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Cross Country: Patriot boys return several, girls return 3

The 2018 Pequot Lakes cross country team. Front row, from left: Aiden Birch, Jaden Anderson, Ella Peterson, Nicole Young, Calia Chaney, Rian Zutter, Carly Chaney, Elisa Flaws, Max Johnston and Jesse Clausen. Back row: Charlie Schiessl, Collin Yahn, Eli Laposky, Connor Haberman, Ethan Johnson, Russell Pierzinski, Brooks Anderson, Sam Person, Steve Maschhoff and Riley Henry. Dan Determan / Echo Journal

While the Patriot boys cross country team return several athletes, they move forward without their only state qualifier, as 2018 graduate Reid Pierzinski finished 76th for the Patriots at last year's Class A state cross country meet.

At the Section 8A meet, the Patriot boys were fifth overall as Pierzinski placed seventh, Max Johnston was 21st, Sam Person 37th and Russell Pierzinski 41st.

However, the Patriots' returning runners looking to take the lead.

"With most of our runners returning, we are looking to improve our fifth-place finish at sections from last year," head coach Jeff Brever said. "Many of the returning young runners now have a varsity year under their belt and want to take on a bigger role on the varsity team ... Max, Russell, Sam and Brooks (Anderson) look to continue to improve, lead and challenge their younger teammates in practice."

Returning letterwinners for the Patriot boys include Person, Johnston, Anderson, Russell Pierzinski, Ethan Johnson, Connor Haberman and Jesse Clausen.

Brever also expects younger runners Collin Yahn, Riley Henry, Jaden Anderson, Eli Laposky and Charlie Schiessl to score some points for the team.

The Pequot Lakes girls were sixth at last year's section meet. The top finishers for the Patriots were Grace McGuire, 14th overall, and Kristin Skog, 15th and Elsa Flaws 34th.

The Patriot boys were third at the Mid-State Conference meet while the PL girls were fourth.

Nicole Young, Desera Engholm and Elisa Flaws are the girls' only returning letterwinners. However, Carly Chaney, Ella Peterson, Calia Chaney, Rian Zutter and Emma Flaws are expected to contribute as well.

"The younger athletes will have big shoes to fill from last year's graduation class," Brever said. "The participation numbers are small on the girls side, but the quality is still evident. There are many unknowns about the girls team, which makes it exciting ... Mixing in the newcomers with Elisa, Nicole, and Desera could prove to be a winning formula."

Melissa Chaney is an assistant coach.

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August

23 - Pequot Lakes at Esko, 4 p.m.

30 - Pequot Lakes at St. Olaf Invite, 4 p.m.

September

6 - Pequot Lakes Invite at Crosslake Community Center, 4 p.m.

13 - Pequot Lakes at Little Falls, 4 p.m.

18 - Pequot Lakes at Bagley, 4 p.m.

22 - Pequot Lakes at Milaca, 10 a.m.

25 - Pequot Lakes at Deer River, 4 p.m.

October

4 - Pequot Lakes at Perham, 4 p.m.

9 - Pequot Lakes at Staples-Motley, 4 p.m.

15 - Pequot Lakes at Park Rapids, 4 p.m.

26 - Pequot Lakes at Section meet at Bagley, 4 p.m.

Dan Determan

Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper.