Boys Track and Field: A large state presence the goal for Warrior boys

Brainerd returns three state meet competitors and a host of other athletes who have state on the brain this spring. One state returner is senior hurdler Zach Henke, who placed sixth in the Class 2A state 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.48. He...



Brainerd returns three state meet competitors and a host of other athletes who have state on the brain this spring.

One state returner is senior hurdler Zach Henke, who placed sixth in the Class 2A state 300-meter hurdles with a time of 39.48. Henke posted the fastest 110 hurdles prelim time in the section meet last year, but fell to fifth in the finals and missed state by .10 seconds.

" He is probably one of our top sprinters," Brainerd head coach Rod Reuer said. "If he wasn't a hurdler, he would be one of our top sprinters and that's what makes him a good hurdler. You combine his hurdling technique, which is very good, along with the foot speed that he brings, that's why he's the type of hurdler that he is.

"A lot of times you get guys that go to hurdles because they're not quite fast enough to be your 100 and 200 guys. He's unique in that way, he is one of the fastest guys on our team so he was a good relay guy, too."


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Boys track & field

  • Boys head coach: Rod Reuer, 36th year (3 years head coach at Page, N.D., 1 year head coach at Napoleon, N.D., 20 years head coach at Brainerd, 8 years assistant at Brainerd, 4 years Brainerd junior high coach)
  • Boys 2018 finish: Third in CLC, fourth in Section 8-3A True Team, third in Section 8-2A
  • Assistant coaches: Kris Smith (long and triple jumps), Dave Herath (middle distance), Ashley Rutman (distance), Robb Kolodziej (pole vault), Chet Stevenson (shot put, discus), Landon Brainerd (high jump, horizontal jumps), Kelsi Brusehaver (hurdles, sprints), Howie Jacobs (hurdles), Mike Langer (throwers)

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Also returning from that section meet in hurdles is junior Jack Ingram, who placed 20th in the 110s and 12th in the 300s.

Ethan Hebert finished fifth with a 13-foot-6 effort in the state finals. He improved his section height of 13-feet, which landed him second.

For Hebert, who placed second in the Central Lakes Conference meet, it was his second straight state trip.

"He's a student of the event," Reuer said. "He's 100 percent in. He will do anything he needs to do to become a better pole vaulter.

"He's got a shot to be a school record holder. He went 13-6 last year and the record is 13-8. He's trying to get to that 14-foot mark, which would be great for him."


Hebert also competed in the section long jump, where he placed 25th, and was on the 4x200 relay.

Connor Powers advanced to state in the high jump with a leap of 6-0 to finish second in the section meet. The then sophomore did not place at state.

"He had a really good section meet," Reuer said. "It wasn't that it was a super high jump, but it was good enough to get him to state. That was a good experience for him.

"He's going to lead the way in all three of our jumps. He's kind of our jump expert. I'm trying to convince him to be a relay guy as well. He's a very smooth runner. We have to get one running event out of him."

Sophomore Max Lelwica was 11th in sections after clearing 5-6.

Powers also finished ninth in the triple jump and Lelwica was 19th in the section meet. Anthony Menghini placed 25th. In the conference meet, Powers was eighth, Lelwica 11th and Menghini 12th.

Senior Hunter Turcotte was .31 seconds away from advancing to state in the 400 dash. He ran a third-place 50.62 in the section finals after winning the conference title in 51.63.

"He's really focused on doing well in the 400," Reuer said. "He's probably one of the guttiest kids we've ever had here. He will not back down from anything. He's very coachable. He's had a good offseason with the strength training and conditioning. He's really focused on getting to state."


Ben Renner was second in the 400 at conferences. He didn't run that at sections, but instead qualified for the section finals in the 200 dash. He finished seventh.

"Ben is a unique guy," Reuer said. "Typically, most short sprinters want nothing to do with running the long distance stuff. We often wonder how he's able to do cross country running and Nordic skiing and then come to track and he's a sprinter. He's kind of that mid-distance type guy. I think if he specifically trained to be a short sprinter he would maybe be a better short sprinter. But if he really trained to be a 400, 800 type guy, specifically, he could probably run that as well.

"He really does help us because he can run anything from 100 to 400. We can plug him into any of the relays. I know in the past, that's all he's done."

Renner, Turcotte and Henke teammed with the now graduated Jeff Spieker to win the conference title in the 4x400 relay. The same foursome was third in the section.

"The combination of Ben and Henke and Hunter, we're just looking for that fourth guy and we feel like we can put together a pretty respectable 4x4 this year," Reuer said. "One that should have state aspirations."

Brainerd's Dalton Hamre was seventh in the conference 100 dash and Brett Besenfelder ran the 100 dash at sections.

Maxim Osborne came on late last season to place 10th in the 800 run at sections and was 13th in the 1600.

"Max really finished strong in the 800," Reuer said. "He dropped big time. I think he's always looked at himself as being a long distance guy, but I've always envisioned him being more of a 400, 800, 1600 type runner. I think he's kind of gravitated toward that a little bit. We're hoping he leads the way in that distance range. And he might be a 4x400 guy. We don't know yet."

Brett Hague was seventh in the section shot put and Nate Bessingpass was 21st. Hague was sixth in the conference followed by Bessingpass in 12th. Hauge threw the discus to a 10th-place finish in the conference meet. During sections, Garret Gardiepy was 16th and junior Luke Wilhelm was 21st.

"We've got a pretty good crew coming back there," Reuer said. "They guys will have to step up from where they were last year. Brett Hauge will lead the way there. We also have Garret Gardiepy coming back along with Nate Bessingpass and Luke Wilhelm. Jon Berry came out for the first time last year and had a nice first season hopefully he can rise up another level or so. Carter Sobania is a thrower, Isaac Chapuis as well. A lot of the offensive linemen from football that cross over and throw for us as well."

Last season, the Warriors were third in both the conference and section and placed fourth in the Section 8-3A True Team meet. Reuer will be looking to maintain or improve those positions this season along with sending a large caravan of athletes to the state meet.

"I would say we have half a dozen kids that are pretty high quality track athletes," Reuer said. "Lots of conference and section place winners coming back. It's a nice group to start with. Obviously, in any sport if you have returning seniors that are focused and ready to compete it's always a plus.

"We have a pretty good core of guys that are going to be able to contribute one way or another."


Warrior roster

Senior: Nate Bessingpass, Mark Boran, Isaac Chappuis, Jaret Embertson, Calvin Foss, Garret Gardiepy, Brett Hague, Ethan Hebert, Zach Henke, Jason Jennette, Maxim Osborne, Ben Renner, Carter sobania, Evan Storbakken, Hunter Turcotte

Junior: Jacob Aanes, Jon Berry, Brett Besenfelder, Chris Boucher, Atlie Danielson, Bobby Erickson, Nick Hagemann, Dalton Hamre, Izaac Herrlich, Jack Ingram, Cruz Lemmerhirt, Ryan Miller, Donald Neadeau, Sean Paulus, Nick Porisch, Connor Powers, Nate Quast, Zach Ruggles, A.J.Thompson, Se'vien Thompson-Fly, Teddy Wadsten, Luke Wilhelm, Justin Youngquist

Sophomore: Briston Domino, Gus Duininck, Joe Figiluzzi, Simon Foss, Forrest Gibson, Ethan Klisch, Max Lelwica, Joe Lyonais, Jaiden McClanahan, Anthony Menghini, Max Olson, Gabriel Qualley, Nathan Richards, Nick Smith, Aaron Stark, Marcus Yliniemi

Freshmen: Andrew Albright, Caelan Barnett, Gage Borders, Braden Capelle, Zach Capistrant, Jonas Ewald, Jack Goodwin, Caden Jager, Delon Kosloski, Michael Kuehn, Trent Norlin, Michael Olson, Henry Stephens, Gabe Wagner



Warrior schedule

Saturday, March 30, at St. John's University 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, April 6, in Central Lakes Conference meet at St. John's University 9 a.m.

April 12, Warrior Invite at Brainerd 4 p.m.

April 18, at Sartell invite 4 p.m.

April 23, Triangular at Brainerd 4 p.m.

April 26, Hamline Elite Meet at Hamline University 5:30 p.m.

April 30, at Alexandria Invite 5:30 p.m.

May 3, at Wayzata Invite 3:30 p.m.

May 7, Section 8-3A True Team at St. Michael-Albertville 2 p.m.

May 14, at Rocori Invite 4 p.m.

May 17, State True Team at Stillwater 4 p.m.

May 21, Central Lakes Conference Championship at Brainerd 3 p.m.

May 29, Section 8-2A meet at Fergus Falls 3 p.m.

June 1, Section 8-2A meet at Willmar

June 7-8, State meet at Hamline University

Covering the Brainerd lakes area sports scene for the past 23 years.
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