The Brainerd Warriors are going to have speed to burn this season.
Sprinters Dan Lauer, Jordan Hayes, Joey Nelson and Jacob Goodew, all of whom competed at the state meet last season, are back this spring.
Lauer was a member of the 4x100 relay, with Hayes and Nelson, as they finished 10th in the state. He was on the 4x200 relay with Nelson, Hayes and Goodew as they placed ninth. In addition, Lauer placed 18th in the 200 dash.
“That’s going to be our strength,” Warriors coach Rod Reuer said of sprints. “We’re not going to be the kind of fast to win the conference and section 100 dash, but we’re right there with pretty good depth.”
Reuer, whose squad opens in the Huskie Classic at St. Cloud State on Saturday, said seniors Nate Parsons and Reggie Turner and junior Nick Welch are early candidates for the other 4x100 spot.
He expects senior Jack Luke to compete with Hayes, Lauer and Nelson in dashes along with Goodew, Welch and Nick Oldham.
In hurdles, Reuer looks for juniors Dakota Swenson and Jackson Walters to give the Warriors a 1-2 punch. The third spot is open with Garrett Heath, Jesse Zahn and Jeff Fiebelkorn in the competition.
Reuer said distance events is one of the areas the Warriors have the least experience. Junior Riley Nelsen is the top returnee with sophomore Gerrit Garberich.
The 4x400 and 4x800 relays, Reuer said, will be virtually new with Walters, Oldham, Lauer and Goodew among many possibilities in those events.
Brainerd returns experience in field events. Long jump appears to be a strength with Joe Nelson back and Hayes, Nate Parsons and Welch in the picture.
Parsons returns in the triple jump but after that Reuer said the Warriors are “green and inexperienced.” Freshmen Grant Reuer and Cole Smith are the only others with triple jump experience.
Reuer said shot put and discus have about 20 throwers, several of whom have experience. Seniors Charles Kassulker and Sam Lastovich and junior Jacob Kassulker head the list. Newcomers include Caleb Tautges and Logan McAllister.
Pole vaulters Josh Murrey and Jackson Dols return.
“It’s a tough event to get our work in,” Reuer said of pole vault. “Since we have no indoor facility, and with the limited space we have indoors, we’re at the mercy of the weather.”
Seventy-four athletes are on the roster, including 16 seniors, 25 juniors, 12 sophomores and 21 freshmen.
“It’s probably the biggest group of freshmen I’ve ever had coming in,” Reuer said. “There’s some talent in the younger grades. Some ninth- and 10th-graders will challenge for spots on the varsity.”
Brainerd’s annual goals remain constant — win conference and True Team section titles and qualify for the state True Team meet.
“After that we’ll see if we can get some individuals and relays to qualify for the state meet and hope they do well when they get there,” Reuer said. “Our focus always has been the CLC and True Team.
“We like the True Team format because it gets lots of kids involved. Track has such few opportunities to get to state (in Minnesota State High School League meets) but if you make it as a True Team member it’s still an honor, you’re at a state meet. Depth throughout is so important because everyone scores. Third place in the shot put is as important as the No. 1 hurdler, they all count.
“In big (MSHSL) meets if you’re not in the top 6-8 you’re no factor in the scoring. That’s why the True Team concept is so strong and teams like it.”
Seniors: Justin Dziedzic, Jeff Fiebelkorn, Jordan Hayes, Garrett Heath, Matt Huesmann, Jacob Jordan, Charles Kassulker, Sam Lastovich, Dan Lauer, Jack Luke, Joe Nelson, Nate Parsons, Zach Taylor, Justin Troberg, Reggie Turner, Jesse Zahn
Juniors: Tyler Aldous, Mike Davis, Zach Dehning, Jackson Dols, Tyler Dvorsak, Kevin Gohman, Jacob Goodew, Jeremiah Hoffman, Sam Jourdan, Jacob Kassulker, Chris Lundgren, Logan McAllister, Josh Murrey, Riley Nelsen, Nick Oldham, Andrew Olson, Miles Pearson, Fletcher Ryan, James Stearns, Dakota Swenson, Caleb Tautges, Dylon Tollefson, Caleb Vereen, Jackson Walters, Nick Welch
Sophomores: Jon Asprey, Zean Baker, Marcus Comstock, Gerrit Garberich, Taylor Huber, Tim Nelson, Tony Sauer, Nathan Schmidt, Jed Smith, Stafford Thompson, Trever Vukelich, Justin Warling
Freshmen: Logan Davis, Bill Desrocher, Cristian Einarson, Winsten Fenkse, Sam Guida, Chris Hastad, Isaac Johnson, Colin Kroll, Justin Kuglin, Chris Laber, Aaron Lundgren, Garrett Moyer, Grant Reuer, Nick Schwen, Cole Smith, Isaiah Smith, Nate Smith, Kylin Sweeney, Ryan Votruba, Joshua Wasniewski, Austin Wohlert
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.