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WARRIORS ATHLETE OF WEEK: State track finish pushes cross country runner

A disappointing finish at the 2012 Class 2A state track meet has served as motivation for Allison Kosobud’s senior cross country season.

The Brainerd Warrior distance runner finished 14th in the state 800-meter run in June at Hamline University in St. Paul. She was obviously hoping to make the finals but her first-day showing abruptly ended her season.

“That created in me a drive I didn’t know I had,” Kosobud said. “I want it even more this year. You don’t know what you have until you don’t have it anymore.”

Kosobud has been driven in cross country this fall, finishing as the Warriors’ first runner in each of their seven meets. Her shining moment was in the Crosby-Ironton Invitational at Ruttger’s where she won the girls race. On Tuesday, she finished second at the St. Cloud Tech Invite with a personal-best time of 15:09.

Warriors coach Dave Herath attributes Kosobud’s cross country success to her summer workouts.

“She’s having a fantastic fall, which is an indicator of having a fantastic summer of running,” Herath said. “Last fall was a little disappointing for her. She was dealing with low iron, she didn’t feel good the whole season.

“It’s not just one season but every season’s building on the next, from cross country to Nordic skiing to track to summer. She’s another in hopefully a continuing long line of seniors having standout years.

“I tell the girls their first year I don’t want you to peter out as an eighth-or a ninth-grader. I want your senior year to be your best and your strongest. A couple years ago, Megan Holmes, Anna Gessell and Rebecca Yeh ended their careers with great seniors seasons. Allison’s trying to make the same statement.”

Kosobud made a statement at Ruttger’s with a time of 16:07 on a course longer than the usual 4,000-meter girls route. She had to overcome wind and cold for her win.

“It was a smaller meet so I didn’t base myself on who I was running with,” said Kosobud, who has competed in six state meets in her three sports. “I based it more on feel and not time because that course is long. In the past it’s measured out longer than 4K. I just tried to power through the hills and run my race.”

Five days before the C-I meet, Kosobud finished 74th at the University of Minnesota in one of the state’s largest high school events. The C-I meet featured four Class 1A schools and 2A Brainerd.

“Kids can go either way,” Herath said. “There could be a letdown at a smaller meet, or ‘Hey, this is my chance to do something.’

“Alli set the tone from the start. She had the lead, if not the first 100 meters, after the first-quarter mile, and she just kept going. She came to run. She was a little dinged up, and was not feeling so great before the race but she felt well enough to post a nice time.

“We’ve never run a super time there, but I think Alli ran the second-fastest time by a Brainerd girl on that course, behind Gessell’s senior year.”

Kosobud, who hopes to break 15 minutes before her cross country career ends, is a captain, along with Maria West. Kosobud’s the only senior on a youthful girls team.

“We like to think we have little drama on the cross country team,” said Kosobud, who thanks teammates, coaches and her family for their support. “Even though it’s an individual sport, with the team we like to keep it low key.”

Herath said Kosobud and West are doing a fantastic job of leading an “eclectic group” of runners.

“Alli’s a great kid,” he said. “She’s very well-spoken, an excellent student, she’s what we strive for in our runners. We want them to be students of the sport, always trying to do that next thing to get faster.

“She’s never satisfied where she’s at. She’s always pushing. She could be a dynamite college 800 or mile-run type runner. She will only get better and better.”

Other notable efforts:

• Fallon Ryan, swimming, won two events and was on two first-place relays against Apollo.

• Beth Etterman, diving, remained unbeaten in eight dual meets.

• Emily Beltran, girls soccer, had a hat trick against Watertown-Mayer.

MIKE BIALKA, sports editor, may be reached at 855-5861. Follow on Twitter at