ST. CLOUD — Brainerd’s boys team and Maria Hauer of Little Falls got off to rousing starts in the season-opening St. Cloud Cathedral Invite Thursday at Riverside Park.
The Warriors won the boys meet as Noah Baker, Connor Gunsbury and Ben Hanson finished in the top seven and Robert Pike placed 12th. Brainerd nipped St. Cloud Tech in team competition due to Pike’s finish.
“We were very pleased with (Pike’s) result,” Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. “Tech is the major team we have to beat, and Noah, Connor and Ben stepped up.”
Hauer won the girls race with a 5-kilometer time of 18:18. Brainerd’s Gaby Haire finished third and teammate Sara Whiteman 12th.
“My expectation for Gaby was to be up there,” Ryan said. “She and the Mora gal went back and forth, and Gaby didn’t quite catch her to get second. Gaby’s off to a great start, and Sara was in the mix for the top 10. She dropped out a little bit, but it’s the best start for her, which we were hoping to see.
“I was happy to see some 10th-graders like Emily (Nelson), Maddy (Quast) and Maren (Hadrits) were pushing to get in the mix as well.”
More than a foot of snow fell Monday through Wednesday, resulting in ideal conditions for Thursday’s opener.
“It was really cold today,” Ryan said. “The glide was very slow. Those were tough conditions for the first race, but we’re not complaining. We’re happy to be racing. We’re happy to have real snow to race on.”
Boys team scores: 1-Brainerd, 2-St. Cloud Tech, 3-Alexandria, 4-Little Falls, 5-Mora, 6-St. Cloud Apollo, 7-Willmar, 8-St. Cloud Cathedral
Individual winner (5 kilometers): Corey Rau (Tech) 16:51
Brainerd results: 3-Noah Baker 16:58, 5-Connor Gunsbury 17:46, 7-Ben Hanson 17:52, 12-Robert Pike 19:27, 14-Evan Schreifels 19:33, 19-Sam Nesheim 20:04, 26-Sam Guida 20:54, 42-Will Schultz 24:46
Little Falls results: 10-John Gottwalt 19:02, 11-Gunner Kleinschmidt 19:12, 13-Seth Crocker 19:31, 15-Michael Carl 19:36, 18-Ethan Crocker 20:01, 23-Christian Ganz 20:35
Girls team scores: 1-Mora, 2-Little Falls, 3-Cathedral, 4-Brainerd, 5-Alexandria, 6-Apollo, 7-Willmar, 8-Cathedral
Individual winner (5 kilometers): Maria Hauer (LF) 18:18
Brainerd results: 3-Gaby Haire 20:35, 12-Sara Whiteman 22:23, 26-Emily Nelson 24:28, 27-Maddy Quast 24:30, 29-Maren Hadrits 24:36, 32-Lydia Herath 26:02, 35-Katie Pernula 26:30, 37-Anne Grabowski 27:29
Little Falls results: 4-Kaitlin Geisenhof 20:37, 10-Amelia Kresha 21:42, Kendal Hendrickson 22:17, Claire Gammon-Deering 22:20, Elizabeth Becker 22:40, Christy Masog 22:50
Next: Brainerd, Little Falls at Grand Rapids Invite 10 a.m. Saturday.