June 3, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.
In their final tune up before sections begins, North Branch hosted an eight-team meet last week.
The Viking boys, who have multiple athletes with state tournament aspirations, won the event by a fairly wide margin. They scored 170.5 points to come in first, with Highway 95 rival Cambridge-Isanti next in line with 146.5 points. North Suburban Conference foe Spring Lake Park checked in at third with 116 points. The Wildcats came in fifth place with 70 points
"We're peaking and having some of our very best performances of the year at the right time," North Branch Head Coach Brian Hasleiet said. "Our kids are really looking good and I believe we're as ready as we've ever been heading into the section meet."
Brian Grand, who has been a catalyst for the track team all year, started things off with a bang with a first place in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 15.55 seconds. Fellow senior Justin Murray clocked in at 16.17 seconds, good enough for third place.
Chisago Lakes got their first points when the foursome of Brad Johnson, Josh Olinger, Caleb Gieske and Luke McKenzie finished in second place in the 4x800 meter relay. Their time of 8:48 was good enough for eight team points.
Junior Cory Lushanko scored the first and only victory of the day for the Wildcats when he won the 100 meter dash with a time of 11.60 seconds. Lushanko also finished in second place in the 200 meter dash with a time of 23.61 seconds.
North Branch's Tony Ceroll, Joe Klun, Grand and Ken Broden piled up big points with a first place in the 4x200 meter relay. The quartet used the event for one last fine tuning of their hand-offs before they attempt to qualify for state.
The Vikes stayed off the board for the most part until the 300 meter hurdles. Grand and Murray dominated the field, as Grand came in first with a time of 39.51 seconds and Murray came in second with a 41.73.
Broden, another senior, kept his foot on the gas pedal for North Branch, winning the 800 meter run with a time of 2:04. Wildcats Johnson and McKenzie came in second and third in the event, respectively. Johnson clocked in at 2:08.11 and McKenzie was a shade behind him at 2:08.55.
Murray, Klun, Ceroll and Broden teamed up to take down the 4x400 meter relay race. Broden blazed to a 51.51 anchor leg to keep North Branch on top.
In the field events, it was a two-horse race between seniors John Morrison and Charlie Fernow in the shot put. Morrison just barely edged his teammate, tossing the shot 50'8" while Fernow launched it 50'2", which put the two Vikes in first and second place.
Morrison added a second place in the discus event, throwing the disc 136'6"
In the high jump, Chisago Lakes' Riley Myers leapt to a second place finish with a jump of 5'10".
In the long jump, Grand was back to his winning ways, finishing in first place with a length of 21 feet. Klun added another win to his belt with a jump of 40'3" in the triple jump.
The Vikes closed out the meet with an impressive one-two-three finish in the pole vault. Junior Ben Besch cleared 13'6", while fellow junior Zack Smith cleared 13' for the second place finish. Carl Neuman, a sophomore, finished in third place with a jump of 12'6".
The Lady Vikes found themselves locked in a hotly contested battle for second place with two other teams during their events.
Although Spring Lake Park had a comfortable lead in first place with 154 points, Cambridge-Isanti came in second with 132 points, St. Francis came in third with 131 points and the Vikings rounded out the top four, but not by much, as they finished with 126 points. Chisago Lakes came in fifth place with a total of 81 points.
The Wildcats first batch of points came from the 4x800 relay quartet of Mary Cross, Kaylee Ryan, Kelsey Ryan and Chelsea Johnson. The girls finished the race in 10:05 for a second place finish and eight points.
North Branch's overall dominance in the 300 meter hurdles continued. After Grand won first place for the boys, freshman Sheralynn Linkert won the event in the girls half with a time of 48.16 seconds.
Jenna Zais earned second place in the 100 meter dash for Chisago Lakes. Her time of 13.45 second was good for eight more team points.
In the 1,600 meter run, Kaylee Ryan got the first of two victories for the Wildcats on the day. She crossed the finish line in 5:26, which won the event for her and got 10 points for CL.
In the 3,200 meter run, Megan Zimmerman earned second place honors with a time of 12:43 while sophomore Alyssa Kroschel finished in third place just 11 seconds behind Zimmerman at 12:54.
In the 800 meter run, Cross came in second place with a time of 2:26.
Becky Ramberg, Maddie Kunshier, Miranda Charley and Maria Gozzi teamed up for a second place finish in the 4x400 meter relay.
Chisago's Zoe Hansen earned another win on the day for CL when she went 33'9" in the triple jump event.
The last victory of the day came from sophomore Kassie Salo, who broke the school record in the pole vault with a jump of 10 feet. The height also earned her first place in the invite.