Girls Cross Country: Watson paves way for Warrior win
Faith Watson wasn't fast last year.
That's not the case this year.
The Brainerd sophomore didn't even qualify for the Warriors junior varsity during last year's Run for the Melon event.
Watson shaved three minutes from her time last year to place third in Friday's Run for the Melon at Forestview Middle School and pace Brainerd to the team victory.
"I just wanted to have a really good race," said Watson. "I've been kind of hurting. I just wanted to go out and run.
- Individual: Faith Watson places third
- Team: Warriors place five in top 10
- Next meet: Brainerd at Bemidji Invite 4 p.m. Friday; Little Falls at Wadena-Deer Creek Invite Tuesday; Crosby-Ironton at Pierz Invite Sept. 15
"Last year, I ran a 19:47 and I knew I had improved so I wanted to set a (personal record). I was really slow last year."
Watson posted a 16:33 to finish behind the top two Class 2A runners in the state in Alexandria's Megan and Bethany Hasz.
During last year's track and field season, Watson found success running the two mile. She didn't rest on that progress during the offseason.
"I ran in the 7 a.m. captains practice every morning," she said. "Then I would run on my own, too. I ran a lot.
"I just want to put in a good effort and try my hardest."
Watson was followed by Meritt Miller's fourth-place 16:38. Miller shaved a minute and a half from last year's race. Varsity rookie Molly Selisker finished fifth in 16:45. Sara Whiteman placed seventh and Lydia Herath was ninth for Brainerd's five scores.
"Sara ran a lifetime best on any course to finish seventh," said Warriors head coach Dave Herath. "Lydia ran 30 seconds faster than last year and she had tight calf muscles. She still did a nice job. The biggest surprise might have been Emma Anderson in 11th. She dropped two minutes from last year and made her first varsity spot. She's been with us for a few years. She trained hard this summer. All those girls on the top did."
Anderson ran a 17:10 to place 11th and Lizzy Stokes placed 13th for Brainerd's varsity runners. Then the Warriors rattled off the top seven junior varsity spots.
Breaking up the blue and white was Crosby-Ironton's Molly McCusker. The Ranger finished sixth with a 16:48.
"I just didn't want to trip or fall," said McCusker. "It was pretty muddy back there. I was trying to stay with the Brainerd girls. There were two or three in front of me so I was trying to pace with them."
Margaret Stokman placed 10th in 17:06 to help the Rangers to third place. Little Falls finished fifth.
"After going around the soccer fields and heading into the woods I just felt that this was my time. I pushed up the hills and I just tried to do my best," McCusker said. "I was happy. For the first race it was good. The last little section was a little rough. There wasn't anybody over there cheering so it was a little harder, but it was good. It's nice to have everyone lined up at the end. It helps you to finish strong."
Sophia Sowada led Little Falls with a 12th-place 17:15.
Team scores: 1-Brainerd 28, 2-Alexandria 49, 3-Crosby-Ironton 113, 4-Albany 124, 5-Little Falls 138, 6-Pillager inc.
Individual winner: Megan Hasz (Alex) 14:31
Brainerd results: 3-Faith Watson 16:33, 4-Meritt Miller 16:38, 5-Molly Selisker 16:45, 7-Sara Whiteman 16:49, 9-Lydia Herath 17:05, 11-Emma Anderson 17:10, 13-Lizzy Stokes 17:31, 14-(1) Gabby Haire 17: 31, 15-(2) Lauren Reed 17:42, 20-(3) Kylie Heurung 17:56, 21-(4)Kaylin Cherne 17:58, 29-(5) Sophie Carlson 18:22, 33-(6)-Carina Figliuzzi 18:27, 35-(7) Ava Figliuzzi 18:36, 41-Emily Nelson 19:06, 46-Laura Wadsten 19:39, 54-Lindsay Jensen 20:13, 55-Kathryn Quast 20:24, 56-Nikita Duscher 20:30
Crosby-Ironton results: 6-Molly McCusker 16:48, 10-Margaret Stokman 17:06, 30-Lauren Peterson 18:23, 45-Annie Goodwin 19:35, 27-Naomi Ringhand 18:17, 40-Miranda Berg 18:56, 74-Megan Moore 23:56
Little Falls results: 12-Sophia Sowada 17:15, 19-Heidi Moe 17:48, 28-Amelia Kresha 18:21, 31-Anna MCNamara 18:24, 48-Claire Gammon-Deering 19:43, 49-Nica Gammon-Deerng 19:43, 57-Hannah Veillette 20:37, 65-Rachel LaForce 22:03, 66-Kirsikka Ruonala 22:04, 68-Catherine Gottwalt 22:38, 71-Lauren LaForce 23:04, 72-McKayla Brezinka 23:04, 75-Elizabeth Theis 24:06, 77-Maria Moe 24:27, 79-Kindbra Sperstad 25:49
Pillager results: 67-Kate Foehrenbacher 22:23, 78-Rachel Alexander 25:00