Running in the North


Jeff Brever is the Head Cross Country Coach for the Pequot Lakes Patriots. He comes from the storied Staples-Motley Cardinals program of Gene Mattila and Jerry Riewer. The boys won state titles there from 1982-83, 1996-99 and 2001-03. The girls won in 2003. Brever was also a fine runner having won the state XC individual crown in 1998 and 1999He went on to run at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

"There is no doubt in my mind what led me to success in high school was my coach, teammates, hard work, and support from my parents. I would not have had any success without all these pieces in place. My coach laid the foundation of hard work and what it takes to be a champion. My teammates were the ones that made it fun, and we carried each other through the difficult workouts, meets, and spent a lot of time together outside of practice. Having some of the best runners in the state of Minnesota on our team, I was fortunate enough to practice and race against competition every day to make me better. Winning as a team was always the number one goal, we always tried to do our best for each other. My parents supported me, the team, and the coach, cheering all the runners and attending every meet. All of these pieces working together were the key contributors for our team and my success.'

Pequot Lakes Girls' Varsity: The girls's team won Section 7A and will be running in the state meet this year

Calia Chaney ,8th grade; place 32nd at 2018; State XC; 2019 State Track & Field 4th place 4x800 Relay

Rian Zutter, 8th grade; placed 90th at 2018 State XC

Carly Chaney, 10th grade; 2019 State Track & Field 4th place 4x800 Relay and 6th place 4x400 relay

Elisa Flaws, 10th grade

Emma Flaws, 8th grade

Lilix Gustafson, 8th grade

Cassidy Chaney, 12th grade; Track &Field: 2019 4th in 4x800, 6th in 4x400, 2018 1st in 4x400, 3rd in 4x200, 6th in 4x800, 2017: 1st in 4x400, 1st in 4x200, 15th in 4x800.

Pequot Lakes Boys' Varsity:

Ethan Johnson, 11th grade; 2019 State Qualifier in XC

Jesse Clausen, 10th grade

Eli Laposky, 9th grade

Dawsin Ackerman, 10th grade

Collin Yahn, 11th grade

Eli Hall, 8th grade

Russell Pierzinski, 12th grade; XC, and 14th Place at 2019 Track & Field state meet in High Jump

"So far this year the Pequot lakes boys team placed first at our home meet and has two second place finishes at Foley and Bagley. Ethan Johnson is our fastest runner on the verge of eclipsing the 17:00 minute mark. We have depth this year, with 9 runners under 19 minutes. Our depth has been needed this year due to sickness and injury. Our team is young and the commitment to the program has been the best I have seen in a few years 

Our girls team placed first three times this year, at our home meet, Bagley, and Foley. Calia Chaney has won five races this year. Our girls are very young with one senior and no juniors. Even though we are young, most of our team ran varsity last year and were 6 points from going to state. We had two 7th graders advance individually to state last year, Calia and Rian. We have made giant improvements throughout track season and the summer. As a collective group, they have put in the most miles ever as a team in my coaching career over the summer.

How do I get athletes to run over the summer? It is not easy to get athletes to run on their own. I send out a summer training program each year and for the first few years I took a group of runners to Duluth and trained for two days. As a school, we encourage three sport athletes. Being an athlete in three sports makes for a very busy summer. During the summer we have so many opportunities with camps, a strength and speed training program, practices, and tournaments happening in all of their sports in which athletes are expected to attend. I found the most powerful way to get kids to train during the off-season is to build intrinsic motivation in an athlete. I try to build intrinsic motivation in an athlete by creating an environment that is caring, fun, successful, goal setting, and a program that requires hard work.

In the winter, most of our athletes are participating in basketball, alpine skiing, or club swimming. Others get into the weight room and have the opportunity to run around a 180M meter walking track at our school. If athletes do run outside, I suggest they wear a base layer consisting of tights or leggings and a poly blend long sleeve, hats and gloves. From the base layer add on as they feel needed depending on the wind and temperature.

What I learned in my first year of coaching was I tried to be true to my coach I had in high school. Use the same formula and expect the same result. I quickly discovered, I needed to blend in my own techniques and personality into coaching. Not all athletes begin with the drive for hard work as I was surrounded by the athletes on my team back in high school. Students/athletes say they want to be successful and be a state champion but when you lay out the work in front of them, most would rather not put in the time or the work.

One thing we can improve on for all northern teams and individuals who make it to the state meet in cross country is change the location of the state meet and move it to a more centrally located area such as St. Cloud or at least the Northern part of the twin cities. Some teams like Warroad and Roseau drive 6.5 hours to get to the state meet.

People ask why Staples-Motley had so much success. Programs don't have continued success without the community, dedicated athletes, a great coach, and supportive parents. The Staples/Motley community and businesses supported the sports programs. We were lucky to have two hall of fame coaches in Jerry Riewer and Gene Mattila who were able to get the most out of the talented athletes, and Bruce Furhman is continuing that success today at Staples/Motley. The parents supported the coach, their philosophies and techniques to grow and attain a high level of success."