In other years Audree Goodew might be the No. 1 runner for the Brainerd Warrior girls' cross country team.
The fact Goodew is the Warriors' second runner this year demonstrates how far the program has progressed since she joined the varsity in 2000.
Brainerd was 11th in the section that year, seventh her sophomore year and didn't qualify a runner for state either year.
"My first year was kind of like just get through the season because I couldn't even run a mile," Goodew said. "It was horrible. Coach (Craig) Rezac was really nice, really patient. He brought me up.
"We switched my second year to coach (Dave) Herath. That was interesting because they joined the boys' and girls' teams. It was something we had to get used to because it was a lot of fun. There were more people. We got a lot closer to everyone. Ever since then we've dropped time. Coach Herath has been awesome."
Last year the Warriors were awesome, qualifying for state as a team for the first time since 1992.
Herath and his staff discuss team history with their runners. Three years ago Brainerd beat one team at the section meet. Now the younger runners are becoming accustomed to Brainerd winning.
"Audree is one who knows that hard work will get you there, it doesn't just happen," Herath said. "She's made herself, and made the team, from an also-ran to a contender every time out."
This fall Goodew and the Warriors have been competitive every time out. They have won six races, including the Central Lakes Conference championship.
In eight of nine races AshLeigh Hakes has been the Warriors' top finisher. Goodew was Brainerd's fastest finisher Oct. 7 at St. Cloud Tech.
Sport -- Cross country running
Year -- Senior
Age -- 17
Height -- 5-foot-4
Weight -- 115 pounds
Other sports -- Nordic skiing, track and field
Memorable sports achievement -- Running in 2002 state cross country meet
Grade-point average -- 3.4
Favorite subject -- English
Favorite singer -- Jo Dee Messina
Favorite food -- Her grandma's cinnamon rolls
Hobbies -- Playing piano
Future plans -- Attend college
Athlete she admires -- Distance runner Steve Prefontaine
Parents -- Jim and Susan Goodew
"It's been amazing to have so many girls so close," Goodew said. "Although I'm running No. 2 right now I could be No. 5 on any given day. We have five girls running under 16 minutes.
"I'm happy to be running No. 2. I ran No. 2 the last two years. The year before I was No. 1 but we didn't have the depth or talent we have this year. It doesn't bother me. AshLeigh worked hard over the summer and it's paying off."
In the conference race at Pierz, Hakes was third at 15:24 and Goodew fifth at 15:39, the fourth-fastest time in Warrior girls' history. Three other Brainerd runners were in the top 10.
"Any other year Audree's your star," Herath said. "We have such a deep talent base that some of those stars get kind of lost in the shuffle. They're all running so close together. AshLeigh is running really well.
"Audree was fifth at the conference meet. I don't know if we've had someone since Turena Johnson place that high, yet Audree's our second runner this year."
Goodew, along with Ashley Schmolke and Ali Parsons, are the Warriors' captains.
"Audree's very much a team leader," Herath said. "She's concerned about her own race and her teammates' and how well they do.
"We talk up team a lot. It's an individual sport but it's a team sport. Audree has really contributed to the team aspect of it. It's one of those deals where she's made the team stronger, not only as a runner, but as a leader."
Other notable efforts by Warriors:
Cliff Edberg, football, rushed for 178 yards and four touchdowns against Bemidji.
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