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Track and Field: Youthful Warrior contingent heading to state

They are not seeded higher than 10th in their respective events, but five Brainerd Warrior underclassmen hope to make the most of their first trips to the Class 2A state meet this weekend.

Brainerd’s Lili Charlier throws the discus during a regular season meet. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)
Brainerd’s Lili Charlier throws the discus during a regular season meet. (Kelly Humphrey, Brainerd Dispatch)

They are not seeded higher than 10th in their respective events, but five Brainerd Warrior underclassmen hope to make the most of their first trips to the Class 2A state meet this weekend.

Lili Charlier, Cami Harmer, Jeff Spieker, Zach Henke and Ethan Hebert realize there's no guarantee they will qualify again in their careers so they're not taking anything for granted this year. Charlier did compete in the Virginia state meet last year before moving to Brainerd. The other four Warriors are state rookies.

Charlier will throw the discus, Harmer and Hebert will pole vault and Spieker and Henke will run hurdles.

"I've always found in my experience that the first time down there is an eye-opening experience," Warrior boys head coach Rod Reuer said. "If you have an opportunity to go back a second time, typically the results are a little bit better.

"We hope they go there and have the best performances of their life and if it's good enough to make the finals great, they get to go another day and we'll see what happens. If not, then we're happy with what they've done.

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"It's a great feat to get there. To perform at the state meet and have a personal best at the state meet that's all we ever ask from a kid-give us your best performance and we'll take that."

Charlier threw the discus 127 feet, 2 inches, at the section meet.

"One of her goals is to make finals," Warrior girls head coach Howie Jacobs said of Charlier. "She would be the first one to tell you discus isn't her favorite event, but she has a chance to place at the state meet. We're feeling pretty good about her chances to make finals. She's excited to compete and see how it goes."

Harmer is seeded 14th in girls pole vault.

"It's the pole vault and anything can happen," Jacobs said. "Her first goal is to make opening height and go from there. If she can do that, she has a good chance to make the top nine. We want her to have a good experience at state and realize that she belongs with the best in the state."

Hebert is seeded 12th in boys pole vault. Reuer said Hebert "came out of nowhere" and suffered a black eye on his way to winning the section title.

"You don't see a sophomore win a section in pole vault," Reuer said. "Coach (Robb) Kolodziej has worked with him. He's been patient. They've gone through the progressions and it started to come together at the end of the season. He went from an 11-foot vaulter to 12-10 in a matter of a week and a half.

"He overcame some adversity at sections. He kneed himself in the face twice and broke a pole. He jumped on another pole and continued clean through the competition until he went out at 13-4. I admire that-a kid knocks himself in the cheek and knocks himself in the teeth with his knee coming down, then breaks a pole. Typically, by that point, most kids would say 'I'm done."

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Spieker is seeded 17th in the 300 hurdles and 18th in the 110s. Henke is seeded 17th in the 110s.

"Typically, in our section, it's not uncommon we end up with lower seeds," Reuer said of hurdles, "but you never know what can happen at the state meet. Some kids rise to perform like they never have before. You also see veteran returners who maybe don't do so well down there. Especially in hurdle races, a returner or a state champion that returns could hit a hurdle or two that could completely throw his race off and it's over."

Flyers advance three

Nick Maslowski of Little Falls may have the best shot at earning Class 2A all-state distinction of any athlete from the area's state contingent. In his second trip to state, the senior is seeded seventh in shot put.

"This is Nick's first year as a rotational shot putter," Flyer boys head coach Dean Baumgarten said. "He is definitely good for more than he is seeded at. Nick wants to make the podium this year."

Senior Tyler Moore, who's headed to the University of Mississippi next year, will make his fourth trip to state-his third in the 1600 and 3200. He is seeded last in the 3200, but his sight is set on the school record of 9:36.

"That would place him in the top nine which is his goal," Baumgarten said. "He is seeded 10th in the 1600 (4:26) but he has run a 4:23 and is hoping to hit 4:20."

In her first trip to state, Sophia Sowada is seeded with four other girls at 5-2 in high jump.

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"The goal for Sophia is to finish in the top 10," Flyer girls head coach Tara Schlagel said. "She is hoping to jump a personal best of 5-4."

Class 2A Seedings

Boys

3200 run: 1-Seth Eliason (Hopkins), 16-Tyler Moore (LF)

110 hurdles: 1-Henry Adams (Edina), 17-Zach Henke (Brd), 18-Jeff Spieker (Brd)

300 hurdles: 1-Collin Sieffert (East Ridge), 17-Spieker

Pole vault: 1-Henry Adams, 12-Ethan Hebert (Brd)

Shot put: 1-Jake Kubiatowicz (North St. Paul), 7-Nick Maslowski (LF)

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1600 run: 1-Antonio Judson-Red Elk (Henry Sibley), 10-Tyler Moore

Girls

High jump: 1-Aliyah Dawkins (Mankato West) and Nyalaam Jok (Osseo), 18-Sophia Sowada (LF)

Discus: 1-Amanda Anderson (St. Francis), 10-Lili Charlier (Brd)

Pole vault: 1- Charlene Morke (Cambridge-Isanti), 15-Cami Harmer (Brd)

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