2018 Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country First Team
WINSTED – When you look back on the 2018 cross country season in the area, there’s no doubt that there was plenty of talent and impressive performances for each team. The Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted girls’ team made school history with a second-place finish at the Class A state meet, while Both Watertown-Mayer and Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity/Mayer Lutheran had impressive performances throughout the season, as well.
Below is a look at the Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country First Team.
Gwen Helgeson (HLWW)
All HLWW senior Gwen Helgeson did in her final season was help the Lakers make school history. Helgeson, who’s been a staple for the Lakers the past three seasons, helped lead HLWW to a second-place finish at the Class A state meet. It was a fitting end to her high school career for Helgeson, who’s been one of the top runners in Class A the past few seasons. At the Class A state meet, Helgeson finished in 23rd place overall, with a time of 19 minutes and 59 seconds.
It was an emotional ride for Helgeson as she capped off her impressive career at HLWW. With tons of experience, and, of course, talent, Helgeson was a big reason the Lakers made school history this season.
Erin Brabec (HLWW)
Erin Brabec was another veteran leader for the Lakers this season on their way to making history. Brabec, a senior who also brought experience and leadership to the squad, finished in 28th place overall at the Class A state meet.
Brabec found her groove late in the season, especially at the Roy Griak Invitational. She was the top runner for the Lakers at that meet, turning in a new personal-best for the season – all while being sick.
Brooke Baumann (HLWW)
While the Lakers lose two key runners in Helgeson and Brabec due to graduation, HLWW has a star on the rise in freshman Brooke Baumann.
After a strong season last year, Baumann burst onto the scene this year. At the Class A state meet, Baumann took 19th place overall, with a time of 19 minutes and 54 seconds.
Over the course of the season, Baumann continued to improve and quickly became a top runner for the Lakers. Being just a freshman, the Lakers have a talented runner they can rely on for years to come.
2018 Herald Journal All-Area Girls Cross Country Second Team
Jessa Heimerl (LP/HT/ML)
It was a season to remember for Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity/Mayer Lutheran’s Jessa Heimerl. With two All-Conference awards this season, Heimerl was the top runner for the Bulldogs all season long.
Heimerl had a personal best of 20 minutes and 27 seconds this season. Being just a seventh grader, Heimerl will be a key runner for the Bulldogs for years to come, and will be looking to improve each season going forward.
“Jessa is a hard runner,” LP/HT/ML coach Jacob Oie said. “She will be exciting to watch in the seasons to come.”
Katelyn Routhier (HLWW)
To take second place at the Class A state meet, a team needs depth. HLWW’s Katelyn Routhier was the perfect runner for the Lakers, as she gave them the depth they needed to make school history.
Routhier, a freshman who will be a key piece for the Lakers for years to come, stepped up big time for the Lakers this season. Whether it was her stepping up and being a top three runner at some meets, or simply adding some depth, the Lakers wouldn’t have made school history if it wasn’t for her.
Routhier stepped up her game even more at the Class A state meet. She took 22nd place, with a time of 19 minutes and 58 seconds.
Anja Gilbert (Watertown-Mayer)
There’s a bright spot for the Watertown-Mayer Royals, and it’s freshman Anja Gilbert. With her youth and talent, Gilbert will be a key runner for the Royals the next few seasons.
Gilbert found her stride midway through the season, and was running her best races at the end of the season. At the Section 5A meet, Gilbert led the way for the Royals, with a time of 22 minutes and 24 seconds, which was good enough for 61st overall.