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If anyone could handle playing two physically challenging sports simultaneously it’s Mitch McLain. This fall McLain quarterbacked the Brainerd Warriors football team to the Section 8-5A championship game and earned all-conference honors. On weekends during the fall he also played 19 games for the North team in the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League. McLain scored five goals and added five assists as the North finished second in the regular season and playoffs. McLain conceded that is was draining to play football and hockey in the same season.
A new coach won’t be the only thing the Brainerd Warriors have this season. Scott Stanfield takes over as head coach for Wade Haapajoki, who resigned this fall, and Stanfield has installed an offense that he and Haapajoki planned to run this season. The Warriors have abandoned the flex offense they ran the last two years and will run a motion offense.
Matt Pohlkamp will become the latest player in the pipeline of Brainerd Warriors to Division I programs. On Monday, the senior verbally accepted a full athletic scholarship to play for Bowling Green University, which will enter the WCHA in the 2013-14 season. “Ever since my first year of varsity (hockey) as a freshman I knew I wanted to play hockey,” Pohlkamp said. “It was a big deal for me, and I’ve been working for that.”
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.
With two state skiers returning and six of seven from its Section 8 team, the Brainerd Warriors are hoping to make a push for the state meet this winter. Zean Baker, a two-time state qualifier, and Riley Nelsen return from the state meet where they finished 53rd and 63rd, respectively. They head a team that returns Noah Baker, Gerrit Garberich, Matt McDonald and Tim Nelson from their section squad.
After being outscored 34-6 in their first four games, the Brainerd/Little Falls Flying Warriors played their most competitive game of the season Tuesday night. Unfortunately, their effort didn’t result in a win as the River Lakes Stars snapped a 2-2 tie with two straight goals in a 4-2 Central Lakes Conference win at Brainerd Area Civic Center. The loss dropped the Flying Warriors to 0-5-0 overall, but first-year head coach Stephanie Sustercich isn’t about to throw in the towel.
Senior captains and three-year starters Kayla Kraemer and Gretchen Kletscher will be counted on to lead the Brainerd Warriors this season while teammates learn their roles and garner experience. Kraemer started all but one of 25 games last season and was the team’s second-leading scorer with 214 points from her point guard position. Kletscher, a post, played in five games last season before suffering a concussion, which led to surgery on her brain, and sidelined her for the remainder of the season.
BEMIDJI — Kylie Beltz, Emily Lueck and Mattie Lueck are often referred to as the “Big Three” because they usually lead the Pequot Lakes Patriots in virtually every statistical category. One of the threesome’s characteristics is they don’t care who does what.