This could be a breakout season for the Brainerd Warriors girls' cross country team.
With five runners returning from last year's section team, which finished seventh, the Warriors' hopes are high.
"The boys kind of overshadowed the girls last year," Brainerd head coach Dave Herath said. "I think it's the girls' turn this year to get after things, to make a statement. I think we will surprise some teams."
Cross country facts
Head coach -- Dave Herath, 10th season.
2001 boys finish -- Third in CLC, fourth in section.
2001 girls finish --Fourth in CLC, seventh in section
Returning boys state entrant -- Justin Grunewald.
Returning girls -- Rachel Lander, Ashley Schmolke, Ali Parsons, Audree Goodew.
Assistant coaches -- Carl Schirmer, Owen Trout, Toni Kreagal.
(Meets 4 p.m. unless noted.)
29-BRD INV., 4:30 p.m.
6-at Bemidji Inv., 4:30
9-at Long Prairie Inv., 5:45
16-at Pierz Inv., 4:30
17-at Detroit Lakes Inv.
24-at Albany Inv.
28-at U of MN Inv., 1 p.m.
5-at Alex Inv. 10 a.m.
8-at St. Cloud Tech Inv.
15-CLC at Rocori, 3:25 p.m.
24-Section at Detroit Lakes, TBA
Last year's surprise was a 16th-place finish in the section meet by Jenna Roberts.
"We pulled Jenna up at the end of the season as an eighth-grader," Herath said. "She has been in driver's training so we haven't seen much of her yet (this year.)"
Senior Rachel Lander and juniors Audree Goodew and Ali Parsons are the Warriors' captains. Goodew was 31st in the section, Parsons 53rd and Lander 59th.
"They have done a fantastic job," Herath said of the captains. "We've got a lot of ninth-graders new to the program. They've done a good job in pulling them in. This is a group that could be dangerous by the end of the season."
Junior Ashley Schmolke, who placed 50th in the section, also returns.
Herath said the team's overall condition has improved.
"Audree and Ali have put in over 200 miles, and Rachel has over 130 miles in, and it shows early on," he said. "They're different runners than they were at this point last year.
"Audree is probably the one who so far has shined, although they're all running well. Audree has brought it up a notch. Last year she had a good finish at the section meet. I think the girls will move up this year, although they're probably in a tougher section than the boys."
Herath is pleased with the number of girls who have come out for the sport in his second season of coaching both teams.
"Last year we struggled to have a junior varsity," he said. "Most meets we didn't have a JV score. This year we have extras.
"We lost a few that were out last year, but for the most part it's fun to have a big group. We're getting a team identity. That's what we were hoping for. We thought it would be a couple years before we got the numbers up. We're maybe a year ahead of schedule."
Senior -- Stephanie Petersen
Junior -- Jeannette Jones
Sophomores -- Amanda Peters, Cate Meyer, Claire Northway, Erin Twamley
Freshmen -- Carissa Schmidt, Karla Tetreault, Ashleigh Hakes, Katy Posterick, Jenna Roberts, Hanna Stadem, Stephanie Branshaw.
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