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home : sports : sports August 21, 2017

6/15/2017 3:16:00 PM
Area competitors show skills at state track meet

North Branch featured three athletes at the state track and field meet, and while two had a tough time, Evan Amunrud, a pole vaulter, did well in his first action at the prestigious meet.

Amunrud was one of the first competitors in the meet, kicking off the pole vaulting event at 9 a.m. on Friday, June 9 at Hamline University.

He knocked his first height down instantly, 12 feet, which set him up for a jump of 12’6”, which was his seed for the tournament.

He missed his first two, and it looked like he might be on his last leg, but he cleared the height on his third attempt to raucous cheers from the North Branch section just 25 feet away sitting in the sun-soaked bleachers on the track.

After the other competitors cleared that height, Amunrud was up again, attempting a personal best 13 feet. The junior nailed the height on his first try, confidently soaring over the bar and setting a new record for himself.

However, he ran into too high of a height at 13’6”. He had three cracks at it and came up just short in each one, but it was still a successful day for him, as he finished in 11th place. He beat out two vaulters who’s seeds were 15’2” and 14’4”.

Noah Shafer of Lakeville South won the state title by clearing 14’6”.

The two North Branch girls that qualified for the state tournament had trouble gaining traction. And although one era ended, another seems to have begun for the Vikings.

The beginning of Katherine Carlson was rocky, as she missed all three of her jumps at the five foot height, which was disappointing for her as she was seeded at 5’3”. But, she’s only an eighth grader and was very green to the event at the beginning of the year. She has a long future ahead of her at the state tournament. Although her path to the top may be eternally blocked. Osseo’s Nyalaam Jok, a fellow eighth grader, won the state title with a jump of 5’8”. She came just short of tying the state record of 5’10” set by Linda Barsness of Rochester John Marshall in 1986.

The ending of an era came when Rhianna Rinke finished her last long distance race for the North Branch Vikings. She has been a staple on the cross country and track teams for six years, going to the state tournament in both events multiple times.

Unfortunately, in her last event, she struggled with the early morning Saturday heat, finishing in 16th place with a time of 5:26.30. Her seed time coming into the event was 5:15.51, which would have put her on the podium.

Rinke will go on to run at the University of Minnesota Duluth next year, so despite her North Branch running career coming to an end, she is just beginning to scratch the surface in her already decorated career.

Chisago Lakes
Six Wildcat athletes participated in the MSHSL Track and Field Championships, held at Hamline University in St. Paul last Friday and Saturday.

None of the Wildcat runners were able to qualify for the finals.  In the boys’ four by 100-meter relay, the team of senior Dylan Blaul, senior Arran Hickcox, junior Thomas Strand and junior Peter Vitalis ran their second-best time of the year, 43.27 seconds.  They missed getting to the finals by .07 seconds.  The four by 200 relay team of senior Alex Morehead, Blaul, Hickcox and Strand also ran their second-best time of the year, 1:30.07, and missed getting to the finals by just .08 seconds.  Wildcat head boys’ coach Ken Orwoll said, “Overall, I thought we ran well and handoffs were good.”

Strand was also a little off his best in the 200, finishing in 15th place in the preliminaries with a time of 23.56 seconds.  Orwoll said, “It was fun to see the junior run against the best runners in the state.”  Blaul participated in the long jump.  He finished 19th with a jump of 19’1.25”.  “Dylan just didn't have the same spring he had at sections,” said Orwoll.  “And the strong winds also made it difficult to consistently find the board.”

Izzy Hindt was the only Wildcat girl to participate in the state tournament, running in the 400-meter dash.  And like the Wildcats boys’ relay teams, she posted her second-best time of the season but did not qualify for the finals.  She came in 14th place with a time of 59.65 seconds.  Orwoll said “Anyone who runs under one minute in the 400 has had a good day.  We are all very proud of all six of these athletes.  They have represented Chisago Lakes well and have had an amazing season and, for the four seniors, an outstanding career.
State tournament results can be found on the MSHSL website.

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