Both Brainerd Warriors cross country teams ran away from the competition Thursday at Detroit Lakes Country Club to repeat as Section 8-2A champions.
The Warrior boys held off Moorhead 51 points to 59 for their second straight title. Brainerd has qualified for four of the last five state meets.
Brainerd entered the meet ranked third in 2A.
"The boys had a pretty big target on their backs, ranked high in the state all year," Warriors coach Dave Herath said. "We had some excellent competition from Moorhead and Bemidji. For us to come out on top was exciting.
Jenna Dean finished second
"The boys met the challenge. We kind of had our eyes on today and next week. Sometimes you get bit when you do that. We were not fully rested and it showed a little bit but the effort was certainly not lacking."
In the girls' meet, 12th-ranked Brainerd scored 79 points to Moorhead's 100, for its second straight title and fifth state trip in six years.
"The boys had their demons, being the top dogs and having everyone gunning for them," Herath said. "The girls were a little different story without (injured) Courtney Wing for the first time all season. She was such a solid third or fourth runner.
"The girls ran with a lot of heart. I couldn't be prouder of them. We thought they had a shot to be second. To come out and win by 21 points they really performed well. It would have been easy to fold up shop and have a couple individuals (advance) but they pulled together."
The top two teams and 10 fastest individuals qualified for the state meet Nov. 3 at St. Olaf College in Northfield.
Ruttger, Delaney 3-4
Thomas Ruttger finished third
Thomas Ruttger was Brainerd's fastest finisher in third place at 16:43.4. Luke Delaney took fourth at 16:56.1.
"Thomas was in second place until the last 100 meters or so," Herath said. "Tyler Iverson (Moorhead) caught him at the finish. Anytime, in this competitive of a section you're in the top 10 you're running well.
"The pace was furious the first mile but the boys were patient, worked their way up and didn't go nutso. It was an incredibly windy, hilly course so the kids who went out fast certainly paid for it at the end.
"Luke was 16th last year and moved up to fourth this year."
Rounding out the Warrior scorers were Jimmy Dean in 11th place, Tyler Rose in 16th and Mitch Lorenz in 17th.
Section 8-2A cross country
Highlights: Brainerd boys' and girls' teams repeated as section champions. Jenna Dean finished second and Thomas Ruttger third.
Next: Class 2A state meet, Nov. 3 at St. Olaf College in Northfield, girls 10 a.m., boys 11 a.m.
"Jimmy's been our steady Eddie," Herath said, "and nearly got in the top 10. Tyler was battling something today but he was right up there with Thomas and Luke most of the race. He kind of had heavy legs at the end.
One more week and he should be one of our top guys at the finish.
"Probably the key to the meet was Mitch, our fifth runner, finishing 17th. Moorhead's fifth runner was 24th and Bemidji's fifth was 32nd so that spelled the difference. We matched up pretty well with the other teams' top four but Mitch put us over the top."
Gunner Johnson, in 22nd place, and Joey Doyscher, 26th, completed Brainerd's lineup.
"Gunner and Joey would have been scorers on every other team," Herath said.
Brainerd's Jenna Dean finished second at 15:34.3, following only Alexandria eighth-grader Jamie Piepenburg at 15:27.60.
Hannah McAllister finished fifth and Megan Holmes seventh for the Warriors.
"Jenna felt really good and it showed," Herath said. "If it had been a little longer race she may have ended up winning it. She was way back of the Alexandria girl, who's quite a runner. For Jenna to put the move on the last half-mile and get within about five seconds she raced just super.
"Having three of the top seven helped a lot. We missed Courtney, who would have been in the top 10. Anna Gessell (32nd) and Katherine Mueller (33rd) stepped up and came through. It was a total team effort. You don't get (to state) off three individuals. You have to have five."
Gretchen Kletscher finished 50th and Kacie Bahr 69th for Brainerd.
Brainerd's Carl Schirmer was named section assistant coach of the year.
Boys team scores: 1-Brainerd 51, 2-Moorhead 59, 3-Bemidji 69, 4-Alexandria 91, 5-St. Michael-Albertville 103, 6-Monticello 223, 7-Sartell 235, 8-Sauk Rapids 255, 9-Little Falls 263, 10-Detroit Lakes 264, 11-Big Lake 326, 12-Rocori 341, 13-Fergus Falls 349, 14-St. Cloud Tech 356, 15-St. Cloud Apollo 367, 16-Becker 504
Individual winner: Drew Paradis (Alex) 16:30.72
Brainerd results: 3-Thomas Ruttger 16:43.4, 4-Luke Delaney 16:56.1, 11-Jimmy Dean 17:28.7, 16-Tyler Rose 17:46.4, 17-Mitch Lorenz 17:51.6, 22-Gunner Johnson 18:01.5, 26-Joey Doyscher 18:08.6
Little Falls results: 19-John Dunlap 17:59.4, 48-Eli Ploof 18:44.4, 61-Preston Zimny 19:09.4, 67-Ricky Devine 19:18.2, 68-Justin Posterick 19:18.9, 83-Cody Neu 19:48.5, 85-Andrew Geisenhof 19:57.3
Girls team scores: 1-Brainerd 79, 2-Moorhead 100, 3-Becker 112, 4-Alexandria 146, 5-St. Michael-Albertville 152, 6-Sartell 165, 7-Monticello 171, 8-Bemidji 187, 9-Rocori 207, 10-St. Cloud Apollo 269, 11-Detroit Lakes 271, 12-Fergus Falls 284, 13-Little Falls 300, 14-Sauk Rapids 361, 15-Big Lake 361, 16-St. Cloud Tech 431
Individual winner: Jamie Piepenburg (Alex) 15:27.60
Brainerd results: 2-Jenna Dean 15:34.3, 5-Hannah McAllister 15:53.0, 7-Megan Holmes 15:58.9, 32-Anna Gessell 16:53.5, 33-Katherine Mueller 16:54.2, 50-Gretchen Kletscher 17:37.6, 69-Kacie Bahr 18:09.8
Little Falls results: 17-Manon Gammon-Deering 16:30.4, 37-Beth Hauer 17:03.4, 81-Kayla Meyer 18:32.3, 82-Paige Beseman 18:36.6, 83-Nicole Maleski 18:41.2, 84-Molly Deml 18:45.2, 106-Laura Newman 20:40.0
MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5861.
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