There was a light mist on the pumpkin and no need to chill the watermelon.
But the cool weather couldn't dampen the spirits of the four girls' cross country teams competing in the annual Run For Your Melon meet Thursday at the Northland Arboretum.
The participating teams included the Brainerd Warriors, Crosby-Ironton Rangers, Alexandria Cardinals and the St. Cloud Tech Tigers.
Brooke Ellison of Alexandria turned in a time of 16:50 to set the pace for the girls.
Other area girls finishing in the top 10 included Erica Lundgren (C-I) who finished in sixth place with a time of 17:11, Kim Berman (C-I) who finished eighth and turned in a time of 17:22 and Liz Wilcox (Brainerd) whose time of 17:34 was good enough to earn her ninth place.
Alexandria took team honors followed by Brainerd, Tech and C-I.
Craig Rezac, coach of the Warrior girls, looked to this meet as a way to discover more about his team.
"The biggest element is fun," said Rezac. "But it will also be a learning experience. The team will go after it, but the whole season doesn't hinge on the results. Half our kids are new so hopefully, running against teams like Alexandria, one of the premier teams in the state, the team will learn and improve. We'll try to evaluate where our kids are."
Roger Twigg also saw this meet as an early season opportunity to size up the Rangers' chances for the season.
"We've worked hard," said Twigg. "Now we'll see what we need to do over the next few weeks. This is a difficult course but it's really fun for us and a great way to open up the season. If we do well here chances are good that we'll do well against teams in our own class."
Freshman Liz Wilcox ran in her first meet for Brainerd and posted the squad's best time.
"Liz is a first-year runner," said Rezac. "She's showing the results of putting in a good summer of work. She put in many miles and it's great to see her in this kind of condition. She's a nice addition to the team."
At the end of the day, both participants and coaches came away with more vegetables and answers than they had when the day began.
"I'm happy with how our team ran," said Rezac. "They did a nice job of pack running. This was a learning experience for us, a good first challenge, and they did real well."
Twigg also liked what he saw from his team.
"The kids competed pretty well," he said. "I got some of my questions answered. We found out that our top two girls (Erica Lundgren and Kim Berman) can run with anybody."
Individual top 10 -- 1-Brooke Ellison (Alex) 16:50, 2- Lydia Hartsell (Alex) 16:56. 3-Kala Halverson (Alex) 17:02, 4-Andrea Dooley (Tech) 17:06, 5-Kim Lynch (Alex) 17:08, 6-Erica Lundgren (C-I) 17:11, 7-Alisha Rewerts (Alex) 17:16, 8-Kim Berman (C-I) 17:22, 9-Liz Wilcox (Brd) 17:34, 10-Ashley Taentes (Tech) 17:38.
Brainerd results -- 9- Liz Wilcox 17:34, 12-Liz Borash 17:36, 13-Allie Parsons 17:38, 14-Susie Carlson 17:52, 16 Mandy Hanson 18:07, 25-Ariel Starzinski 19:16.
Crosby-Ironton Girls' results -- 6-Erica Lundgren 17:11, 9-Kim Beaman 17:22, 18-Steph Anderson 18:18, 19-Erica Ogard 18:38, 35-Nicole Anderson 26:11.
Next meet -- Brainerd at Bemidji Sept. 8, C-I at Deer River Sept. 8.
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