6/8/2017 3:38:00 PM Chisago Lakes sending six to state track meet; three from NB qualify
North Branch’s qualifiers, from left to right, Evan Amunrud, Rhianna Rinke and Katherine Carlson.
Boys qualifiers from Chisago Lakes include Arran Hickcox, Thomas Strand, Dylan Blaul, Peter Vitalis and Alex Morehead.
North Branch Rhianna Rinke will run the final race of her marvelous high school career this weekend, and it’s fitting that it’s the 1,600 meter run at the track and field state tournament. That distance has typically been her best for the Vikings over the years.
She won the Section 7AA section championship in the event with a time of 5:15.51, over five seconds faster than Amanda Forliti of Forest Lake. The state tournament berth will be her fifth year in a row going to both the track and field and cross country state meets.
She had also earned the top seed after prelims in the 800 meter run, but a trio of underclassmen shaved eight seconds off their time in the finals and kept her on the outside looking in during that event.
Katherine Carlson was the other girl for North Branch who qualified for the state tournament. The eighth grader took up track for the first time this year and ended up finishing in second place in the event with a jump of 5’3”, just one inch behind junior Ellie Gamradt of Hermantown, who won the event.
The lone boys representative for North Branch is Evan Amunrud. The junior cleared 12’6” in the pole vault event, finishing in second place. Wes Grunke of Grand Rapids won the event with a jump of 13 feet.
Spectators will have to be at Hamline University early each day if they want to catch the North Branch athletes. Both Carlson and Amunrud will begin their competitions at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 9. and Rinke will take to the track at 9 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, in what is supposed to be a sweltering hot day.
Chisago Lakes The Wildcats boys’ track team had three record-setting performances at the Section 7AA meet and will send two relay teams – the four by 100 and four by 200 – and two individuals – Dylan Blaul in the long jump and Thomas Strand in the 200-meter dash – to the state meet this Friday and Saturday at Hamline University in St. Paul. The girl’s lone representative at state will be Izzy Hindt, who qualified in the 400-meter dash. From a team perspective, the boys finished fifth out of 16 teams and the girls finished twelfth.
Boys The four by 100 relay team of senior Dylan Blaul, senior Arran Hickcox, junior Thomas Strand and junior Peter Vitalis won with a time of 42.70 seconds, which set a new school record and ties the Section 7AA record. Senior Alex Morehead and junior Alex Harnetty will join the four by 100 relay team at state as alternates. In the four by 200, senior Morehead, Blaul, Hickcox and Strand edge Cambridge-Isanti by .02 seconds, winning the race and setting a new school and Section 7AA record with a time of 1:29.33. Vitalis will join the four by 200 team as an alternate. Both relay teams had already broken the school record earlier this season.
In 1995, Shane Swanberg set the school record of 21’8.75” in the long jump. At the section meet, Blaul set a new school record in the long jump with a leap of 22’0.25”. He finished third, but made it to state by jumping more than the state standard. And Blaul was close to being the first Wildcat athlete to compete in four events at the state meet. He was the second seed in the 200-meter dash after the preliminaries, but unfortunately he was the second runner to false start and was disqualified. Strand, seeded third after the preliminaries, stepped up and finished second in the 200 with a time of 23.17 seconds to earn a trip to state. So, in the end, Blaul and Strand are each going in three events.
Orwoll said “It was a pretty good day for the Wildcats. We sent six athletes to state. We broke one section record, tied another and broke three school records. Both sprint relays did amazing with great hand offs. All of our state entrants are such great competitors, they really went after it. All their hard work has paid off.”
Girls Hindt finished second in the 400 with a time of 59.37 seconds to earn her trip to state. The four by 200-meter relay team of juniors Juliette Martin and Alisha Nye, eighth-grader Sophia Wood and Hindt finished third, 0.63 seconds out of second place and a trip to state. The four by 100-meter relay team of junior Leah Higgins, Nye, Wood and Martin came in sixth, and the four by 400 team of Martin, Wood, sophomore Amber Zins and Hindt finished seventh. With the members of all three relays (except senior Hindt) returning next season, the Wildcat girls are poised to seriously challenge for spots at state next season.
Another up-and-comer, freshman Lillian Pearson, came in sixth in the shot put and eighth in the discus. And junior Sam Nystrom came in seventh in the discus.