ST.PAUL — Carter Briggs is going to miss his senior teammates.
The Winona Senior High School junior could tell stories all day about the runners who came before him and helped him to become the fastest distance runner on the squad — good enough to finish on the podium in the 3,200 meter run at the MSHSL Class AA Track and Field Championships on Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul.
After running two miles in the scorching sun on a day that saw temperatures reach into the 90s, Briggs was quick to mention his teammates and recall how helpful they were in getting him there — especially team captain Colten Brand.
“This season has been pretty super,” Briggs said. “We got a lot of work done. This is the last year for me with all of the seniors. They’ll be taking off. It’s been a pleasure to get to work with them. I felt like I joined the team at the perfect point because a lot of the upperclassmen were there getting ready to gear up and kind of brought me along for the ride.”
Briggs finished ninth at the State meet in 9 minutes, 33.84 seconds good for the final spot on the podium. He was joined by top finisher Isaac Basten of Buffalo (9:09.96), Roseville Area’s Acer Iverson (9:12.50), Eden Prairie’s Jake Derouin (9:17.53), Rosemount’s Luke Labatte (9:20.66), Bloomington Jefferson’s Colden Longley (9:24.84), Wayzata’s Andrew Brandt (9:30.60), and St. Paul Highland’s Oliver Paleen (9:32.24).
“I’m happy with how I did today,” Briggs said. “This is my first time at the state meet for track. It was good to get up here and get a taste of the action and plan for next year. It was a really hot day today.”
For the last several years, Briggs and Brand have been a match set as the top distance runners at WSHS. They both competed at this fall’s MSHSL Class AA State Cross Country meet where Briggs was 13th in 15:53.3 and Brand was 66th in 16:28.5. And in 2017 they went to the state CC meet as a team, finishing 15th as a unit. Briggs was 44th and Brand was 66th. This year’s graduating seniors Aidan Mohan, Preston Halleck, and Mitchell Ploetz were also there.
But it’s definitely going to be different without them.
“It’s going to be rough (saying goodbye),” Briggs said. “We have a lot of good young up and comers that are going to have a lot of fun. We’re going to try to build the team back up and a lot of them are very motivated to do well. They’re excited about the sport.”
Despite plenty of experience at the state cross country meet, he still was a little surprised by the energy and pace of state track. With only 16 runners qualifying in track, it’s only the very top runners competing and pushing each other, while cross country has nearly 200 competitors.
“It’s a lot more consolidated and I’d say a lot more exciting,” he said. “In track, a lot fewer people qualify so it’s mainly all the big names that you’ve been hearing all season and you get to race with them and it’s a great time. You’ve been hearing about everybody else all season — we’re all kind of sectioned off, so I don’t get to run against all of the big cities schools and it’s kind of fun to get in there and see what we’ve got against them.”