Maybe it's the hair.
Or rather the lack of it.
Distance runner Justin Grunewald and his noticeably trimmed hair helped pace the Brainerd Warriors boys' track and field team to top honors in their triangular against Bemidji and Detroit Lakes Friday.
At last fall's state cross country meet, Grunewald had an over abundance of hair. The junior's head is more aerodynamic now.
"My parents wanted me to get my hair cut before I went to Mexico for spring break," Grunewald said. "I had an indoor meet at the (University of Minnesota) where I ran a 5K so that was the main reason I cut it. I think I'll keep it short, maybe I'll run a little faster."
Whether or not his new style is what helped him win the 3200-meter run, with a time of 9:48.4, is open for debate.
"I don't think the hair has anything to do with it," Warriors coach Rod Reuer said with a smile. "But whatever it takes to get a kid motivated."
What isn't debatable is Grunewald running like a man possessed. Still early in the season, he is dominating the competition. Even after the meet is finished and the sun is setting, Grunewald is ripping out sets of push-ups and crunches.
"He's totally dedicated to running," said Reuer. "He's got a God given talent and he's using that talent to the best of his ability."
Alex Hondl is another athlete that is putting his talents to good use. The senior won both the discus and shot put to help add to the Warriors' win.
"Throwing is one of our teams' stronger points," said Hondl. "We had three guys over forty-one feet so that is going to do some damage come tournament time."
His coach Chet Stevenson is also looking for his throwers to put up some big points for the team late in the season.
"We're hoping that the throwing element of the track team can pull down some points," Stevenson said. "We want to get as many guys at the real competitive distances and see how many points we can pull in."
The Warriors also took first in three relays and had three other individuals win events. Reuer feels that its that balance that could make the difference come sections.
"We had performances all around the track," said Reuer. "The kids are starting to believe that they could be a pretty good track team. They've bought into the system. We're going to be a team to contend with down the road."
Boys' team scores -- 1-Brainerd 152, 2-Bemidji 110.5, 3-Detroit Lakes 86.5.
110 hurdles -- 1-Michael Hougen (Bem.) 15.6, 2-Josh Anderson (Brd.) 15.9, 3-Nate Lucas (Brd.).
100 dash -- 1-John Patten (Bem.) 11.3, 4-Geoff Roberts (Brd.) 11.6, 5-Darin Eller (Brd.).
4x800 relay -- 1-Brainerd (Chris Woodard, Justin Grunewald, Mark Bublitz, Travis Rose) 8:46.7.
1600 run -- 1-Cory Olson (Brd.) 4:48.6, 3-Mark Bublitz (Brd.).
4x100 relay -- 1-Detroit Lakes 44.9, 2-Brainerd (Anderson, Lesmeister, Tom Zelinske, Darin Eller) 46.5.
400 dash -- 1-Zach Toms (Brd.) 52.2, 2-Jason Roberts (Brd.).
300 hurdles -- 1-Hougen (Bem.) 42.8, 2-Anderson (Brd.) 43.1, 4-James Strand (Brd.).
800 run -- 1-William Frank (DL) 2:04.0, 2-Olson (Brd.) 2:05.4, 3-Chris Woodard (Brd.).
200 dash -- 1-Patten (Bem.) 23.1, 5-Sam Gervais (Brd.) 24.0, 6-Dusten Olejnicak (Brd.).
4x200 relay -- 1-Brainerd (J. Roberts, Toms, Justin Mueller, Sam Gervais) 1:34.0.
3200 run -- 1-Justin Grunewald (Brd.) 9:48.4, 3-Brandon Town (Brd.).
4x400 relay -- 1-Brainerd (J. Roberts, Toms, Olson, Strand) 3:32.9.
Shot put -- 1-Alex Hondl (Brd.) 42-8, 2-Bryce Cloutier (Brd.).
Discus -- 1-Hondl (Brd.) 120-3, 4-Steve McMullen (Brd.).
Long jump -- 1-Torben Thede (DL) 20-10, 2-J. Roberts (Brd.) 20-5, 3-Lesmeister (Brd.).
Triple jump -- 1-Olejnicak (Brd.) 40-11, 6-Matt Schmitz (Brd.).
High jump -- 1-Thede (DL) 5-11, 2-Justin Mueller (Brd.) 5-9, 4-Olson (Brd.).
Pole vault -- 1-Travis Haman (Bem.) 12-6, 2-Luke Furda (Brd.) 11-6, 4-Drew Herman (Brd.).
Next meet -- Brainerd hosts triangular 4 p.m. April 22.
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