In Dave Herath's tenure as the Brainerd High School boys' cross country coach the Warriors have always had a clear-cut No. 1 runner.
Tim Kidder passed the torch to Kori Kuhn who handed the baton off to Aron Stumvoll who graduated last spring. Between them the trio made six Class AA state tournament appearances, with Kuhn finishing seventh in 1995.
This season the torch has been passed to a youthful group of Warriors, who have no seniors on the roster. The Warriors have several runners battling to fill the shoes of Stumvoll, who placed 39th at state last fall.
BRAINERD WARRIORS Boys' cross countryHead coach -- Dave Herath, eighth season.
1999 finish -- Fifth in CLC, eighth in section.
Returning runners -- Chad Anderson, Brady Rutman, Louis Bedard, Brandon Asker.
Assistant coach -- Carl Schirmer
(4:30 p.m. meets unless noted)
31-RUN FOR YOUR MELON
11-at Long Prairie
23-at University of Minnesota (boys only)
28-at Fergus Falls
7-at Alexandria, 9:00
10-at St. Cloud Tech, 4 p.m.
17-CLC at Willmar
26-Section 8AA at Bemidji
4-State at St. Olaf College
"This is probably the first year we haven't had a clear-cut standout, dating back to Kidder, Kuhn and Stumvoll," Herath said. "But we're looking forward to it.
"The guys have seized on the challenge to be No. 1. Any of them could be our No. 1. We have a group of 6-7 runners who have been running stride for stride in practice. I hope that will be the case when we get to meets."
Herath projects juniors Brady Rutman and Chad Anderson as possible candidates to fill the No. 1 spot. Rutman placed 45th in the section meet while Anderson finished one place behind him.
"Those two guys were back and forth between our No. 2 and No. 3 runners last year," Herath said. "Both are looking real strong this year. Brady did a lot of running this summer. Chad played a lot of tennis. Both are in shape and ready to go."
Rutman and Anderson hope to help the Warriors better their fifth-place finish in the Central Lakes Conference and eighth-place showing in Section 8AA.
"We will probably be better off than last year," Herath said. "Last year our No. 1, 2 and 3 runners were good but we fell off from there.
"You score five kids. This year we won't have Aron in the front of the pack, at least at the start of the season. Our 3-4-5-6-7 runners should be way stronger than last year. We may end up higher than last year because we don't have that dropoff."
Herath said although Brainerd has no seniors the Warriors do have varsity running experience.
"We have four runners from our section team," he said. "It's not like they're all rookies. It was almost like we had Aron and then we had a really good junior varsity having to run varsity. I hope the experience they had last year will help out this year. A lot of them had good track seasons last spring."
Also returning from last year's section team are sophomore Brandon Asker, who was 53rd in the section, and junior Louis Bedard, who finished one place behind Asker.
Additional varsity candidates:
Seniors -- Scott Smith, Jason Howard, Nick Phelps.
Juniors -- Josh Schirmer, Brian Losos, Tom Barthel, Brent Lebig, Ty Goeman, Chris Endreson, Dustin Mattson.
Sophomores -- Brandon Town, Cory Olson, Cass Casper, Matt Schmitz, Miles Krueger.
Freshman -- Scott Lykins.
"We have had two small senior classes in a row," Herath said. "Last year we had two or three. This year we have none. Obviously, our juniors are a big group with 10 of them.
"We have about 20 runners right now. We have had less than that the last couple years. We're back to where we used to be. The last three years we have been below 20. We're probably the biggest team in the conference for guys."
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