Boys Cross Country: Balance could be key to Warrior success
Whether with Nordic skiing or tennis, the athletes on the Brainerd Warriors boys cross country team have state experience.
It's just not with running.
The goal is to change that this year as the Warriors return five runners from last year's Section 8-2A and Central Lakes Conference meets.
"A lot of them have experience going to state in Nordic skiing," Warriors head coach Dave Herath said. "They've got a little taste of that and would like to have that happen in more than one sport. A couple of the guys really ended their season strongly in track—I think of Hunter (Turcotte) and Maxim (Osborn) in particular—so again, there is that drive to start things out their senior year with a bang. Hopefully, that does happen for them, but there are so many good runners in our section that it's going to be a difficult thing."
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- Head coach: Dave Herath, 26th season
- 2017 girls finish: 5th in CLC, 8th in Section 8-2A
- 2017 boys finish: 6th in CLC, 10th in Section 8-2A
- Girls captains: Grace Erholtz, Carson Blegen, Elizabeth Selisker
- Boys captains: Garrett Goeden, Alex Holst, Maxim Osborne, Ben Renner, Evan Storbakken, Hunter Turcotte, Nick Porisch, Cruz Lemmerhirt, Logan Severson
- Assistant coaches: Carl Schirmer, Owen Trout
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A look at last year's results shows Brainerd doesn't have a clear-cut front-runner, but rosters at least five guys who are comparable.
At last year's conference championship, senior Evan Storbakken was Brainerd's second runner with an 18:23. Junior Izaac Herrlich was next at 18:43 followed by senior Garrett Goeden in 18:48, Turcotte in 19:12 and Osborn in 19:31
Move ahead to Brainerd's next event last year, the section meet, and Osborn was the second runner in 18:41 followed by Storbakken, Goeden, Herrlich and Turcotte all within a minute.
"The more we can get five guys packed up toward the front the more that helps us teamwise," Herath said. "I don't think we'll have a large drop-off. Hopefully, we can find a couple front-runners to lower the score as well."
Filling out the seven-person varsity roster is still up for debate, according to Herath. He likes what he's seen from junior Logan Severson, who is also a captain, but strong numbers in the sophomore and freshmen groups lead the 26-year coaching veteran wondering if one of the younger runners might step into a varsity role.
"Cross country, like all these endurance sports, it's what you've done over the summer and a lot of them have done a lot of miles this summer and are coming into the year in very, very good shape," Herath said. "They're looking good in practice. It's hard to know exactly how well they're going to do until you start seeing them in meet action. They certainly have, as a group, done their due diligence over the summer to get themselves ready.
"I really think they're shooting to have a really nice year and I think that will happen."
Last season, the Warriors finished sixth in the conference and 10th in the section. The goal is for those numbers to go lower and get somebody back to the state meet.
"The goal for this year's team is to be the top half of the section," Herath said. "We're in a very, very competitive section. We have 17 schools in the section and if we can be in that eighth or higher spot that would be great. If we can be even higher than that, obviously, that would be even better. The goal is always to get kids to state and out of this group that might happen. Teamwise, we're hoping to be in the top half."
- Seniors: David Dewey, Garrett Goeden, Alex Host, Maxim Osborne, Ben Renner, Evan Storbakken, Hunter Turcotte
- Juniors: Jacob Aanes, CJ Beasley, Izaac Herrlich, Cruz Lemmerhirt, Logan Severson, AJ Thompson
- Sophomores: Jackson Callian, Joe Figliuzzi, Jacob Grabouski, Gabe Maurer, Atticus Osborne, Nick Porisch, Gabe Qualley, Cade Young
- Freshmen: Reed Boeckermann, Bennet Capelle, Braden Capelle, Michael Kuehn, Mitchell Neumann, Thomas Ruhl, Noah Schaeffer, Zach Schaeffer