Even though two varsity runners were held out, the Brainerd Warrior girls' cross country team proved it will be a force in Section 8-2A again this year.
Jenna Dean and Anna Gessell rested injuries Thursday, but the Warriors went out and won the Run for Your Melon meet at Northland Arboretum.
The meet came down to a tiebreaker. Brainerd and Alexandria had 33 points apiece when counting their first five runners. The Warriors emerged with the victory by virtue of a tiebreaker - No. 6 finisher Jenna Riley placed 12th while Alexandria's sixth finisher was 20th.
"A couple kids we kept out just because of the difficulty of the course," Warriors coach Dave Herath said. "They've been nursing some hip things and we didn't feel it was necessary to run them this early.
Brainerd cross country runner Megan Holmes (right) led teammates Amanda Finstad (left) and Hannah McAllister in the Run for Your Melon meet at Northland Arboretum Thursday.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls
"I thought the girls ran very well all the way through, the whole group. I
think we had a perfect score in the (junior varsity) race. We knew we had depth and it showed. The girls ran some very nice times."
Brainerd placed four girls in the top eight. Megan Holmes was third (16:15), Courtney Wing fourth (16:21, Hannah McAllister fifth (16:55) and Gretchen Kletscher eighth (17:35).
Holmes said she started off in a pack with the eventual top two finishers, Jamie Piepenburg and Tess Boucher, both of Alexandria, and a Pillager runner.
Highlights: Brainerd's Megan Holmes, Courtney Wing and Hannah McAllister finished 3-4-5.
Next: Brainerd in Lucky Lindy Invite at Little Falls 4:15 p.m. Sept. 11.
"Then I passed the Pillager girl and one of the Alex girls," she said. "I was in second for most of the race, but it was really hot out today.
"Jamie is really fast. She had a 15:50 at the (conference) jamboree. She's pretty quick. The heat got to me, the hills are pretty slick here, there's lots of sand."
The girls' race started about 10:45 a.m. By that time the temperature had begun to climb.
"It's probably one of our tougher courses, maybe the toughest," Holmes said. "There's sand, lots of sand, lots of big hills, and some little curves, but it's nice being in the woods."
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 43, 2-Alexandria 51, 3-St. Cloud Tech 73, 4-Pillager incomplete
Individual winner: Jamie Piepenburg (Alx) 15:18
Brainerd results: 3-Megan Holmes 16:15, 4-Courtney Wing 16:21, 5-Hannah McAllister 16:55, 8-Gretchen Kletscher 17:35, 11-Rebecca Yeh 17:47, 12-Jenna Riley 18:05, 13-Michaela Quast 18:05.5
Pillager results: 14-Shauna Maurer 18:08, 18-Jade Massie 19:09, 24-Kelly Johnson 21:10, 25-Tess Ruhl 23:01
MIKE BIALKA may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5861.
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