The Brainerd Warriors have three team titles to defend this spring and will attempt to do so without three of their top athletes from 2010.
Brainerd captured Central Lakes Conference and Section 8-2A championships and the Section 8-3A True Team title last season as 2010 graduates Kelsi Ring, Madison Smith and Allison Reuer played instrumental roles in securing those honors. All three are continuing their track careers in college.
Ring, now at Minnesota-Duluth, placed third in the 2A state meet in the triple jump and fourth in the 100-meter hurdles. Smith, now at the University of Minnesota, finished third in the state in the 300 hurdles and eighth in the 100 hurdles. Reuer, also at UMD, narrowly missed qualifying for state in the 100 dash and 4x100 relay.
Ring and Reuer were on the school-record 4x100 relay. Ring ranks second and Smith third in program history in the 100 hurdles. Smith set the school record in the 300 hurdles.
“It’s going to be tough to replace all three of those girls,” said Warriors coach Dan Clabo, whose squad opens in the Huskies Classic at St. Cloud State on Saturday. “We could almost count on 60 points or more, depending on the meet, from the three of them so we have some big holes there to fill.”
Clabo is confident that returning veterans, plus promising youngsters, will help ease graduation of the threesome. The Warriors initially appear to be strongest in distance and field events.
Five state-meet qualifiers return, including seniors Megan Holmes and Anna Gessell, junior Sydnie Mauch and sophomores Allison Kosebud and Sophie Campbell.
Clabo hopes for big contributions from captains Lexi Rardin and Holmes. Rardin will likely compete in the 400 dash and relays. Holmes will run the 800 and 1600 as well as relays.
“I expect more out of the captains this year, like leading our warm-ups,” Clabo said. “Our captains in the past didn’t really play a big role in things like what to decide for workouts. I’m trying to give them more ownership in what we do. I would like them to come up with ideas to change things up a little bit. And, obviously, both will be big point-getters.”
Holmes was a member of the 10th-place 4x800 relay at state, with Gessell, Kosebud and Campbell.
“Megan and Anna do a great job,” Clabo said. “They have no injury issues right now. We have to keep them healthy. I’m looking forward to watching them both.”
Kosebud and Campbell will likely compete in the 800 and 1600 runs and 4x800.
“They were up and coming toward the end of last year,” Clabo said. “They were on our honor roll list (top 15 in school history) a couple times so that was very positive.”
Mauch placed ninth in the state in shot put in her first year of throwing.
“At the Huskies Classic last year she threw like 24-4,” Clabo said. “To go 37-something at state was a huge jump. We’re looking forward to her coming back this year.”
Clabo expects senior shot putters Rachel Bartosh and Toni Terwilliger to make contributions in field events, along with Mauch.
High jump is another area where Brainerd appears solid. Senior Olivia Elsenpeter, injured for much of last year, returns.
“Olivia jumped 5-plus for us,” Clabo said. “Sydnie also high jumps and (freshman) Kayli Skinner scored points for us last year, she was in the ballpark. Kayli’s another one who could go over 5-0.”
Clabo looks for sophomore Chloe Miller to help replace Ring and Smith in the hurdles and for contributions in other events from sophomore Courtney Ryan and freshman Hannah Lundstrom, both of whom were members of the school-record 4x100.
“One area we’re hurting is hurdles,” Clabo said. “Losing Kelsi and Madison, that’s one of the areas we will need to fill in for sure.”
Seniors: Rachel Bartosh, Olivia Elsenpeter, Marie Frommelt, Anna Gessell, Martina Giger, Maria del Pilar de Hagen, Alexandra Hohner, Megan Holmes, Jaylnn Lamb, Taylor McElfresh, Annija Mitenberga, Patricia Pensel, Lexie Rardin, Toni Terwilliger
Juniors: Mariah Bock, Laura Boran, Maria Comeau, Rachel Ford, Alyssa Hartshorn, Noelle Johnson, Briana Kruize, Nicole Marquart, Sydnie Mauch, Brittany Olson, Michaela Quast, Shea Sheflo
Sophomores: Sophie Campbell, Brianna Chisholm, Erica Embretson, Sarah Fairbanks, Vanessa Jarmuzek, Taylor Johnshoy, Allison Kosobud, Kayla Logelin, Chloe Miller, Creanna Naslund, Ashley Niemann, Courtney Ryan, Anja Smith, Jessica Walters
Freshmen: Taylor Cadwell, Haley Campbell, Heather Campbell, Mikayla Cerney, Misty Edwards, Ana Ford, Toni Gohman, Maya Hermerding, Ashlee Hauble, Kacey Johnson, Hannah Lundstrom, Katie Montgomery, Katie Pernula, Anna Razidlo, Karli Ring, Paige Rivers, Hailee Rodman, Haley-Rose Severson, Kayli Skinner, Kayli Scammahorn, Abbrielle Selisker, Johanna Smith, Katlyn Tautges, Mari-beth Thayer, Annika Watson, Emma Whiteman, Sarah Yeh, Shelby Zimmerman
Eighth-grade: Lydia Herath
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.