The Brainerd Warrior girls' cross country team knew it had to replace three of its top runners who had graduated from last year's Class 2A state runner-up team.
Ali Parsons is running at Concordia College in Moorhead, Ashley Schmolke at Minnesota-Duluth and Audree Goodew at Cedarville University in Ohio.
Coach Dave Herath wasn't anticipating he would have to find replacements for two other Warriors because of injury. AshLeigh Hakes, the team's No. 1 runner last season, could miss the entire year with a hand injury. Veteran Jenna Roberts could miss several weeks with a kneecap injury.
Hakes was 54th at the state meet and Roberts was 60th on a team that won five meets as well as the conference and section championships.
Hakes had pins inserted in her right hand following an ATV accident in Wisconsin about three weeks ago.
"AshLeigh was our No. 1 runner at every meet but the state meet," Herath said. "She will be tough to replace.
"Jenna's got some inflammation and it's almost bone rubbing on bone. It's not career ending but it certainly will set her back. She was a scorer in every meet last year.
"All of a sudden we have to replace five of seven runners as opposed to three of seven. We have our work cut out for us but that's why you have a new season."
The Warriors will build around eighth-grader Jenna Dean, who was 33rd in the state meet, and junior Carissa Schmidt, who was 79th.
"Jenna Dean had a disappointing spring," Herath said. "She had some freaky injuries, but she's been healthy most of the summer. She looks taller and stronger and she's running that way. She came on in the section and state and did pretty well the rest of the season. She looks to be where she left off last year, maybe stronger.
"Carissa didn't have the spring she wanted either in track but she decided to do something about that. She put in quite a few miles. She might be closing in on 300 miles for the summer. She looks to be very strong. She's been leading a lot of our workouts early on. She's looking forward to having a good year."
Herath anticipates contributions from senior Tori Bahr and juniors Katy Posterick and Hanna Stadem and sophomore Kelsey Herwig. Posterick was on the 4x800 state relay last spring and she and Bahr were among the top junior varsity runners.
"It's not like we're starting from scratch," Herath said. "We took a couple girls to state with us just to see what it was like. They realize it doesn't happen by wishing it will happen. It happens from hard work. I love working with that type of kid."
Seniors -- Tori Bahr, Erin Twamley.
Juniors -- Carissa Schmidt, Katy Posterick, Hanna Stadem, Jenna Roberts, Karla Tetreault, Stephanie Branshaw.
Sophomores -- Kelsey Herwig, Alicia Niemi.
Eighth-grader -- Jenna Dean
Seniors -- Hanna Mahady, Henny Haebel, Mika Hosegana
Junior -- Anna Ohlsen
Freshmen -- Mary Petersen, Kacie Bahr, Courtney Niemi
Eighth-grader -- Hannah McAllister
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