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Nearly 7,000 racers, including many from Hudson, participated in the 36th annual American Birkebeiner ski race that began at Telemark Lodge and ended in Hayward. Photo by Maeta Gherty

Several Hudsonites in Birkebeiner events

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Hudson Star Observer
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River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

The American Birkebeiner celebrated its 36th series of events with American skiers dominating many of the events. The events kicked off Feb. 19 with the Swiss Miss Barnebirkie, a 1km fun ski for children 13 and under. Friday's opening ceremonies centered on the recognition of the late Tony Wise, founder of America's largest cross country ski race and Telemark Lodge.

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The main event of the weekend is the Saturday running of the 50km skate and 54km classic American Birkebeiner and 23km Korteloppet. Despite the disappearance of snow in the Hudson area, the trail grooming wizards of the American Birkebeiner Foundation had the challenging course in world-class condition for Saturday's main event.

The majority of the 7,000 skiers participating in the all of the races have no idea of the drama that plays out at the finish line on Hayward's Main Street, until a review the Sunday papers. Both the men's classic and women's' skate involved photo finishes.

Minnesotan Matthew Liebsch won the 50 km men's skate in 2:11:47.9. He is only the second American to win the race since 1975. The men's classic ended in the first photo finish of the day with American Gus Kaeding edging out Norwegian Olympic champion and national hero Bjorn Daehlie by .1 second; finishing in 3:00:27.8.

American Rebecca Dussault won the women's skate in a dramatic photo finish over Holly Brooks by .6 seconds for a time of 2:26:39.5. The women's classic champion is Martina Stursova of the Czech Republic, finishing with a time of 3:26:16.3.

Local ski phenom Jessi Diggins, of Afton and Stillwater High School won the women's Korteloppet in 1:10:24.4. The men's champion is Spencer Lacy who finished in 1:03:16.

Local participants include:

Birkebeiner Skate: Scott T Everson 4:09:45.0; Mark J Gherty 5:26:59.6; Tim J Goetzke 3:37:55.4; William Gorham 4:55:11.6; Paul F Jaeger 3:35:55.1; Paul F Jaeger 3:35:55.1; Robert L Kondrasuk 3:36:01.5; John R Koski 3:08:32.3; David P Mataya 3:27:52.8; Tom F Meyer 4:02:52.3; Walter E Milbrath 4:16:29.6; Brent R Mitchell 3:45:05.3; Robert J Moser 3:27:21.4; Allen J Omernik 3:48:06.8; Kathryn S Roberts 4:18:48.6; David M Runk 4:06:30.7; Mari A Sandom 5:21:45.6; Warren B Schneider 3:40:37.2; Jim W Tangen-Foster 3:33:14.0; Gregory L Young 3:20:55.4; Heidi M Young 4:20:51.5

Birkebeiner Classic: Jon R Hauser 5:20:21.0; Jeffrey S Roberts 5:07:29.2

Kortelopet Classic: Chloe Brine 3:53:37.2; James D Cumming 2:23:20.3; Joseph T Lowery 3:32:12.5; Dan M Pagels 2:26:50.8; Jim Topitzhofer 3:16:25.1

Kortelopet Skate: Brian N Geisler 2:11:23.2; Scott Larson 1:37:48.6; Raymond H Lee 1:33:09.6; Patrick J McCann 1:42:44.4; John T Oman 1:38:33.8; Hannah Pierce 2:15:45.9; John Tjornehoj 1:38:09.2

Prince Haakon 8km: Gregory J Lowe; Jim Lutiger; Tom Kloster.

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