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Northland musher Nathan Schroeder reaches Iditarod finish line as top rookie

Musher Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm at the start of the 2014 Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race near Willow, Alaska, on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of Linda Nervick)

Musher Nathan Schroeder of Chisholm has crossed the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race finish line in Nome as the first rookie to complete this year's 1,000-mile race across the Alaskan wilderness.

Schroeder -- competing in his first Iditarod after winning the Northland's John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon three times -- crossed the finish line at 8:52 a.m. Alaska time / 11:52 a.m. Duluth time today, according to the race website. He finished in 17th place of the 50 teams who have either finished or are still on the trail; 69 teams started the race March 2.

Schroeder's finish puts him in elite company among race rookies - in the past 20 years, only six rookies have finished higher in the standings.

Schroeder and his team of 11 dogs left the Safety checkpoint, about 20 miles from the finish in Nome, at 6:15 a.m. Alaska time today -- the same time as fellow rookie Abbie West and her team of eight, and in 17th place of the 50 teams still on the trail. Schroeder and West traded the lead rookie spot for much of the race before Schroeder pulled ahead at the finish, finishing 5 1/2 minutes ahead.

Schroeder's total time on the trail was 9 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes, 51 seconds.

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