The Brainerd Warriors finished one place shy of qualifying for the state meet last season.
With two state meet skiers returning, as well as six of seven skiers from the Section 8 team, the Warriors should contend for a berth at state.
Allison Kosobud placed eighth in the section meet and Fairbanks was 11th. Kosobud finished 41st at the state meet and Fairbanks 81st.
“Sarah wasn’t all that healthy and still made it,” Warriors co-head coach Mary Claire Ryan said. “She’s starting out this season healthy. Sarah and Allison were on the cross country running team, and Allison went to state in track last spring. They worked hard in various activities over the summer.”
Others returning from the section team include Katie Montgomery (15th), Serena Schreifels (25th), Emily Dumbeck (33rd) and Sara Whiteman (40th).
“Katie missed state by 18 seconds,” Ryan said, “so she got experience as a freshman. She’s got some health issues, but they’re in the process of being resolved.
“Serena and Sara were eighth-graders on the section team so they have experience as well as ability. Emily Dumbeck had surgery during the soccer season. We’re not sure when she’ll be able to get going, but we’re planning that she will be able to ski. It will be a slower start for her.”
Deer River, formerly of Section 8, has been reassigned to Section 7.
Section 8 now consists of Alexandria, Bemidji, Detroit Lakes, Independent Home School, Little Falls, Mora, St. Cloud Apollo and Tech, St. John’s Prep, Trek North, Fergus Falls, and St. Cloud Cathedral-Sartell.
“Little Falls lost some really good skiers, but they’ll still be good,” Ryan said. “We usually ski early against the St. Cloud schools and at the conference meet.
“This year we’ll go to the St. John’s Prep race so we can compete midseason against those schools since they are now in our section.”