5/30/2013 3:56:00 PM Lady Vikes finish eighth at true team meet
by JEFF NORTON
State True Team Meet Representing Section 7AA, the North Branch girls track and field team had their work cut out for them on the big stage of the State True Team Meet. The Vikings’ stars didn’t shy away from the spotlight when it counted the most. Senior SherahLynn Linkert led the way. She finished in second place in the 100 meter hurdles with a time of 16.23, and then followed that with a dominating performance in the 300 hurdles. She set a season best with a 46.05 second run in the event, winning it by almost a second and a half. That time puts her just outside the top five in the state in the 300 honor roll. The relay teams also performed well. Both the 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams finished in second place, grabbing big points. The 4x200 finished in a time of 1:49.39 and the 4x400 finished in 4:10.76. In the 400 meter dash, sophomore Maddie Kunshier finished in fourth place with a time of 1:00.93. Rhianna Rinke put North Branch back in the winning column when she absolutely smoked the field in the 3,200 meter run.
The diminutive eighth grader finished the race in 11:26.78, setting a season best while besting the rest of the true team field by over 35 seconds. North Branch also got a win in the pole vault. Freshman Mikayla Johnson continued her impressive season, vaulting 11’, beating second place Paige Thieke-Clough of Plainview-Elgin-Millville by a foot. Eighth grader Katie Burnside finished in third in the event with a 9’6” in jump, giving North Branch an extremely bright future in that event. Gina Amundson, a senior, notched a fourth place finish in the high jump with a leap of 4’10”. As a team, the Vikings finished eighth out of nine teams with 269.5 points. They were only 13 points behind Mankato East in seventh place. Sartell-St. Stephen won the meet with 417 points.
North Branch Invite - Girls The Vikings won their home meet, just edging out St. Francis by eight points in the five team meet that also featured Chisago Lakes. The Wildcats started the day with a win in the 4x800 relay with a time of 10:48.19. North Branch fired back with a big chunk of points in the 100 hurdles, getting a one-two-three finish from Linkert, Jessica Stendhl and Claire Schraufnagel. Linkert and Stendhl also finished one-two in the 300 hurdles, giving NB a formidable one-two punch in the hurdling department. The Vikings followed that up with a win in the 4x200 meter relay with a time of 1:48.67, which just bested CL’s foursome by two seconds. The two county teams duked it out again in the 4x100 relays, with the ‘Cats winning that one with a time of 52.48 seconds and the Vikes coming in second with a time of 55.06 seconds. The Wildcats also won the 4x400 relay with a time of 4:11.97, besting the field by over seven seconds. In the 400 meter dash, CL’s Hannah Nordby topped the field with a time of 1:00.44 while NB’s Kunshier came in third with a time of 1:03.42. CL’s Sarah Greene and Rinke had quite a battle in the 800 meter run, but Greene’s long strides bested Rinke’s otherworldly endurance in the shorter race and the Wildcat finished first with a time of 2:24.32 and Rinke was second in 2:24.79. Amundson and Johnson earned back-to-back first places for the Vikings in the first couple field events.
Amundson topped the field in the high jump and Johnson was a foot above everyone else in the pole vault. The Vikings won the meet with 111 points while St. Francis came in with 103 points. Chisago Lakes rounded out the top three with 88 points. Hibbing was in fourth with 56 points and Columbia Heights scored 17. “The girls came out with a nice victory and the boys placed second in the North Branch Invitational. Having broken the school record on pole vault at State True Team, Mikayla Johnson jumped 10'6" and is working her way to a trip to the state meet,” North Branch Head Coach Norm Nagel, who specializes in vaulting, said after the meet. “We tried some kids in some different events and are happy with the results. SherahLynn Linkert was a triple winner and is a hopeful for the state meet. Cassie Kunshier ran her second open 200 meter dash and is hoping to get into the finals at sections in Duluth. Overall, the girls are right where they should be and are peaking at the right time.” “The girls 4x100 and 4x400 teams have an excellent chance of qualifying for the state meet,” Chisago Lakes Head Coach Karen Manske said of her team. “Hannah Nordby is also likely to advance in the 400 meter dash. We have several athletes seeded in the top three spots of many events. It will no doubt be an exciting couple days of competition!”
Boys The Vikings finished in second on the boys side, losing out to St. Francis while Chisago Lakes finished fourth in the five-team invite. CL opened with a victory in the 4x800 relay, but that was their first and last win on the day. With standout sprinter Eric Brown resting up for sections, it left a big hole in the ‘Cats’ lineup. That wasn’t the case for North Branch. The Vikings got a one-two-three finish in the 110 high hurdles from Arik Steele, Austin Wek and Riley Jacobson. They continued with a victory in the 4x200 relay and bookended the early part of the meet with a first place from Levi Kolke in the 400 meter dash in a time of 51.37 seconds.
The other wins for North Branch came in the field portions of the event. Junior Brandon Thauwald won the high jump by two inches, clearing 5’10”. Jack Klun won the triple jump, out leaping Jacob Snelling of St. Francis. Klun had a distance of 40’11.5” while Snelling jumped 39’9”. St. Francis was tops at the meet with 119.5 points and North Branch finished in second with 104 points. Heights was third with 72.5, CL fourth with 43 and Hibbing came in fifth with 39 points. “The boys were strong in the relays. Many of the distance runners ran their personal bests,” Nagel explained. “That was really nice to see since they have been working hard. I see the boys getting stronger at the season progressed. Too bad our season was cut short due to the weather!” “The NB meet allowed our athletes an opportunity for some fine tuning before this week’s section championships,” Manske said. “The boys 4x800 team nearly set a new school record, with team members: Carl Osterberg, Andy Magnuson, Carson Velaski, and Zac West. The team as a whole is ready for this week’s competitions. “It is hard to believe we’re at the final week.”