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Girls Cross-Country: Drietz shines in running debut

The Brainerd Warriors hosted the Run for the Melon Friday, Sept. 3, at Forestview Middle School

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Brainerd Warrior Hannah Drietz runs in the Run for the Melon Invitational Cross Country Meet Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at Forestview Middle School. Brainerd Dispatch / Jeremy Millsop

BAXTER — Hannah Drietz didn’t know what to expect.

And why would she? The Run for the Melon Friday, Sept. 3, was her first cross-country meet. Prior to this season, Drietz, a junior at Brainerd High School, played volleyball. During the COVID-19 pandemic, however, she took up running to pass the time and fell in love with it. A mother of one of her teammates saw Drietz running in the neighborhood and recruited her to the cross-country team.

Give that mother some praise as Drietz ran to an eighth-place time of 20:44.3 to lead the Brainerd Warriors to third place in the season-opening event.

“I was just trying to get a time down and get back to running 5Ks,” Drietz said. “You run all summer, but then now they’re asking you to give it your all for 3.1 miles. I’m really pleased with how it went. I’ve never run a cross-country meet before. This is my first one. I’m just here for the experience.

WARRIOR PREVIEW: Cross-Country: Both Warrior squads could see extended seasons
“I wasn’t too nervous. The coaches did a decent job and the girls told me what to expect and what you’re going to see. I felt pretty prepared, but I’ve never run with 90 girls and you all run out at once.”

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Drietz was in the lead pack for most of the 5-kilometer race. While nobody was near Albany’s Olivia Goebel, who won the race in 19:14.7, a pack of seven runners tried to stay close.

“I just wanted to stay close to the Rocori and Alexandria runners,” Drietz said. “If they went I tried to go with them because they run smart.

“Everyone kept telling me this is the hardest, hilliest course we will run this year. So it was nice to get it out of the way. I was pleased with my finish, but I felt like I should have saved some more.”


"We had some really good first-meet-out races and I can’t wait to build off of what they did today."

— Dave Herath


Included in that pack was Pequot Lakes senior Carly Chaney, who finished fourth in 20:15.1. Her younger sister and all-state runner Calia Chaney did not run Friday, but the Pequot Lakes Patriots still finished fourth.

“I kind of wanted to start out strong, but not necessarily too fast, which kind of backfired because I think I started out a little too fast,” Carly Chaney said. “I’m happy with the end of it. I think I ran a good race with how the course was. It was pretty hilly and the grass was pretty long. It wasn’t like Perham the other day, which was super flat and easy to run. This course was a little difficult so I’m happy with how it turned out.”

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Pequot Lakes Patriot Carley Chaney runs in the Brainerd Warrior Cross Country Invitational Friday, Sept3, 2021, at Forestview Middle School. Brainerd Dispatch / Jeremy Millsop

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The younger Chaney was sidelined with an illness and will be back in action soon.

“I do feel a little bit of pressure when she’s not running,” Carly Chaney said. “It’s a little different, but I figure I’ll get one more place because she won’t be in front of me. It’s gone pretty well the first two races, but I’m ready for her to come back this next race.”

Drietz was followed by freshman Madelyn Miller in 17th place and Julia Rademacher in 20th. Katelyn Kennedy finished 22nd and eighth-grader Annelise Baird placed 25th to secure Brainerd’s 92 points.

Rocori won the team event with 44 points followed by Alexandria in second.

“Those girls are working hard and I know Madelyn and Julia put in a really good summer of training,” Brainerd head coach Dave Herath said. “I think for Madelyn that was over a minute faster than last year’s time and that was a lifetime best for Julia by about 40 seconds.

“Then Katelyn, we’ve just been working on some form things with her and it translated well for her today. She looked like the runner I know she can be. That was a really strong race for us. It wasn’t a surprise race. We knew if she could keep her form together that she would be successful.”

2020 Melon: Cross-country: Warrior girls open season with a runner-up finish
Drietz is not the first latecomer to make waves on the Warriors girls team. Back in 2016, Emily Rugloski joined the team as a junior and was the second runner on Brainerd’s state-qualifying team.

“We all have high expectations,” Drietz said. “We would all love to make it to state. We have a really talented team so that’s kind of the goal. Then I just want to have fun and enjoy the season.”

