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Two Harbors graduate Leif Gilsvik competes at the Mayor's Challenge in Minneapolis in January. It is one of the qualifying events leading up to the Junior Olympics which Gilsvik qualified for. Submitted photo

Former Agate competing at Junior Olympics ski event

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Leif Gilsvik skied 100 kilometers in one day at the Korkki Nordic Center when he was 17. It was that enthusiasm he showed in 2009 that clings to him today as he rises in national skiing prominence.

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The former Two Harbors High School Nordic skier will compete at the Cross Country Skiing Junior Olympics Sunday through Saturday at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis. He competed there earlier this year during the Mayor's Challenge event.

Gilsvik will be on a team representing the Great Lakes region. He said most of the results will be based on individual efforts.

The event serves as a national championship event for cross country skiers age 15 to 20. Many skiers who have competed at the Olympics began at this event.

In order to qualify, Gilsvik, who is on the Gogebic Community College Nordic ski team in Ironwood, Mich., said he had to compete in four races and he had to get a certain amount of points through good times.

"It came down to [the] last weekend," he said. Gilsvik competed at an event in Houghton a few weeks ago and qualified. "I'm surprised I made it in."

He said his experience skiing at Gogebic has really helped him. "It's great," he said. "There's no better place to ski and train."

Gilsvik trained a little more last week, finishing 56th in the 54-kilometer Birkebeiner Classic race in Hayward. "It takes a lot out of you," Gilsvik said.

Other teams at the Minneapolis event are from New England, Rocky Mountain area, Pacific Northwest, and the mid-Atlantic.

Gilsvik will be competing in a freestyle sprint competition, a classic race, a freestyle event, and a relay. "I'm real excited for it," Gilsvik said.

If you go

Junior Olympics

The Cross Country Skiing Junior Olympics will be Sunday through Saturday at Theodore Wirth Park in Minneapolis.

Sunday

Opening ceremony at 3 p.m. at IDS Crystal Court in Minneapolis.

Monday

The freestyle sprint competition begins at 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday

The classic event begins at 8 a.m.

Friday

The skate event begins at 8 a.m.

Saturday

The classic relay begins at 8 a.m.

To find up-to-date results, visit www.jo2011.com.

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