapp won in 11:42.8.


The Brainerd boys placed first with 388 points. Little Falls was second with 379, Mora was third with 351, Bemidji was fourth with 344 and Fergus Falls was fifth with 337 points. Moorhead was sixth with 322.

Ava Nelson was the Spuds' top finisher in the girls invite, crossing in 15th place in 37:57.9. Chloe Pesek was 24th in 38:46.3, Julia Smithmeyer was 25th in 39:05.8, and Kennedy Olson was 27th in 39:41.3. Addy Stordahl was 29th in 40:00.0 and Izzy Kupitz was 33rd in 40:16.5.

The Spuds' relay team of Abbie Ishaug and Jacuelyn Johnson placed second in 14:02.9 behind Bemidji's winning team of Regan Dewitt and Ella Simula, who finished in 13:51.1.

Brainerd took the girls team championship with 378. Sartell/Cathedral was second with 355 points, Alexandria was third with 340 points and Moorhead was fourth with 335. Fergus Falls rounded out the top five with 319 points.

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