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Mushers make their way to Nome

Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2003

NOME (AP) -- One day after Robert Sorlie of Hurdal, Norway claimed victory in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, mushers continued to make their way to Nome.

Among the top teams, John Baker of Kotzebue reached Nome at 5:33 p.m. Thursday to claim 8th place. Ed Iten of Kotzebue finished at 9:07 p.m. to claim 9th place and Sonny Lindner of Fairbanks reached Nome at 10:18 p.m. in 10th place.

Rick Swenson of Two Rivers, the race's only five-time champion, claimed 11th place, reaching Nome at 10:36 p.m. It was Swenson's 27th running of the Iditarod.

''A couple of things went wrong,'' Swenson said at the finish, ''cost me some time and made me change my approach. But it was the most enjoyable team I've run to Nome in more than 10 or 15 years.''

By Friday evening, 22 teams had crossed the finish line.

Swenson said he was happy for Sorlie.

''I think it's great. He's a really nice man, he works hard.''

Alaska's unusually warm winter and little snow worked against Alaskans in the race, Swenson said.

''All us Alaskans had absolutely terrible training this year. When you can't get out and run your dogs the way you know you need to, it's really difficult when you come into an event like this where you only get one chance...,'' he said.

Mitch Seavey of Seward finished 12th, just after midnight; Jon Little of Kasilof finished in 13th place at 1 a.m. Friday; Aliy Zirkle of Two Rivers finished 14th, at 3:17 a.m. and Ray Redington Jr. reached Nome at 5:04 a.m. to claim 15th place.

Aaron Burmeister of Nome reached home at 6:20 a.m. to claim 16th place, his best finish ever. And Bruce Lee of Denali Park reached Nome at 8:07 a.m. in 17th place.

DeeDee Jonrowe of Willow arrived in Nome at 9:45 a.m. to claim 18th place.

Jessica Hendricks of Copper Center appeared to have a lock on the top rookie award. She was 19th, followed by Jessica Royer of Fairbanks, Vern Halter of Willow and Tim Osmar of Ninilchik.

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