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Cross Country: Warriors Rugloski repeats as Melon champ

BAXTER--When asked what it felt like to be a two-time Run for the Melon champion, Emily Rugloski's face lit up bright. "I kind of liked it," she said with a sneaky giggle. "I'm not going to lie. It feels great." As it should for the Brainerd Warr...

Brainerd Warrior Emily Rugloski defends her girls title as she crosses the finish line Friday in the Run for Your Melon cross country meet at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch Gallery
Brainerd Warrior Emily Rugloski defends her girls title as she crosses the finish line Friday in the Run for Your Melon cross country meet at Forestview Middle School in Baxter. Steve Kohls/ Brainerd Dispatch Gallery

 

BAXTER-When asked what it felt like to be a two-time Run for the Melon champion, Emily Rugloski's face lit up bright.

"I kind of liked it," she said with a sneaky giggle. "I'm not going to lie. It feels great."

As it should for the Brainerd Warriors senior, who won the race last year in 20:15.63. This year, Rugloski ran a bit slower with a 20:31.9, but she led the entire way.

"She took the lead really from the start and I thought ran a very comfortable race," said Warrior head coach Dave Herath. "I don't think she ran outside of where she has been running in practice. She just took charge and continued to build the lead. I think at the mile mark she was three or four seconds ahead of Molly (Selisker) and then by the end she was 30 seconds ahead of everyone. It was a very solid race for her."

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Run for the Melon

  • Individual highlight: Brainerd's Emily Rugloski defends her title
  • Team highlight: Warriors place five in the top 15 to win title
  • Next: Little Falls, Pillager, at Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational 4:30 p.m. Tuesday; Pequot Lakes hosts Patriot Invite 4:30 p.m. Thursday

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Herath said Rugloski had been dealing with shin splints, but the two have been working on her form and he said she maintained good form all the way through the race.

Rugloski admitted she felt pressure to defend her title as everyone told her she had to. Her approach was to just go out, help the team and have fun.

"I just wanted to run and have fun," she said. "I wanted my team to do well overall and just run together and do the best that we can. For it being our first event, I just wanted to kick off the season well."

It would have been hard to improve as Brainerd placed five girls in the top 15 to win the event. Behind Rugloski was Molly Selisker in fourth with a 21:33. Junior Grace Erholtz finished seventh and varsity rookie Payton Lillo, an eighth-grader, finished ninth.

"She was a very good junior high runner last spring on the track team and has been working with us since the start of the fall," Herath said. "She had a very nice race for her first varsity experience."

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Elizabeth Selisker placed 12th with Carson Blegen in 24th and Elle Juranek 31st.

"Molly ran very nice," Herath said. "She and Grace both ran very good races. I was very happy with them. Molly got a little tired there at the end. She might have been too aggressive at the start, but that's OK. I'll take that.

"And then Eli Selisker had a nice first race. I think she dropped a minute off her time from last year. That's a great start for her."

A great start working toward another great finish. Last year, Brainerd placed seventh in the Class 2A state meet. A return trip is on all of their minds.

"It's like our main goal that we're working toward," Rugloski said. "It gives us a purpose to keep running. We want to go back there so bad. That's the main goal for the entire season."

The Little Falls Flyers finished sixth and were led by Kali Schirmers, who finished in 20th. Savea Zimmerman-Cameron ran in 26th place

Crosby-Ironton's Arianna LeMieur ran a 15th-place 22:54.3 to pace the Rangers to seventh. Annie Goodwin was 27th for C-I.

Pillager placed eighth.

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Girls results

Team scores: 1-Brainerd 33, 2-Alexandria 38, 3-Pine City 91, 4-Albany 106, 5-Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin 133, 6-Little Falls 140, 7-Crosby-Ironton 184, 8-Pillager 244

Individual winner: Emily Rugloski 20:31.9

Brainerd results: 4-Molly Selisker 21:33.0, 7-Grace Erholtz 21:46.1, 9-Payton Lillo 22:24.9, 12-Elizabeth Selisker 22:45.4, 24-Carson Blegen, 31-Elle Juranek 24:26.9

Crosby-Ironton results: 15-Arianna LeMieur 22:54.3, 27-Annie Goodwin 24:09.1, 44-Anna Bostrom 25:56.6, 51-Ella Dwyer 28:31.6, 52-Naomi Ringhand 28:44.1

Little Falls results: Kali Schirmers 23:28.7, 22-Abby Borash 23:43.1, 26-Savea Zimmerman-Cameron 24:02.5, 32-Dani Schirmers 24:28.3, 40-Megan Borash 25:42.7, 42-Bethany Schilling 25:50.9, 46-Adrienne Kresha 26:18.3

Pequot Lakes results: 41-Desera Engholm 25:49.9, 50-Ema Brinkman 28:22.6, 54-Elena Grove 31:18.1

Pillager results: 47-Emma Hardy 26:36.4, 48-Noelle Colsen 26:56.1, 49-Rachel Sheehan 28:09.6, 53-Makayla Loftis 30:45.1, 55-Ally Smith 31:59.0, 56-Tang Yibbenya 34:37.6, 57-Samantha Bennett 35:12.9

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