A year ago, Maria Swanson was in the shadows of two accomplished throwers on Brainerd girls' track and field team.
Ashley Rodriguez competed in last year's state meet in the shot put and Amy Kittelson was also a dominant thrower.
And even as good as Swanson was, she couldn't quite get out in front of the two seniors.
But with Rodriguez and Kittelson now gone, Swanson's the one the Warriors will look to for leadership in the throwing events.
The junior didn't disappoint.
At Friday's triangular against Bemidji and Detroit Lakes, Swanson won both the discus and shot put to lead the Warriors to first place.
"I'm real excited for Maria," Warriors coach Geri Skogen said. "She's gotten stronger and she's got a real good work ethic. She was a good thrower last year but she had Ashley Rodriguez and Amy Kittelson in front of her and they kind of got the lime light."
Swanson won the discus with a throw of 90-3 and tossed the shot 37-1. She credits her throws to some tweaking done the day before at practice.
"Coach Clabo and I worked a lot (Thursday) to try and get my hands right and keep looking up," said Swanson. "The wind along with everything else just worked out for me."
Swanson feels that much of her success now came from watching and working with Rodriguez last season.
"I want to take over for Ashley," said Swanson. "She was a good teacher. She's really helped me in how to be prepared both mentally and physically."
The Warriors also got wins from Ashley Schmolke (800), Audree Goodew (3200), Christina Roberts (1600), and Ally Hartje (triple jump). The 4x800 relay also won.
So far in the early schedule, Skogen feels her distance runners are paving the way. But as she points out, it's the overall balance that makes this team dangerous.
"This team is real balanced," said Skogen. "If you were to pick one event that was our strongest it would probably be our distance group. They did a tremendous job. But our whole team is pretty well balanced.
"Not only do we have a No. 1 runner, jumper, thrower but we have the second, third and fourth girls to fill in."
The following Warrior girls had honor roll performances: Swanson (shot put); Claire Northway (100 hurdles); Taylor Hartje (long jump), Schmolke (800 run), Goodew (3200 run), Lauren Trapp, Annie Bahr, Katie Perpich, Lauren Deyo (pole vault).
Girls' team scores -- 1-Brainerd 142.5, 2-Bemidji 132.5, 3-Detroit Lakes 84.
100 hurdles -- 1-Becca Hougen (Bem.) 16.4, 2-Claire Northway (Brd.) 16.7, 3-Stephanie Petersen (Brd.).
100 dash -- 1-Kaitlyn Marsolek (Bem.) 13.0, 2-Jessie Radtke (Brd.) 13.2, 4-Melissa Eiesland (Brd.).
4x800 relay -- 1-Brainerd (Audree Goodew, Ashley Schmolke, Christina Roberts, AshLeigh Hakes) 10:22.3.
1600 run -- 1-Roberts (Brd.) 6:04.7, 2-Carissa Schmidt (Brd.).
4x100 relay -- 1-Bemidji 52.8, 2-Brainerd (Petersen, Erin MacDonald, Jenni Beilke, Katie Perpich) 53.6.
400 dash -- 1-Lindsey Gregg (Bem.) 1:03.3, 2-Kate Olson (Brd.) 1:05.9, 3-Sarah Gervais (Brd.).
300 hurdles -- 1-Jena Hanson (DL) 49.6, 3-Northway (Brd.) 52.8, 4-Peterson (Brd.).
800 run -- 1-Schmolke (Brd.) 2:34.4, 2-Hakes (Brd.).
200 dash -- 1-Farah Lee (DL) 26.9, 4-Jessie Rosenthal (Brd.) 28.0, 5-Roberts (Brd.).
4x200 relay -- 1-Bemidji 1:49.5, 3-Brainerd (Rosenthal, Beilke, Katy Posterick, Northway) 1:54.6.
3200 run -- 1-Goodew (Brd.) 12:17.6, 2-Ali Parsons (Brd.).
4x400 relay -- 1-Detroit Lakes 4:11.5, 3-Brainerd (Kate Olson, Cara Wiltse, Posterick, Brittany Jureck) 4:38.7
Shot put -- 1-Maria Swanson (Brd.) 37-1, 3-Jennifer Wentworth (Brd.).
Discus -- 1-Swanson (Brd.) 90-3, 3-Amanda Bateman (Brd.).
Long jump -- 1-Lee (DL) 16-5, 2-Taylor Hartje (Brd.) 15-7, 3-Eiesland (Brd.).
Triple jump -- 1-Ally Hartje (Brd.) 32-0, 4-T. Hartje (Brd.).
High jump -- 1-Marsolek (Bem.) 5-0, 2-T.Hartje (Brd.) 4-10, 4-Jennifer Beilke (Brd.).
Pole vault -- 1-Andrea Smith (Bem.) 10-6, 3-Lauren Trapp (Brd.) 8-6, 6-Annie Bahr (Brd.).
Next meet -- Brainerd hosts triangular 4 p.m. April 22.
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