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Boys Cross Country: Big numbers could mean big results

Cross country running Head coach: Dave Herath, 24th season 2015 boys finish: Fifth in CLC, ninth in Section 8-2A Boys captains: Mac Brink, Matt Cherne, Travis Goeden, Zach Herrlich Assistant coaches: Carl Schirmer, Owen Trout Warrior schedule Sep...

Mac Brink (left), Zach Herrlich, Matt Cherine, Travis Goeden, Molly Selisker, Meritt Miller, Isabel Thompson and Ali Crochet run during practice Wednesday at Brainerd High School. (Brainerd Dispatch - Kelly Humphrey)
Mac Brink (left), Zach Herrlich, Matt Cherine, Travis Goeden, Molly Selisker, Meritt Miller, Isabel Thompson and Ali Crochet run during practice Wednesday at Brainerd High School. (Brainerd Dispatch - Kelly Humphrey)

Cross country running

Head coach: Dave Herath, 24th season

2015 boys finish: Fifth in CLC, ninth in Section 8-2A

Boys captains: Mac Brink, Matt Cherne, Travis Goeden, Zach Herrlich

Assistant coaches: Carl Schirmer, Owen Trout

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Warrior schedule

Sept. 2: Run for the Melon, Forestview Middle School, Baxter, 10 a.m.

Sept. 15: Lucky Lindy at Little Falls Golf Course, 3:50 p.m.

Sept. 19: Pierz Stampede at Pierz Golf Course 4:15 p.m.

Sept. 24: University of Minnesota Maroon and Gold at Les Bolstad Golf Course, Minneapolis, 9 a.m.

Oct. 6: Ranger Invite at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge, 3 p.m.

Oct. 11: St. Cloud Tech Invite at Oak Hill Elementary, 4 p.m.

Oct. 18: Central Lakes Conference meet at Blackberry Ridge Golf Course, Sartell, 3:25 p.m.

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Oct. 27: Section 8-2A meet at Little Falls Golf Course, 3:30 p.m.

Nov. 5: State meet at St. Olaf College, Northfield

Cross country fans attending Friday's Run for the Melon will likely see a large cloud of blue this season.

That's because numbers are up for the Brainerd Warriors boys team and the separation between the runners is minimal at this point.

Warrior head coach Dave Herath said it's one of the benefits to hosting the season-opening event at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. While he won't get to see much of the race due to working it, he will be able to put in a large number of runners and let them separate themselves.

"I think we're just short of 100 runners," said Herath. "We have lots of boys numbers and a lot of depth. We probably have 16 guys shooting for varsity spots. I have no idea where we are going to end up. They sure look good in practice. They work hard, but usually there is a separation and these guys are our next tier. But this year we have a big group of guys that are running together and running fast times. It will be interesting to see, when we get into races, how it all sorts itself out."

Herath said if it was a normal meet he would struggle separating the top seven guys for varsity and the next group for junior varsity. At the Run for the Melon, all high school boys will run together and then get separated afterward to determine team scores.

There are a few runners, however, who are leading the pack.

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Matt Cherne is coming off an injury plagued junior season of cross country, but did enjoy a solid track and field season. Herath said had injuries not crept on Cherne he would have been a top runner last year.

Cherne did run in the Central Lakes Conference meet and posted a 36th-place time of 18:34.7.

"Matt was really one of our top runners and then had some thyroid issues at the end of the season and couldn't finish the season," Herath said. "That's all been resolved and he had a great track season. He ended up fifth in the two mile at the section meet. He really had a great track season and he is 100 percent healthy. He'll really be our leader this year.

"He set his goals pretty high and he put on over 400 miles for the summer. He's looked very good."

Robb Pike is the lone returning runner from the Section 8-2A meet. He placed 61st with a time of 18:06.45. Pike ran a 18:23.8 in the conference meet to place 34th.

Pike is coming off one of the best Nordic skiing seasons in program history and Herath sees a level of confidence from Pike that he likes.

"He's a summer baseball guy and did a lot of things like Boys State so he didn't get a ton of miles in, or quite as much training as much as last summer, but he rounds into shape pretty quickly," said Herath. "He's looking better and better with each practice and he'll be just like was last year, a good contributor. He'll be a big factor."

Seniors Travis Goeden and Zach Herrlich are the other two captains on the Warriors' roster.

"Travis Goeden has looked really good," said Herath. "He spent time on our varsity last year, too. David Kelm has really improved. He also had a great track season last season and hopefully he'll continue on from that success. There are guys there that I think will separate themselves out, but right now it's a bunch of boys that are really working hard trying to earn varsity spots.

"Zach is another one who dropped almost 30 seconds off of his mile time in track last year. He had a really fantastic summer of training. He was a JV guy for us last year, but he's worked himself into shape to be a varsity contender."

Warriors roster

Seniors: Mac Brink, Matt Cherne, Travis Goeden, Zach Herrlich, Claude Lee, Sam Nesheim, Gabe Raguse, Will Schultz

Juniors: Mike Bylander, Evan Heittola, David Kelm, Pat Kennedy, Gunnar Niemeyer, Charlie Rude, Eric Rude, Andrew Wasniewski, Josiah Wood

Sophomores: Garrett Goeden, Alex Host, Joseph Moraghan, Parker Murphy, Maxim Osborne, Ben Renner, Sam Ruhl, Evan Storbakken, Hunter Turcotte

Freshmen: Jacob Aanes, Noah Spitzley, AJ Thompson

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