Jude Severson didn’t puke.
He didn’t even feel the need after crossing the finish line at Friday’s Run for the Melon Invite at the Northland Arboretum in Brainerd.
The Crosby-Ironton junior snuck by his teammate, Will Goodwin, at the finish line to place third and help the Rangers to second place in the season-opening, but grueling event.
“It’s always hot because it’s the start of the year and I’m just the worst — I’m so terrible in heat,” Severson said. “The sandy hills are probably the worst part. The two worst combinations ever in a race so that’s what kills me. Just the sand and trying to find traction around the course. You’re always bumping back and forth trying to find the hard ground and so that wears on you.”
Severson ran a time of 18:07, with Goodwin fourth in 18:07.1. Isaac Carlton was 13th, Gabe Smith 14th and John Stokman 15th, leading to the Rangers 49 team points.
Alexandria, led by Jimmy Lovrien’s first-place time of 17:30, won the meet with 30 points. Brainerd finished third, Little Falls fifth and Pillager sixth.
“I was just hanging out with Will and then I saw this one Alexandria guy way up on top of this hill and I just thought, oh man he’s just too far,” Severson said. “It’s the start of the year, I’ll wait before I try and chase him down. I wasn’t expecting to get up with those guys.”
Severson shaved almost a half a minute off his time from last year’s race, as did Goodwin. Those two finished seventh and eighth, respectively, as sophomores.
“My game plan was to stay right with Will because he’s been running all summer and I had been slacking off this summer,” said Severson. “I knew he would give me a good pace if I stayed with him. Then, at the end, if I could take him I would, but that really was my only strategy.”
Brainerd’s Zean Baker cut 1:02 off his time from last year’s race in which he finished 12th. This year Baker placed seventh to lead the Warriors at 18:26.
“Last year, I had kind of a slow race so for sure I wanted to beat that,” Baker said. “And then I just wanted to see how far up in the pack I could be.
“I think I ran pretty well. “It’s one of my faster times on a pretty tough course.”
Brainerd’s David Supinski ran an 11th-place time of 18:43 in his first varsity meet to top Gerrit Garberich, who ran an 18:43.1. Connor Gunsbury was 18th and Peder Smith placed 19th.
“Zean had a great race,” said Brainerd head coach Dave Herath. “It was a very nice time for him. It was within a half-minute of his best time on any course. Plus, it all gets easier after this race because this is the most challenging course they’ll face all season.
“David and Gerrit both ran good times for the course. Talking to Gerrit afterward, he was trying to stay steady and work his way up through the pack. David hasn’t run cross country since eighth grade so he picked someone to run with and I think he picked wisely.”
The Flyers were led by Cameron Smith in fifth and Mathew Massmann in sixth. Pillager’s Matt Neururer was 17th to lead the Huskies on a tough course.
“The guys’ course has the main hill just after the 2-mile mark so right when you’re already feeling it, now you have this 90-meter hill that’s pretty steep to tackle,” said Herath. “Plus, this year it’s been dry and wherever the sun hits, it’s all loose sand. There is no grass growing in some parts so that just makes your legs burn.”
Baker said it was like running on a beach the entire time.
Severson said hills and sand are not a good mix, but didn’t feel as bad as he thought he would.
“Afterward, I felt better than I usually do,” said Severson. “I didn’t feel like I was going to faint or fall down. I just stayed up. Usually after races, like sections or something, I just fall down to the ground and I didn’t puke after the first race so I’m good.”
Team scores: 1-Alexandria 30, 2-Crosby-Ironton 49, 3-Brainerd 72, 4-Little Falls 73, 5-Pillager inc.
Individual winners: Jimmy Lovrien (Alex) 17:30
Brainerd results: 7-Zean Baker 18:26, 11-David Supinski 18:43, 12-Gerrit Garberich 18:43, 18-Connor Gunsbury 19:23, 19-Peder Smith 19:23.1, 24-Daniel Schoonover 19:58, 25-Justin Kuglin 20:00
Crosby-Ironton results: 3-Jude Severson 18:07, 4-Will Goodwin 18:07.1, 13-Isaac Carlton 18:44, 14-Gabe Smith 18:58, 15-John Stockman 19:03, 26-Drue Moores 20:05
Little Falls results: 5-Cameron Smith 18:19, 6-Mathew Massmann 18:20, 20-Adam Maleski 19:27, 21-John Brezinka 19:29, 22-Brian McNamara 19:34, 27-Dan Mushel 20:15, 28-Jacob Massmann 20:21
Pillager results: 17-Matt Neururer 19:18, 29-Kaine Schnagl 22:12, 30-Trent Brand 28:23
Brainerd JV: 1-Stafford Thompson 20:01, 2-Matt Majerle 20:03, 8-Sam Selisker 20:37, 10-Luke West 20:43, 12-Canyon Crochet 20:50, 13-Jed Smith 20:52, 16-Sam Guida 20:54, 17-Sam Smith 20:56, 24-Parker Fredrickson 21:23, 27-Ben Hanson 21:44, 36-Zach Raymond 26:04, 39-Caden Johnson 30:09