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Warriors begin season with Lincoln championship

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LINCOLN — The Warrior cross country team found enough traction on a wet and sloppy course to run off with the championship at the Lincoln Invitational Thursday.

Jesse Pfau, Arlee’s top runner the past year, led all Warriors. He ran the 3.5-mile trail in 21:39 to finish fourth. Pfau was leading most of the way, but was passed by the top three runners in the last 800 feet, when he started suffering from a side ache. Even with the side ache, Pfau ran his quickest time ever on the Lincoln course.

“Even with the side ache he was able to get a PR. That tells me all the hard work he put in is already starting to pay off,” Arlee cross country coach Katea Dreiling said.

The next three runners to cross the line after Pfau were all Warriors. Trae Burland finished fifth (22:35), Nick Morigeau came in sixth (22:50) and Al Plant completed the Warriors’ top four with a seventh-place finish (23:03).

Plant, a sophomore, was competing in his first varsity cross country meet.

“I didn’t know what to expect from him. For him to finish right there with the seniors (Pfau, Morigeau and Burland) really impressed me,” Dreiling said.

Plant’s seventh-place finish helped the Warriors’ break a tie with Lincoln for first place in the four-team meet. With both teams locked with 15 points, the tiebreaker was the highest fourth-place finish and the Lynx fourth runner came in 12th.

To have the top four runners only separated by less than a minute and a half will help the team, Dreiling said.

“They’ll be able to push each other at practice as well as meets. When somebody is having a bad day, they’ll have other people to pace off of,” Dreiling said.

Who Arlee’s top four runners will be is still in question. With 12 Warriors and five Scarlets, Dreiling is coaching her largest team entering her third year as coach.

Kristyn Adams and Tayla Dejarlais were the only two Scarlets at the meet. Adams came in third with a time of 33:33 and Dejarlais came in fourth with a time of 33:59. Like all Warriors and Scarlets that had run the course before, Adams’ time was a personal best.

The Arlee cross country team will compete at the Mountain West Classic Saturday. The Warriors will be able to field a five-man team the Scarlets will only have three runners.

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