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The Willmar Nordic ski team skates at a practice on "Cardinal Pond" behind the high school on Wednesday with the temperature at 32 degrees. New snow clung to the ice but all else is brown as head coach Brad Haugen, foreground, strains each day for a new training routine in a snowless December. Tribune photo by Rand Middleton

A brown December to remember

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While the snowless winter has its conveniences, it's been hard on cross-country skiers.

Cardinal Nordic coach Brad Haugen is trying to keep 50 boys and girls -- 12 of them first time skiers -- motivated.

Without snow, the team runs, roller blades, hill bounds and works on core conditioning.

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Rand Middleton

Covers Willmar and area high schools and Ridgewater College, plus amateur baseball, stock car racing and fitness events in summer. Writes weekly column since 1980. Began working in radio and at weekly newspaper in Munising, Michigan, in 1972. Started parttime at West Central Daily Tribune Sept. 1974. Fulltime beginning Feb. 1979. Married to Tribune news clerk Donna (Miller) Middleton, formerly of Kerkhoven. 2 grown children. 

(320) 214-4334
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