When Jenna Roberts finished 13th in the Section 8, Class 2A cross country meet last season the Brainerd Warriors coaching staff knew she possessed the potential to be a standout.
What the coaches may not have realized is how fast Roberts would realize that potential.
The freshman ran her way into the Warriors' record book Oct. 8 when she zoomed to a school-record time.
At the St. Cloud Tech Invitational, Roberts raced to a 4,000-meter clocking of 15:13, which was 15 seconds better than the previous record.
After running third or fourth much of the race, Roberts overcame Division I recruit Sarah Decker of Rocori and highly regarded Katie Inderrieden of Sartell for her first varsity victory.
"I didn't let them out of my sight," Roberts said. "At the end of the race we were going around a pond. I tried to pick them off one at a time because they were pretty tired and couldn't sprint as much.
"When I finished, I didn't know I had gotten the record. It was exciting because it was the first race I had won. When the coaches told me I broke the record I was excited. It was cool."
Roberts surged to the title after finishing about one minute behind Decker three days earlier at the Alexandria Invitational.
Jenna Roberts profile
Sport -- Cross country running
Year -- Freshman
Age -- 15
Height -- 5-foot-3
Weight -- 103 pounds
Other sports -- Hockey, track and field
Grade-point average -- 4.0
Memorable sports achievement -- Finishing first and break school record last week.
Favorite subject -- Art
Favorite food -- Dill pickle chips
Favorite movie -- "Save the Last Dance"
Hobbies -- Swimming, water sports, socializing with friends
Future plans -- Attend college, participate in a college sport
Athlete she admires -- Defending state cross country champion Shannon Bergstedt of Hopkins
Parents -- Bernie and Linda Roberts
At last year's section meet, Roberts broke 16 minutes (15:58) in her first varsity race.
"We knew she had the talent, obviously," Warriors coach Dave Herath said, "but we've been running such difficult courses this year, a lot of hilly, challenging courses, that we didn't know how fast she could run. We finally got a course that was not so hilly. Jenna dropped almost a minute from her previous best this year."
Herath said Roberts has been getting stronger in every outing and has been challenging teammate Audree Goodew for No. 1 runner honors.
"They kind of feed off each other," Herath said. "Audree had been our No. 1 runner with Jenna right behind her in our first few meets. They've kind of flip-flopped lately.
"It's been good for both of them, pushing themselves in practice and meets. It's not easy to run by yourself. It's nice to have internal competition."
Roberts believes her other sports have contributed to her success this fall. She plays hockey in the winter and runs the 800- and 1600-meter events in track and field.
"Over the summer I go to Minnesota Hockey Camp in Nisswa," Roberts said. "We do so much training for running, figure 8s (interval training) and plyometrics (jumping, bounding). It helps get you in shape for cross country.
"Track helps me too. Last year in junior high I was not as good of a sprinter. This year I should be a lot better at the 2-mile race. It will be more familiar to me. Track kind of helps you mentally get more ready."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Luke Furda, football, rushed for 140 yards and caught a touchdown pass vs. Willmar.
Chris Klabo, football, rushed for 129 yards vs. Bemidji.
Amanda Johnson, diving, attained the fourth-highest score in school history vs. Rocori.
Brianna Elg, swimming, won two events vs. Rocori.
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