November 5, 2009 at 8:45 a.m.

Section 7AA proves to be a daunting challenge for Chisago Co. teams

North Branch girls fail to send any runners to state despite strong fourth place team finish
Section 7AA proves to be a daunting challenge for Chisago Co. teams
Section 7AA proves to be a daunting challenge for Chisago Co. teams

Section 7AA proves to be a daunting challenge for Chisago Co. teams

North Branch girls fail to send any runners to state despite strong fourth place team finish

Even with only an outside chance of qualifying the whole team for state because of the stacked competition in Section 7AA, the North Branch girls cross country team put there proverbial best foot forward last week in an effort to topple some of the huge schools they were up against.

Although they missed out on sending the whole team, or any individuals for that matter, they can take solace in the fact that there was only one senior among their top seven finishers.

The best finish for the Vikings came from junior Ali Zimmerman, who was the pacesetter for the Vikes almost all year. She finished the race in 15:49, which put her in 13th place. The finish meant she missed out on the state meet by a mere three places, as they top 10 make it to the state tournament.

After Zimmerman was sophomore Alyssa Kroschel, who finish in 16:26 in 21st place. Kroschel was the first among the flurry of Vikings who would cross the finish line in the next 30 seconds.

Right after Kroschel was Alyssa Ramberg, who finished in 16:30 in 24th place. The lone senior of the crew, Haley Hasleiet, came in fourth place for the Vikes with a 16:37, which put her in 28th place in the meet. To finish off the scoring, junior Shayna Gray came in 30th place in a time of 16:42.

But, the lack of a top flight threat is what came back to haunt the Vikings again. Their sixth and seventh runners, Kendra Norman and Megan Zimmerman had very strong finishes for not counting towards the varsity score. Norman crossed the finish line in 16:51, good enough for 34th place.

Zimmerman was only five seconds behind, completing the 4K race in 16:56 in 36th place.

For the day, the Vikings were in a second cluster of teams who all had a shot at the second trip to the state meet.

Elk River dominated the section meet with a 28, but Grand Rapids, Forest Lake and North Branch were all separated by 34 total points. In the end, Grand Rapids was able to walk away with the second state berth with an 82. Forest Lake finished third with a 111 and North Branch was just behind them with a 116. Duluth East, which finished in fifth place, was over 75 points away from North Branch at 193 points.

Boys

The boys knew they had their work cut out for them. They hadn't had a top finish all year, and this was one of the toughest meets that they would be a part of.

As expected, they weren't able to secure a berth in the state tournament, but they still had some great finishes from some young runners. Much like the girls team, the guys only had one finisher in their top seven that was a senior.

Junior Tommy Toohey paced the Vikings with an 18:11, and that put him in 35th place overall.

Junior Colin Charpentier and senior Joe Klun were the next Vikings who came across the finished line, and the pair came in back-to-back.

Charpentier finished in 18:26 in 42nd place and Klun came in at 18:28 in 43rd place.

Freshman Ean Charpentier, the youngest racer on either varsity squad along with Ramberg, finished in 59th place with a time of 19:07.

Sophomore Jon Amundson topped off the varsity scoring the the Vikings with a 66th place finish in 19:22.

The other two runners for the Vikings were junior Erik Fitcha and sophomore Branden Heidelberger. Fticha came in 76th place with a time of 19:42, and Heidelberger crossed the finish line in 19:42 in 89th place.

The guys finished in 10th place out of 14 teams with a score of 245. The top of the meet was wide open as Forest Lake and Cambridge-Isanti secured the state tournament berths with a 71 and 78, respectively.

Head Coach Brian Hasleiet was happy with the way the season turned out regardless of the narrow misses at the section meet. "We had a very nice season. Our kids worked very hard this year and everyone really improved a lot from the beginning to the end of the year," he explained. "We have such great kids who always work so hard in the off-season, in practice, and in meets. I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to coach all of our student-athletes this season."


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