The Brainerd Warriors had a banner day at the Section 8, Class 2A cross country meet Thursday at Detroit Lakes.
The unheralded Warrior girls' team finished second to earn its first trip to state since 1992.
In the boys' race, Justin Grunewald finished fourth and also advances to state.
The top 10 individuals and top two teams advance to state Nov. 2 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Brainerd's girls' squad of Jenna Roberts, Audree Goodew, AshLeigh Hakes, Ashley Schmolke, Ali Parsons, Carissa Schmidt and Rachel Lander finished six points ahead of Big Lake to earn the section's second state spot.
Individually, Roberts finished fifth and Goodew 11th. Goodew missed finishing in the top 10 by 1/10th of a second.
"The girls had not beaten Big Lake all year," Warriors coach Dave Herath said. "They had not beaten Rocori all year. Fergus Falls, at the Alexandria Invitational, beat us by 80 points.
"The girls ran like we hoped they would. Jenna ran a solid race, like she always does. Audree was right there the whole way. She was down because she was 11th. You don't know the team score until you're done. She was thinking she let the team down and let herself down but everything went fine. We told her it's a team effort, that individuals don't get you to state, teams do."
Herath said Hakes dropped more than a minute off her time from two meets ago.
"Just between (Hakes and Schmolke) they were the keys to the race," Herath said. "Schmolke was out for a while because of low iron. She's finally feeling good and she ran well. Everybody else did everything they needed to do to get us there. The point spread was so close we needed all seven."
Herath said the girls' performance capped an emotional day.
"This is such a nice group of kids," he said. "It was really a good reward for a lot of hard work. I'm still in shock, not that I didn't think they could do it, but it's such a rare thing. There's not much margin for error."
Grunewald, a state qualifier a year ago, moved up three spots.
"The kid from Moorhead went out and broke away from the pack," Herath said. "There was nothing anybody could do about it. Justin was in second place for most of the race. It was real tight between second, third and fourth time-wise, like two seconds separating them. Justin was right there.
"It was an incredibly tough individual section for the boys. Nine of the 10 who qualified for state were from our conference. Just the winner isn't. Justin was seventh last year. He moved up to fourth this year in a tougher field."
Grunewald helped Brainerd to a fifth-place finish in the boys' race.
"Team-wise, from where we started at the beginning of the year, we ran out of our heads," Herath said. "Quite a few other coaches said that. Derrek Matson, our fourth guy, started the year at 22:00. On a very difficult course he ran really well."
Three Little Falls Flyer boys qualified for state. Jason Thielen was sixth, Jon Stoltman seventh and Andrew Feia ninth.
Boys' team scores -- 1-Alexandria 61, 2-Moorhead 67, 3-Little Falls 71, 4-Sartell 115, 5-Brainerd 136, 6-Sauk Rapids 148, 7-St. Cloud Tech 224, 8-Detroit Lakes 230, 9-Rocori 241, 10-Monticello 264, 11-St. cloud Apollo 290, 12-Fergus Falls 320, 13-Bemidji 324, 14-Big Lake 332, 15-Thief River Falls 425
Individual winner -- Ben Klungtvedt (Moor) 16:30
Brainerd results -- 4-Justin Grunewald 16:52, 19-Chris Woodard 17:24, 33-Cory Olson 18:04, 37-Derrek Matson 18:05, 43-Brandon Town 18:14, 47-Jeff Sands 18:18, 72-Brandon Asker 19:13
Little Falls results --6-Jason Thielen 16:55, 7-Jon Stoltman 16:57, 9-Andrew Feia 17:01, 24-Jordan Horejsi 17:34, 25-John Loscheider 17:39, 44-Matthew Schilling 18:15, 46-Matthew Davich 18::17
Girls' team scores -- 1-Moorhead 61, 2-Brainerd 104, 3-Big Lake 110, 4-Fergus Falls 115, 5-Rocori 164, 6-Sartell 178, 7-Bemidji 194, 8-Little Falls 231, 9-Alexandria 231, 10-Sauk Rapids 231, 11-Monticello 235, 12-Detroit Lakes 300, 13-Thief River Falls 320, 14-St. Cloud Tech 370, 15-St. Cloud Apollo 403
Individual winner -- Brenna Carey (BL) 15:07
Brainerd results -- 5-Jenna Roberts 15:40, 11-Audree Goodew miss by 10th of a second 16:07, 15-AshLeigh Hakes 16:15, 29-Ashley Schmolke 16:49, 44-Ali Parsons 17:22, 54-Carissa Schmidt 17:33, 65-Rachel Lander 17:50
Little Falls results -- 27-Kristy Schwientek 16:45, 45-Megan Meyer 17:23, 49-Maari Hanson 17;28, 51-Susan Sawtell 17:30, 59-Melissa Kempenich 17:41, 63-Shannon McCoy 17:46, 71-Izzy Anderson 18:05
Next meet -- State meet at St. Olaf College, Northfield, Nov. 2.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.