EAST GULL LAKE — Brainerd eighth-grader Ali Crochet got her first chance to run in a varsity race Thursday and responded by winning the girls event in the Pillager Invitational at Madden’s Resort.
According to Brainerd head coach Dave Herath, the Warriors were a late addition to the meet and kept several of their top runners home, allowing some younger runners to experience varsity competition.
The Brainerd girls finished second with Cassidy Pelkey crossing the line in 10th place. Stafford Thompson was 11th, leading the Warrior boys to third.
The Pequot Lakes girls easily won the team title, placing five runners in the top 10, led by Caitie Ryan’s second-place finish.
On the boys side, Pequot came in second behind Ottertail Central with Mike Ryan’s third-place finish leading four Patriots in the top 10.
Matt Neururer took second for Pillager, which only fielded three runners for the boys race, and Tiana Eng’s sixth-place finish was tops for the Huskies’ girls, who finished third.
The Pine River-Backus girls were led by Autumn Ackerman (18th) and TJ Lukenan (25th) paced the boys.
Team scores: 1-Ottertail Central 29, 2-Pequot Lakes 36, 3-Brainerd 100, 4-Pine River-Backus 108, 5-Deer River-Northland 149, inc-Pillager
Individual winner: Luke Himmelspach (OTC) 17:44
Brainerd results: 11-Stafford Thompson 19:55, 18-Sam Smith 20:14, 23-Jed Smith 20:30, 24-Canyon Crochet 20:34, 30-Ben Hanson 21:09, 32-Parker Fredrickson 21:17, 39-Zach Raymond 22:34
Pequot Lakes results: 3-Mike Ryan 18:27, 6-Connor Dale 19:27, 7-Reid Pierzinski 19:34, 8-Karl Brine-Doyle 19:45, 12-Dalton Engholm 19:57, 13-Nathan McDonald 19:59, 17-Tony Fitzer 20:12
Pine River-Backus results: 25-TJ Lukenan 20:41, 33-Luke Downie 21:40, 40-Troy Fetter 22:47, 41-Josh Sechser 22:56, 43-Tyler Bestgen 23:11, 45-Dallin Sonenstahl 23:46, 47-Evan Gravdahl 24:06
Pillager results: 2-Matt Neururer 18:12, 19-Trent Brand 20:20, 21-Kaine Schnagl 20:28
Team scores: 1-Pequot Lakes 25, 2-Brainerd 54, 3-Pillager 78, 4-Deer River-Northland 109, 5-Pine River-Backus 118, inc-Ottertail Central
Individual winner: Ali Crochet (Brd) 16:18
Brainerd results: 1-Crochet 16:18, 10-Cassidy Pelkey 18:20, 13-Kaylin Cherne 18:32, 14-Jenny Muesing 18:44, 16-Ariana Huber 19:08, 17-Gabby Haire 19:09, 19-Ruby Hopp 19:14
Pequot Lakes results: 2-Caitie Ryan 17:24, 3-Jackie Brine-Doyle 17:26, 4-Leric Larson 17:27, 7-Elsa Headlee 18:05, 9-Savannah Stone 18:15, 15-Vanessa Lane 19:05, 20-Alyssa Young 19:15
Pine River-Backus results: 18-Autumn Ackerman 19:10, 22-Kendra Brasal 19:28, 34-Jess Hanneken 21:12, 35-Erin Fisker 21.46, 37 Brooke Richards 24:25, 38-Madison Welte 25:27
Pillager results: 6-Tiana Eng 17:47, 8-Sonora Nolan-Rapatz 18:11, 11-Sarah Neururer 18:20, 24-Jade Rau 20:40, 30-Stella Degen 25:58, 31-Katherina Reuss 26:37
Next: Pequot Lakes, Pillager, Pine River-Backus, Wadena-Deer Creek in Northland Invitational at Deer River 4 p.m. Tuesday.