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Nordic Skiing: Boys Sprint Relay Recap

Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2023 - 7:15 PM

Boys Nordic Skiing Relay State Champions Duluth East

Duluth East's Colin Willemsen, left, and teammate James Kyes, combined to capture the Minnesota State High School League's Boys Nordic Skiing Sprint Relay championship on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Giants Ridge.

Duluth East completed a sweep of Nordic Skiing Sprint Relay state championships when the Greyhounds captured the boys title less than an hour after their girls counterparts did the same on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at Giants Ridge.

The Greyhounds’ duo of Colin Willemsen and James Kyes were dominant from the start in dueling Wayzata throughout the first three laps before rallying in an eventful finish to win in convincing style. Their time in the championship heat was 14 minutes, 5.22 seconds to easily out-distance Bemdiji, which was runner-up in 14:27. Kyes shared after the race that he was trailing slightly on the final lap before a fall occurred on the course. Kyes powered past the fallen skier for a 22-second margin of victory. Through three laps, it was a dandy duel between Duluth East and Wayzata with the Greyhounds maintaining a small margin.

Bemidji’s Jack Mueller and Reed Kuzel were runner-up in 14:27 and Minneapolis Southwest, which won the inaugural event in 2022, was third in 14:27.27. Kyes and teammate Carl Morse were runner-up to Minneapolis Southwest last season.

Duluth East had the fastest qualifying time of 14:37.24. That was about 14 seconds faster than St. Paul Highland Park in the qualifying. The winner from each of the three qualifying heats advances to the championship heat. In addition, the next five fastest times also advance.

Willemsen, a cross country runner in the fall, skied the first and third legs of the relay while Kyes was equally dazzling in the second and final legs.

The other qualifying teams for the championship heat were Brainerd, Wayzata, Mounds View, St. Paul Highland Park and Little Falls.

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