TAYLORS FALLS — Both Brainerd girls and boys teams advanced to state after winning their Section 5 races Monday, March 1, at Wild Mountain.
Brandon Neifert earned the individual title for the boys running in a combined time of 58.44. His time was nearly two seconds ahead of runner-up Ben Nelson of St. Cloud.
The Warrior boys finished with 169 team points ahead of runner-up Minnetonka who tallied 162.
Lauren Kalenberg was the top finisher for Brainerd girls. She clocked in at 1:04.85 to be one of three Warriors in the top three.
Erin Hoelzel was fourth in 1:06.39 and Alli Krantz was fifth in 1:07.23.
Calia Chaney notched a top 10 finish with a sixth-place time of 1:08.24. Carsyn Krassas placed 13th in 1:15.59.
The girls also topped Minnetonka with a score of 167 which was 15 points ahead of the Skippers.
Esten Hiebert was the only other Warrior boy to finish in the top five with a fifth-place finish in 1:03.44. Anthony Elsenpeter placed ninth in 1:06.28. Gavin Hoelzel finished 12th in 1:08.50
With a split section race, the winner of the morning race and afternoon race were the two teams in Section 5 to advance to state as well as the five individuals outside of the team champion.
In the morning race, Hopkins was the team champion in boys and Orono claimed the title for the girls. The afternoon race was all Warriors with both boys and girls getting the title and punching their tickets to state.
For the Brainerd boys team, it is the first time it has gone to state as a team since 2007. The girls last state appearance was in 2015.
State is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10, at Giants Ridge with one race leg happening in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Times have yet to be determined.