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State Cross Country: Miller, Moore each earn all-state

Class 2A cross country Male highlight: Tyler Moore finishes all-state Female highlight: Meritt Miller finishes all-state Team: Warrior girls place seventh NORTHFIELD--What a good day to be happy. The Brainerd Warriors girls, led by all-state fini...

Tyler Moore (left) of the Little Falls Flyers separates from the pack during the Class 2A state cross country meet Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The senior earned all-state honors by placing 15th. Bill Johnson/Picture Day Pro
Tyler Moore (left) of the Little Falls Flyers separates from the pack during the Class 2A state cross country meet Saturday at St. Olaf College in Northfield. The senior earned all-state honors by placing 15th. Bill Johnson/Picture Day Pro

Class 2A cross country

Male highlight: Tyler Moore finishes all-state

Female highlight: Meritt Miller finishes all-state

Team: Warrior girls place seventh

NORTHFIELD-What a good day to be happy.

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The Brainerd Warriors girls, led by all-state finisher Meritt Miller, placed seventh in Saturday's Class 2A state girls meet at St. Olaf College, which was painted with warm, sunny fall weather.

Brainerd expected to finish between 9th or 11th, but hoped for better. Their hopes were realized as Miller raced to a 16th-place 19.00.3 in her second state run.

First-year runner Emily Rugloski ran to a 53rd-place time of 19:47 with veteran Ali Crochet posting a 20:04.3 to finish 69th.

"We didn't really know how we would stack up because it's not like track where times are times, but we figured if we absolutely ran amazingly, amazingly well, the best we could get was sixth," said Warrior head coach Dave Herath. "We figured running normal we would be in that nine, 10 or 11 range. So to be seventh, we were very, very happy with that place. And just the way the girls competed. It was almost 80 degrees by the time they ran. It didn't seem to really impact us."

Liliana Schraeffer, a seventh-grader, was Brainerd's fourth runner in 89th place and Grace Erholtz rounded out Brainerd's scoring with her 96th-place 20:26.8.

Miller opened with a fast first mile and was in ninth place heading into mile No. 2.

Last year, Miller ran a 74th-place 19:36.3. Last week, she placed 10th in the Section 8-2A meet, so even Herath was surprised by Miller's jump to 16th.

"There was only three girls that beat her from our section, three Willmar girls, and she was right behind two of them. She said at the section meet she was a little nervous because she just wanted the team to do well. We visited about, getting over that, and now just have fun and race. She did that. She was flying."

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The top 25 runners earn all-state honors,

"All of the girls looked like they belonged," Herath said. "The second time we saw Emily, she looked over and had a huge smile on her face. I knew right then she was going to have a great race. She was right up there at that time and stayed in the top 50 until the very end and a couple of girls got her at the end. She finished 52nd and that's amazing when you consider Meritt was 74th last year.

"And then Ali had the race of a lifetime for her. They just put it all together."

Class 2A boys

Last year, Tyler Moore, was ecstatic with his race execution.

This year, the Little Falls Flyers senior was just happy he finished.

Moore scored his second straight all-state finish as he placed 15th with a time of 16:16.6. His place was three spots better than last year, but the Section 8-2A champion was shooting for even better.

"Looking back on it, right after the race I wasn't nearly as happy as I was last year because I wanted to place a little bit higher than that," Moore said. "In hindsight, with the way the race went, I'm kind of happy that I even finished. Right after 2 miles coming into the finish I didn't know I was going to be able to finish or not. I actually made up a lot of ground. I was as far back as like 24th place and I ended up getting to 15th place. I'm happy that I gutted it out and finished."

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Moore said his body felt like it as going into panic mood. His breathing was labored and his heart rate felt high. He said he just needed to calm down and focus on relaxing to make it through.

One reason may have been the start. Moore was expecting another fast start like last year. He went out in 5:11, 11 seconds slower than last year, but still led the first mile.

"It definitely was surprising because I didn't expect to be leading the first mile of that race," Moore said. "When I went out in what I thought was a comfortable pace and I ended up being in first place for most of it. That was weird and I didn't understand why it went out so slow. But as soon as everyone started moving past after the first mile, the heat started to hit me, then I realized that I probably should not have gone out first because the heat really affect some people and it did affect a lot of people."

Moore's game plan didn't pan out and the veteran had to adjust. Moore ran a 10:20 2 mile before finishing four seconds out of the top 10.

"I wish I could have ended on a little bit of a higher top 10 finish, but I can't believe it is over. My cross country career as a Flyer is over. Looking back at so many races and so many memories and so many good teammates. I had a great time in my high school career. There was definitely some ups and some downs, but looking back on it, I'm super glad I joined cross country and put the work into it because it was fun and it paid off ultimately."

One of those good teammates was Hunter Zupko. The junior finished 81st in his first state appearance.

Brainerd's Matt Cherne ran a 16:44.9 in his first state appearance. The senior placed 50th, which was right where Herath expected he would land.

"Matt was right where we thought he would be," said Herath. "He was the one who said the heat really got to him. He looked strong the whole way. He was 50th out of 178. That first year can be a little overwhelming, but Matt was always in that top pack and when we saw him he was in the 30 range.

"He made our all-time top 10 list at the state meet so that's pretty cool to go out with that. His quote to me after, I said I bet you can't wait for track season to start, and he replied 'track season starts now.'"

Boys results

Team scores: 1-Wayzata 38, 2-Edina 91, 3-Maple Grove 128, 4-Mounds View 156, 5-Bemidji 164, 6-Stillwater 165, 7-Eagan 202, 8-Cloquet 227, 9-Sartell 240, 10-Chanhassen 253, 11-Red Wing 262, 12-Rosemount 318, 13-Forest Lake 328, 14-Buffalo 330, 15-Northfield 346, 16-White Bear Lake 407

Individual winner: Patrick Roos (Edina) 15:36.4

Brainerd results: 50-Matt Cherne 16:44.9

Little Falls results: 15-Tyler Moore 16:16.6, 81-Hunter Zupko 17:10.9

Girls results

Team scores: 1-Edina 45, 2-Willmar 58, 3-Minnetonka 105, 4-Marshall 122, 5-Shakopee 137, 6-Forest Lake 169, 7-Brainerd 192, 8-St. MIchael-Albertville 207, 9-Lakeville South 243, 10-Red Wing 260, 11-Henry Sibley 294, 12-White Bear Lake 316, 13-Centennial 335, 14-Roseville 341, 15-Andover 374, 16-Bloomington Jefferson 392

Individual winner: Anna Fenske (Farmington) 17:41.5

Brainerd results: 16-Meritt Miller 19:00.3, 54-Emily Rugloski 19:47.0, 69-Ali Crochet 20:04.3, 89-Liliana Schraeffer 20:19.6, 96-Grace Erholtz 20:26.8, 107-Molly Selisker 20:35.0, 173-Elizabeth-Selisker 22:36.4

Brainerd’s Meritt Miller runs in Saturday’s Class 2A state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield where she finished 16th with a time of 19:00.3 to lead the Warrior girls team to seventh. Bill Johnson/Picture Day Pro
Brainerd’s Meritt Miller runs in Saturday’s Class 2A state cross country meet at St. Olaf College in Northfield where she finished 16th with a time of 19:00.3 to lead the Warrior girls team to seventh. Bill Johnson/Picture Day Pro

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