Last week, Wadena-Deer Creek hosted the Johanna Olson Invite and for the first time ever swept both the boys and girls races.
Junior Kira Sweeney is a three time winner of the race and senior Bereket Loer won it for the first time. Their head coach Mike Brunsberg had much to say about his standout runners,
“First of all, we suspected that both Kira and Bereket might have to lead their respective races from the outset–which is what happened. In most races, the leader has some competitive company, but not on Tuesday. So, in the absence of fellow lead runners, there’s a certain challenge involved in setting the pace alone. Potentially, there’s a danger of setting yourself up for a pack runner to sit back and surge to victory at the end. Kira and Bereket handled this situation well…hitting a pace that was not too fast, not too slow…one that was just right.
Bereket comes to beginning of the season racing closer to mid-season form than he’s ever been, so we’re all encouraged. He’s such a talented runner–sprints, distance–he can do it all at a high level of achievement. And, of course, he works at it…leading his teammates in the workouts…pushing everyone to do their best by his example. It was nice to see him win a cross country race for the first time. He’s actually been the runner-up three times, so he was due!
Kira has been also been showing strong beginning-of-the-race-season form…by posting a second consecutive sub-20:00 race (in two tries). Last season, it took her four races to break 20 minutest, so that’s an indication that she is racing well early on. It’s fun to watch Kira race the clock because you can feel that she is entering each race with a plan, and her final charge down the hill to the finish at Whitetail Run was her execution of that plan to great result. She now has four “Johanna Inspires” top ten finisher t-shirts…one for each of the past four years of earning that honor. In fact, she has won the Johanna Olson Invite the last three years, which I believe, is a record!”
Congratulations, Kira and Bereket!