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Pequot's Pierzinski sprinting past competition

Reid Pierzinski is not your typical cross country runner. The Pequot Lakes sophomore has led the Patriots' boy cross country team to a win at Deer River and second-place finishes at the Ranger Invite at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge and at the Mid-Sta...

Reid Pierzinski is not your typical cross country runner.

The Pequot Lakes sophomore has led the Patriots' boy cross country team to a win at Deer River and second-place finishes at the Ranger Invite at Ruttger's Bay Lake Lodge and at the Mid-State Conference meet in Long Prairie.

Come spring, however, Pierzinski trades in his distance shoes for a pair of sprinter's spikes.

"I change from long distance to a sprinter during the track season," said Pierzinski. "It works the turnover a lot and it helps to get into the finish faster. You get into a sprint-off with somebody it helps to have the turnover ability."

Last spring, Pierzinski helped the Patriots' 4x400-meter relay to ninth place in the Class 1A state meet. The then freshman also placed 14th in the triple jump.

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One of his main goals this fall is to get to the state cross country meet. Pequot Lakes head coach Jeff Brever believes he can.

"I think he'll be able to do that," Brever said. "He competed at state in track so he knows it's big-time. He's competed at state before. It's not quite cross country, which can be a little different, but he has been to state so I think that experience will help him. I don't want to look ahead like that, but if we make it that far."

Another goal for Pierzinski is to crack 17 minutes and he almost accomplished that at the Ranger Invite Oct. 8 when he won the meet with a 17:08. Pierzinski also won the Deer River Invite and finished fourth at the conference meet.

"I would have liked to have gotten a few more Detroit Lakes guys and have our team finish a little higher, but it was a good run," Pierzinski said. "There was a lot of hills and a lot of wind and it was cold, but all in all, I thought it was a really good run."

Brever called Pierzinski a speed guy, someone who likes to start fast and faster, but because he's not a typical distance runner with a lot of miles under his shoes, it's taken a while for Pierzinski to find his perfect race strategy. Lately, however, a slower start and gradually getting faster through the five kilometers seems to be working.

"We've been working on his starts," Brever said. "We tried going slower at the beginning. We tried going really fast at the beginning and right now he's running with Tony Fitzer at the beginning and then he'll pull away from him right at about the mile and then he'll keep that distance for the rest of the race.

"Usually he would start to fade toward the end, but he's gotten stronger. He's gotten more miles in and that's what's keeping his strength throughout the race."

Pierzinski believes his goal of getting to state is within reach. If he cracks his 16-minute goal it will be very likely the sophomore makes it through Section 8-1A. But he wants the team to go with him and since Day One that's what they've been working toward.

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"We've been focused since Day One on getting to state," Pierzinski said. "Since the first day of practice we've been saying we need to get to state. We're weren't really training for the conference. It's not as big of a priority as going to state.

"We knew we were going to be good out of the chute because we had pretty good depth last year. We didn't lose too many key runners to graduation. So I think we knew we would have a good chance. Hopefully we'll win our next Birch Tree Conference (title)."

It's that belief and drive that Brever likes to see from his sophomore. While not a captain, he does bring a lot to the Patriots' team.

"He brings his competitiveness," said Brever. "He and his brother. No matter what we do they want to win. We could go and do curling and he would want to win it. That ability, that instinct and competitiveness he has is great to have."

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKES PATRIOTS
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