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Cross Country: Warrior girls advance to state, Cherne also qualifies

LITTLE FALLS--The Brainerd girls team is returning to state for the first time since 2010 following a second-place finish in Thursday's Section 8-2A meet at Little Falls Golf Course while Matt Cherne became the first Warrior boy to advance since ...

Brainerd’s Meritt Miller crosses the finish line with a time of 19:05.88 during the Section 8-2A meet Thursday at the Little Falls Golf Course. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery
Brainerd’s Meritt Miller crosses the finish line with a time of 19:05.88 during the Section 8-2A meet Thursday at the Little Falls Golf Course. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch - Gallery

LITTLE FALLS-The Brainerd girls team is returning to state for the first time since 2010 following a second-place finish in Thursday's Section 8-2A meet at Little Falls Golf Course while Matt Cherne became the first Warrior boy to advance since 2009.

Meritt Miller paced the Brainerd girls with a 10th-place time of 19:05.88.

Cherne's time of 16:36.82 was good for 11th leading the Warrior boys to ninth in a field of 16 teams.

Brainerd's girls finished with 101 points while champion Willmar scored 21. Willmar placed all five of its scoring runners in the top nine led by individual champion Sophie Schmitz.

"It didn't take a rocket scientist to know that Willmar was going to win," said Brainerd coach Dave Herath. "They were runner-up at state last year and are ranked seventh in the nation this year and that's probably a legitimate ranking."

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Monticello finished third and Becker fourth.

"Monticello and Becker have been very close to us all season and we knew it would be a contest with them for second," Herath said.

Following Miller were Emily Rugloski (18th), Liliana Schaeffer (22nd), Grace Erholtz (23rd), Molly Selisker (28th), Ali Crochet (29th) and Elizabeth Selisker (83rd).

"I was about 400 meters before the finish and when they came by me, there was no doubt that we would be second, and that makes it a little easier to be a coach. You don't have to chew your nails as much," said Herath.

"Hopefully, every year the goal is get to state," Herath added. "Realistically, probably after the second meet, we looked at our girls and thought if they kept working like they were, we would have a shot. They certainly jelled and peaked at the right time."

Crossing the line behind Cherne were Maxim Osborne (39th), Travis Goeden (49th), Zach Herrlich (52nd), David Kelm (53rd), Mac Brink (55th) and Evan Storbakken (89th).

"Matt had a great race, his best time time ever," said Herath, "and like the girls, there was never any doubt that he would make it. The rest of our guys ran awesome, but we are in such a tough section. Quite a few guys are coming back and we hope to improve on their finish next year."

Herath was quick to praise the Warrior senior captains.

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"Meritt and Ali (Crochet), our sixth girl today, have done a fantastic job as our senior leaders," he said. "Our senior captains for the boys (Cherne, Goeden, Herrlich and Brink) all ran really great times today and have been solid leaders all year and have had great careers."

Moore, Zupko qualify for Little Falls

Tyler Moore of Little Falls, ranked ninth in Class 2A, out-ran the field to win the boys title with a time of 16:04.83. Teammate Hunter Zupko finished sixth to also qualify for the state meet Nov. 5 at St. Olaf College.

Moore, a senior, will make his third trip to state. He finished 18th last year. Zupko, a junior, will make his first state appearance.

"Tyler's a smart student and a very smart runner," said Little Falls head coach Jeff Massmann. "I think he thought going in that he could run it a couple of different ways and still be successful. He could have gone out hard, but chose to stick with the pack and it dwindled down to a couple (runners) at the end.

"Hunter's really been a strong runner since he was in eighth grade and we had hopes for him to get to state his freshman and sophomore years. He knew that he could run from up front as well and we're pleased with his sixth place."

The Flyer boys finished sixth and the Little Falls girls were 16th.

The top two teams and the top eight individuals not on those teams advance.

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Boys results

Team scores: 1-(tie) Bemidji 81, Sartell 81, 3-Detroit Lakes 128, 4-Willmar 129, 5-Alexandria 138, 6-Little Falls 153, 7-Moorhead 178, 8-Rocori 188, 9-Brainerd 204, 10-St. Cloud Apollo 217, 11-St. Cloud Tech 330, 12-Becker 348, 13-Sauk Rapids-Rice 362, 14-Monticello 378, 15-Fergus Falls 414, 16-Thief River Falls 450.

Individual winner: Tyler Moore (Little Falls) 16:04.83

Brainerd results: 11-Matt Cherne 16:36.82, 39-Maxim Osborne 17:23.46, 49-Travis Goeden 17:42.28, 52-Zach Herrlich 17:47.98, 53-David Kelm 17:48.33, 55-Max Brink 17:49.9, 89-Evan Storbakken 18:47.71

Little Falls results: 1-Moore 16:04.83, 6-Hunter Zupko 16:26.55, 43-Nolan Zimny 17:33.33, 46-Tyler Schlattman 17:39.58, 57-Daniel Bartkowitz 17:52.71, 62-Drew Peterson 17:57.78, 74-Jonah Ploof 18:17.26

Girls results

Team scores: 1-Willmar 21, 2-Brainerd 101, 3-Monticello 125, 4-Becker 147, 5-Alexandria 166, 6-Sartell 170, 7-Moorhead 174, 8-Bemidji 220, 9-Rocori 232, 10-St. Cloud Tech 262, 11-Thief River Falls 330, 12-St. Cloud Apollo 346, 13-Detroit Lakes 351, 14-Fergus Falls 364, 15-Sauk Rapids-Rice 372, 16-Little Falls 466.

Individual winner: Sophie Schmitz (Willmar) 18:27.76

Brainerd results: 10-Meritt Miller 19:05.88, 18-Emily Rugloski 19:37.38, 22-Liliana Schaeffer 19:48.94, 23-Grace Erholtz 19:50.71, 28-Molly Selisker 20:09.21, 29-Ali Crochet 20:09.96, 83-Elizabeth Selisker 22:21.94

Little Falls results: 75-Kendal Hendrickson 21:59.42, 95-Kali Schirmers 23:00.56, 97-Claire Zack 23:07.96, 98-Madison Marquette 23:10.31, 101-Nica Gammon-Deering 23:33.71, 102-Molly Lange 23:50.96, 104-Megan Borash 24:28.71

Next: Class 2A state meet, St. Olaf College, Northfield, Class 2A boys 1 p.m. Nov. 5, Class 2A girls 2 p.m. Nov. 5.

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