What started as a way to lose weight, turned into a trip to the first-ever Class 3A state cross-country meet.

Brainerd Warrior senior Adam Cady didn’t start running until his freshman year of high school. His motivation was to shave pounds off of a 235-pound frame. It wasn’t until the pounds disappeared that he decided to join track and field. After finding enjoyment in that sport, Cady joined cross-country.

Cady went from a chubby kid to the No. 2 runner on Brainerd’s boys’ team that placed 15th Saturday, Nov. 6, in the Class 3A State Meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield.

State Cross-Country: Ruhl leads Brainerd boys to 15th at state

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“It was amazing,” Cady said. “We set our goals right away at the beginning of the season and it was obviously to make it to state. We knew it was going to be close so it was just a blessing to be there. We enjoyed taking it all in. It was an amazing experience just to be part of a race that you’re going against the best teams in the state. It was awesome.”

It was Cady’s first state experience. He placed 107th in a time of 17:13.98. He was the second Warrior to cross the finish line behind teammate Thomas Ruhl.

“If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t have much of a plan,” Cady said. “We had run the course the day before and we really were just having fun with it and enjoying the good time that we earned. I knew it was going to be fast because we were going against the fastest kids in the state. I knew I wanted to go out in a 5:15 mile and hopefully be at a 10:50 two-mile, which I was. I was hoping to go sub 17 and I missed that by 14 seconds. Regardless, I’m really happy with how it went and I couldn’t have asked for a more fun race, honestly.”

“I’m just really proud of this team. There could not have been a harder working team in Brainerd history. We really worked hard to get to the state meet.”

— Adam Cady

In the Section 8-3A meet Oct. 28 at Fox Hollow Golf Club in St. Michael, Cady posted a 12th-place time of 17:31.5 to help Brainerd to 69 team points, which trailed only Buffalo and topped third-place Bemidji by seven points.

The second-place finish helped Brainerd advance to its seventh state appearance and first since 2007.

Cross-Country: Warriors run their way to state

“It was such a good group and we had to go through so much as a team,” Cady said. “I got COVID. Thomas got really sick at one point. Baden (Capelle) got injured. Michael (Howe) missed a race. We needed people to step up and we made it through so much adversity as a team. Also just adapting to the new 3A class that we got bumped up to. Obviously, it’s going to be more competitive and it was going to make it harder for us to make it to state as a team.

“I’m just really proud of this team. There could not have been a harder working team in Brainerd history. We really worked hard to get to the state meet.”

Brainerd head coach Dave Herath agreed Cady and the Warriors were a hard-working team. He couldn’t say if they were the hardest working team, but he did appreciate Cady’s leadership.

Cross-country: Warriors looking outsmart the Class 3A field

“For a guy in only his second year on the team, I would say his personality is why he was such a good leader,” Warriors head coach Dave Herath said. “He has a welcoming personality. He’s very articulate. He likes being around people. He includes everyone. He’s just a real deal as far as helping us as a team leader.

“The way we saw it as a team, it’s great to have a top runner, but it’s better to have a couple. Adam fit that role. He understood what his job was and he did it very successfully. For our next pack of runners, they really used Adam because he was so consistent, as their goal. They all wanted to get closer to Adam and in the end, they were all kind of running together. That was a good thing because Adam wasn’t slowing down.”

Cady’s 12th-place 17:28.3 Oct. 19 at River Oaks Golf Club in Cold Spring helped the Warriors win the Central Lakes Conference championship for the first time since 2007. Brainerd beat runner-up Sartell by 41 points.

Cross-Country: Warrior boys 1st in CLC Championship

The Brainerd boys won the St. Cloud Tech Granite Invite Oct. 12. Cady finished seventh in 17:20.3 to help Brainerd clear the field by 14 points.

“He likes to run,” Herath said. “He put in a ton of miles. He was for sure our fittest boy runner this fall. He has just really blossomed to be running at state and running a (personal record) at state is a huge deal.”

Cady said he’s honored to be the first Brainerd team to ever compete in the Class 3A meet and he’s most proud they did it in the very first chance they could.

“We were a really special team and I knew I had to be in the place I needed to be in for each race,” Cady said. “Thomas really took that lead role early on and he really stepped up there, but I knew that I could be right behind him each time just trying to get us as few points as possible. I think all my offseason training really came into play and my ability to endure through the pain. When I got tired, I really just pushed through and ran for my team rather than for myself. I just always wanted to be there for my team.”

In the largest event Brainerd competed in, the Roy Griak Invite at the University of Minnesota, Cady ran a 33rd-place time of 17:51.9. The returning letterwinner opened the season by placing third in the Run for the Melon Invite at Forestview Middle School. He ran a 17:34.1 as the top Warrior and helped Brainerd to the team title.

Boys Cross-Country: Warriors land 4 in top 15 to win Melon

“I know I keep saying this, but it was just a huge blessing,” Cady said. “It’s been my goal to make state ever since I was a freshman. Going into my freshman year I weighed 235 pounds so to say I’m a state cross-country athlete my senior year. I couldn’t ask for anything more. God is good. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that. It was a gratifying experience and just four years of hard work paying off.”

JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at 855-5856 or jeremy.millsop@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jeremymillsop.

Other notable performances

Thomas Ruhl, boys cross-country, placed 29th in the Class 3A state meet in 16:17.27.

Braden Capelle, boys cross-country, placed 127th in the Class 3A state meet in 17:30.54.

Bennet Capelle, boys cross-country, placed 128th in the Class 3A state meet in 17:30.54.

Michael Howe, boys cross-country, placed 136th in the Class 3A state meet in 17:37.61.

Nolan Thiesse, boys cross-country, placed 143rd in the Class 3A state meet in 17:48.81.

Ben Stadum, boys cross-country, placed 158th in the Class 3A state meet in 18:44.63.

Madi Miller, girls cross-country, placed 68th in the Class 3A state meet in 19:53.68.

Adam Cady

Adam Cady
Adam Cady

Sport: Cross-country

Year: Senior

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-11 3/4

Career highlight: State meet

Other sports: Nordic skiing, track and field

Grade-point average: 3.917

Favorite class: AP Literature

Favorite food: Sushi

Favorite movie: “Forrest Gump”

Favorite website or app: Strava

Favorite restaurant: Benihana

Future plans: Attend college, undecided on where, major in psychology

Favorite athlete: Galen Rupp, American long-distance runner

Parents: Michael and Rachel Cady