Cross-Country: Warriors run to a 3rd at sections
BEMIDJI — Dave Herath has coached for many years and he said this year’s team deserved what they got.
What the Brainerd Warriors got was a third-place finish in the Section 8-2A meet Thursday, Oct. 15.
Ethan Klisch led the way with his 13th-place finish. Adam Cady was 15th, Ryan Cady 23rd, Thomas Ruhl 28th and Gus Duininck 29th for Brainerd’s 108 team points.
“We told the boys, we were a ways back of Bemidji and Alexandria and I don’t know if we would have caught them, but it didn’t help us that we spent almost a month without a race,” Herath said. “You kind of lose that racing edge. I was very thankful that Fergus Falls was willing to move their meet so we could get one in before sections. That helped us quite a bit. But you learn something every time you race and when you race in half as many races as everyone else sometimes that comes into play.
“I think the last time we were top three in the sections was probably 2008 or 09 when we were third in state so it’s been awhile and these boys really worked hard and persevered to reach their goal.”
Bemidji won the section title with 53 points. Alexandria placed second with 64.
The Warriors were seeded sixth, based on an average of their regular-season times. Brainerd ran with Monticello, Willmar and Rocori and cruised past those teams.
“You try to set things up so you’re running your fastest time at the end of the year, but our times were definitely faster than on our home course,” Herath said. “We ran at (Bemidji) the first week of school, almost an identical course, and we ran about a minute faster than we did at that time of the year.”
Klisch ran a 17:18.0 and would have qualified for his second straight state meet had one been scheduled.
“Ethan is a big meet racer,” Herath said. “We’ve seen flashes of that throughout the year, but he just put it all together today and ran within himself. It’s a weird meet because you’re only competing against four of the 16 teams in the meet, so it’s a really small field, but he had a great finish and had a great race.
“Adam Cady was our second guy and he dropped almost 40 seconds from our last meet and 30 seconds from his previous lifetime best. He had never been under 18 minutes.”
Adam Cady ran a 17:28.09. His brother Ryan posted a 17:40.8. It was the first year on the Warriors roster for both.
“As runners they contributed a ton,” Herath said. “They were in our top five in every single meet, but as great kids and teammates and incredibly hard workers, they were invaluable to this year’s team. They probably contributed more in those areas than even in the races. They are just two excellent kids and to have them show up on our doorstep was just huge.”
Thomas Ruhl was coming off back-to-back wins to post a 17:46.3. Duininck ran a 17:47.7.
“The whole group was together for the first mile mark and then they split apart,” Herath said. “For Gus, he got sick before the section meet last year so this was his first section meet. He had a lifetime best and ran just great and we needed that because we were only a couple of points ahead of St. Cloud Apollo who we haven’t seen all year.
“Thomas rolled his ankle a bit after the mile mark, but still had his best time of the season so we were very happy with really all seven of our runners. Baden (Bastian) and Atticus (Osborne) both had lifetime bests. Baden has been right at 18 minutes for the multiple meets now. Atticus dropped 20 seconds off his best time.”
Little Falls placed 10th with 310 points. Wyatt Baum ran an 18:04 to place 37th. Jackson Grant was next in 47th place.