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Lily Schaeffer finished 27th and Brooke Wenz placed 32nd for Brainerd.

“The little bit I saw of Hannah’s race when she started out I believe she was in 15th place and looked very comfortable,” Herath said. “But then as a rookie runner to move up from there and finish eighth, but could have easily been fifth or sixth, that was awesome. For her to carry out her game plan like that was nice to see. She did a super job. She really enjoyed her first race. She broke 21 minutes and on that course, that’s a great time.”

Chaney was followed by Rian Zutter who ran a 13th-place 21:19.1. Allison Gladen finished 23rd. Emma Flaws placed 41st and Lilix Gustafson was 52nd.

“I think we want to keep improving,” Chaney said. “We love to see the times drop and we’re all just so proud of each other whenever we accomplish our goals. Our goal is to keep improving every race.

“It was nice to see Rocori, Alexandria and Albany today. They’re in our section now and we’ll know what to expect the next time we see them.”

Emma Reeder finished 24th to lead the Pillager Huskies to eighth place. Mara Adams paced the Pine River-Backus Tigers with her 35th-place time of 23.59.1.

“It’s a fairly inexperienced group even though a lot of them ran last year,” Herath said. “Last year, we were running just duals and triangulars so to be in there with that many runners it’s a whole new event for them. I was very pleased. We had some really good first-meet-out races and I can’t wait to build off of what they did today.”

BOYS RESULTS: Boys Cross-Country: Warriors land 4 in top 15 to win Melon

Girls results
Team scores: 1-Rocori 44, 2-Alexandria 49, 3-Brainerd 92, 4-Pequot Lakes 126, 5-Sartell 126, 6-Albany 145, 7-St. Cloud Tech 156, 8-Pillager 176
Individual winner: Olivia Goebel (Albany) 19:14.7
Brainerd results: 8-Hannah Drietz 20:44.3, 17-Madelyn Miller 22:02.2, 20-Julia Rademacher 22:19.4, 22-Katelyn Kennedy 22:22.2, 25-Annelise Baird 22;31.2, 27-Lily Schaeffer 22:40.1, 32-Brooke Wenz 23:20.5
Pequot Lakes results: 4-Carly Chaney 20:15.1, 13-Rian Zutter 21:19.1, 23-Allison Gladen 22:27.3, 41-Emma Flaws 25:12.2, 52-Lilix Gustafson 26:34.2, 54-Emma Bitzer 27:02.8, 55-Erika English 27:19.3
Pillager results: 24-Emma Reeder 22:27.6, 29-Lindy Cordes 22:47.4, 39-Allie Watson 24:55.2, 47-Elsie Turner 25:59.2, 48-Sienna Swanberg 26:02.1, Kylee Wilson 26:02.3, 51-Juliana Ewald 26:02.7
Pine River-Backus results: 35-Mara Adams 23:59.1, 60-Kelsey Bergem 30:25.1, 61-Kalie Trout 31:54.9

Run for the Melon

Individual highlight: Hannah Drietz finished eighth in 20:44.3

Team highlight: Brainerd lands three girls in the top 20 to place third.

Area highlight: Carly Chaney ran to a fourth-place finish to lead Pequot Lakes to fourth.

Next: Brainerd at Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin Invite 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9.; Pequot Lakes hosts Invite at Emily Greens Golf Course 4:15 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9; Pillager, Pine River-Backus at Wadena-Deer Creek Invite 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 7


"We had some really good first-meet-out races and I can’t wait to build off of what they did today."

— Dave Herath


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Pequot Lakes Patriot Carley Chaney runs in the Brainerd Warrior Cross Country Invitational Friday, Sept3, 2021, at Forestview Middle School. Brainerd Dispatch / Jeremy Millsop

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Pequot Lakes Patriot Carley Chaney runs in the Brainerd Warrior Cross Country Invitational Friday, Sept3, 2021, at Forestview Middle School. Brainerd Dispatch / Jeremy Millsop

090521.S.BD.CarlyChaney.jpg
Pequot Lakes Patriot Carley Chaney runs in the Brainerd Warrior Cross Country Invitational Friday, Sept3, 2021, at Forestview Middle School. Brainerd Dispatch / Jeremy Millsop

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