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Richards likes home cooking after taking first for Lakers

Jake Richards glides down a hill at Maplelag Resort on the home-sretch of Tuesday morning's pursuit cross-country ski race. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)1 / 3
Laker Eighth grader Berit Ramstad-Skoyles skies the classic leg of Tuesday's pursuit race at Maplelag Resort. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)2 / 3
Andrea Weiss skates along a Maplelag trail near the end of Tuesday's pursuit race. (Brian Basham/DL Newspapers)3 / 3

It was a good sight for all the teams competing in the Detroit Lakes Invite at Maplelag on Tuesday -- snow.

There was plenty of it on the trails as the Lakers had a solid showing with a pair of third-place finishes for the boys and girls.

Sophomore Jake Richards took top honors in the boys' pursuit race after fending off Brainerd's Matt Lee by six seconds with a time of 26:05.

Junior teammate Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles held down third place with a time of 27:45, while freshmen Hunter Schleske (18th) and Montana Johnson (20th) helped lock in the bronze finish.

This was DL's first pursuit race of the season, which is almost double the length of the normal freestyle or classic events in which they usually compete.

"You can tell there is some conditioning and technique not there for some of the skiers, but they just need some refining," said DL head coach Dan Josephson.

Richards and Ramstad-Skoyles each have been consistently finishing in the top half of meets this season, with each building off a state berth from last year.

For Ramstad-Skoyles, he was separated from Richards and Lee through most of the classic stage of the race.

"I skied with them up to about the last 1K of the classic, but Jake is so much stronger in the skate that he was able to pull away," Ramstad-Skoyles said. "It was harder to maintain a pace after that, because I was basically alone in third, because there wasn't anyone there pushing me and I wasn't near the top two.

"But I can't complain about third place."

Ramstad-Skoyles did learn he needs to work on some technique in his pursuit race (which combines classic and freestyle), but he still feels in on a good pace to repeat a state berth this season.

"I feel comfortable with where I'm at, I've finished in the top 10 in every race," Ramstad-Skoyles said. "The Brainerd meet was more of a launching pad one for me, I finished in fourth -- and third in the section skiers who were there."

The ultimate goal is to advance the entire Laker team to the Class 1A state meet, so depth behind Ramstad-Skoyles and Richards will be key.

There is a host of younger skiers who can step into that role, including Schleske, Johnson, Christian Tigges, Anthony Meyer, Stephen Sinclair and Brendan Pucel.

"We have a whole group of guys who can contribute," Josephson said. "They are all neck and neck."

"We're still not there and we just need our third and fourth skiers to step it up a little," Ramstad-Skoyles added. "But they are trying to make improvements."

The Laker girls were led by eighth grader Berit Ramstad-Skoyles (Dylan's sister) with a 33:07 time, good for fifth place.

Junior Andrea Weiss was 13th, while a big group of DL skiers finished in slots 15-18, including Shannon Goetz, Marie Yokan, Molly Johnson and Miranda Olson.

With the schedule packing up with up to two meets a week, the Lakers should be progressing nicely through the months of January and February.

"We should see quite a bit of improvement because we can get on the trails and hills," Josephson said.

The Lakers will compete in the Mesabi East meet at Giant's Ridge Saturday, starting at 10 a.m.

Laker results

Detroit Lakes Invite at Maplelag, Tuesday, Jan. 5.

Boys varsity team results: Bemidji 376, Brainerd 366, Detroit Lakes 362, Ottertail 246, Deer River 191, Long Prairie 159, Trek North 89.

DL boys results: 1. Jake Richards 26:05; 3. Dylan Ramstad-Skoyles 27:45; 18. Hunter Schleske 33:38; 20. Montana Johnson 25:39; 25. Christian Tigges 37:19; 27. Anthony Meyer 38:05; 29. Brendan Pucel 42:12.

Girls team results: Bemidji 377, Brainerd 371, Detroit Lakes 355, Deer River 190, Ellefson 100.

DL girls results: 5. Berit Ramstad-Skoyles 33:07; 13. Andrea Weiss 40:04; 15. Shannon Goetz 40:33; 16. Marie Yokan 41:14; 17. Molly Johnson 41:25; 18. Miranda Olson 41:29; 20. Veronica Haverkamp 42:41; 21. Celeste Koppe 43:04; 22. Lindsey Bjorgan 43:31; 23. Alison Sauer 43:48.