BAXTER — One minute.
Peder Smith ran a 13th-place time of 17:25.9 Tuesday in miserable, wet, windy and cold conditions to lead the Brainerd Warriors to fifth place in the Central Lakes Conference meet.
Smith’s place earned him all-conference honors.
During the Warriors’ season-opening Run for Your Melon race Aug. 30, on the same course at Forestview Middle School, Smith ran an 18:23.0 to place 16th.
“We’re all in a lot better shape than we were at the beginning of the year,” said Smith. “It just meant we had to get out there and run the best race that we could. As a team we wanted top four. As an individual, I wanted to be all-conference, which I was, so I was happy for that.”
Smith was followed by junior Connor Gunsbury, who ran an all-conference honorable mention time of 18:12.8 for 25th place.
The top 15 runners earn all-conference with runners 16-25 earning honorable mention.
“Peder placed better today than he did in our six-team meet to begin the season,” said Warriors head coach Dave Herath. “We’ll take a minute drop. It was pretty warm back in August and runners prefer cooler weather, but the conditions and the course were a lot sloppier, too.
“Looking at the results, there was only one sophomore that finished higher than Peder and a whole lot of seniors.”
The Alexandria Cardinals placed five runners in the top 15 to win the team title by one point over Willmar. Tom Seifert of Willmar won the individual title with a 16.28.6.
Gunsbury shaved 35 seconds off his season-opening time. Sophomore Matt Majerle finished 28th in 18:30.3, which was 1:07 less than in August.
Sophomore Luke West finished 33rd. Freshman Matt Cherne placed 35th and sophomore Canyon Crochet was 43rd for Brainerd.
“We’re running a pretty young team right now with just one junior and the rest sophomores and freshman,” Herath said. “We finished in the spot I thought we would, but we’re a lot closer to Sartell and Rocori and even those top two teams. We still have a ways to go, but we’re closing the gap and that’s all you can ask. The kids are working hard and dropping time.”
While conditions affected everyone, Smith was happy with the way he ran the race and attacked the course.
“Past races I’ve probably gone out a lot faster than I should and today I held back a little at the beginning of the race,” said Smith. “I think that helped, especially with the last mile of the race.”
Smith was encouraged by his significant time drop, but his goal of breaking 17 minutes remains.
“It’s going to take a better day than these conditions, but I’m just going to have to run til I collapse and know at the end of the race that I ran the best race I could,” he said.
Team scores: 1-Alexandria 50, 2-Willmar 51, 3-Rocori 94, 4-Sartell 124, 5-Brainerd 134, 6-St. Cloud Tech 154, 7-Fergus Falls 162, 8-Sauk Rapids 209, 9-St. Cloud Apollo 218
Individual winner: Tom Seifert (Willmar) 16:28.6
Brainerd results: 13-Peder Smith 17:25.9, 25-Connor Gunsbury 18:12.8, 28-Matt Majerle 18:30.3, 33-Luke West 18:40.8, 35-Matt Cherne 18:43.0, 43-Canyon Crochet 19:29.2