5/16/2013 4:03:00 PM Lady Vikings win Section True Team championship
by JEFF NORTON
The North Branch girls track and field team set one of their goals in the beginning of the season as being the True Team Section champions. After last week’s meet, they can mark that goal off their checklist. The girls edged out Grand Rapids for the chance to go to Stillwater in the State True Team meet on May 20-21.
“I am so proud of the girls taking first place at True Team,” Head Coach Norm Nagel said. “The girls are looking forward to the state meet, we haven't been there in years. It was nice to finally catch Grand Rapids and Chisago Lakes.”
Leading the way for the girls was senior SherahLynn Linkert. She won the 110 and 300 meter hurdles for the Vikings. Sophomore Jessica Stendahl, who was running her first varsity meet, ran with Linkert in the events, finished fourth in the 100 hurdles and eighth in the 300 hurdles. Cassie Kunshier also had an impressive meet, placing fourth in the 200 and she was a part of the 4x200 and 4x100 relay teams.
Eighth grader Rhianna Rinke ran her personal best in the 3,200 meter run with an 11:24.77. Freshman Mikayla Johnson had an impressive all-around day. She finished first in the pole vault, fourth in the 100 meter dash and ran a leg in the 4x100 relay that took third place. In fact, the Vikings went one-two in the pole vault as eighth grader Katie Burnside finished in second place in the meet. Maddie Kunshier finished in third in her specialty, the 400 meter dash, while Gina Amundson and Kadie Mattson finished in third and fourth place, respectively, in the high jump.
The strong field events, which had been a crutch for North Branch recently, continued throughout the meet. Crystal Snaza finished second in the discus and Cathie Larson was fourth. The aforementioned 4x200 relay team of Linkert, the Kunshier sisters and Mattson took second place in the meet and had a state honor roll time of 1:48.64 “The girls have been working really hard in practice and the younger athletes are really stepping up and giving our team some depth,” Nagel explained. “And that is what the True Team is all about. Everyone scores points for their efforts. I was really happy with the results of our second outdoor meet.”
Boys The boys didn’t do too shabby either, thoroughly surprising their coach with a fourth place finish at the meet. They finished only 31 points behind first place Grand Rapids. Arik Steele had himself a day, taking first place in both the 110 and 300 high hurdles and running a leg in the 4x100 meter relay team that finished in third place.
Levi Kolke won the 400 meter dash with a time of 52.29 seconds and he also took fourth place in the 200 meter dash. He also ran the opening leg of the 4x200 relay team that won the event. He was followed by Matt Marrin, Brandon Thauwald and Rance Ashley. The quartet made the state honor roll with a time of 1:33.93. Thauwald also had a nice leap in the high jump, clearing 5’10” and taking second place in the event.
Triple jumpers Jack Klun and Max Southbloom took second and fifth, respectively, in their event. “The boys really surprised me by taking fourth place at True Team. We are getting some nice depth from the underclassmen and some nice results from our upperclassmen,” Nagel said. “This was also the second outdoor meet of the season. We need to get more consistent in our field events. I see a lot of improvement we can make only of the weather will allow us, but I'm really excited to see the boys at conference this year because I believe we will have quite a few All-Conference and All-Conference Honorable Mention this year compared to only two last year. This is going to be an exciting last month of track season.”