June 17, 2010 at 3:31 p.m.
"Our guys had some great performances at the State Meet this weekend including three school records!" Head Coach Brian Hasleiet said. "It was a great way to finish off an excellent season."
The three field events that competitors qualified in -- Joe Klun in the triple jump, Zack Smith in the pole vault and Brian Grand in the long jump -- were struggles from the beginning.
Klun missed his seeded jump of 41'8" by over two feet and sputtered to a 16th place finish out of 17 competitors with a jump of 39'6".
Grand didn't fare much better, missing his seeded distance by just under two feet. After hitting just over 21 feet last week, he barely cracked 19 feet in his state tourney attempts. He finished 16th in the event.
Smith, who jumped a career and North Branch best 14'3" at the section meet last week, failed to get higher than 12'6" in a disastrous performance. Smith, who is a junior, was one of the higher seeds heading in after his duel with Tyler Massey and Tyler Colling of Forest Lake last week at sections. Smith's jump left him in 18th place in th event, and hoping that next year, he can raise his level up even higher.
After the tough run of luck in the field events, things started to shift for the Vikes in the track events. Grand was the fifth fastest qualifier on the first day in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 15.06 seconds, Broden squeezed into the finals with the ninth fastest time on the day in the 400 meter dash and Grand earned his second finals trip with the second fastest 300 meter hurdle time on the day. The 38.12 second run was a personal best for Grand and a new North Branch record in the event.
In the 4x400 meter relay, which is the last event on the day, the quartet of Justin Murray, Klun, Tony Ceroll and Broden finished in 10th place at first, just outside of qualifying for the finals.
However, Stillwater, who had run the fastest qualifying time, actually stepped out of the back of their relay box in the beginning of a hand off and were disqualified for the mistake. Their gaffe moved the North Branch relay team onto the finals on Saturday.
Grand was first up on the wet Saturday. He didn't have his best race in the 110 meter hurdles, but he still managed to get up to seventh place with a time of 15.40 seconds, a tick slower than his 15.06 qualifying time.
Broden, who had set the North Branch mark in the 400 meter dash in preliminaries with a time of 50.47 seconds, was the next Viking to take a stab at finals. Although he didn't move up any seeds in the finals, it was remarkable that Broden was in them, seeing as he was seeded 16th heading into the tournament.
Grand stepped to the line for the 300 meter hurdles as the Vries' best shot at a state champion. He had run the second fastest time this year in the event heading into the tournament, and he had ran a career best 37.97 the day before.
After a smooth start, it quickly became evident that it was a three-horse race between Grand, RJ Alowonle of Park and Jerome Begin of Buffalo. On the second to last hurdle, Begin, who held a slight lead over the other two, stumbled at that hurdle, and Grand surged into first.
Approaching the last hurdle, Grand took a slight stutter step to ready himself for the hurdle, but Alowonle, only a sophomore, glided over it and took the lead.
Grand nearly reclaimed it as he leaned across the finish line, but Alowonle was the winner with a time of 37.89, eight-hundredths of a second faster than Grand's 37.97.
In the 4x400 meter relay, the foursome was able to jump up one spot in the finals and finish in eighth place with a time of 3:28.24. They were in ninth place throughout most of the race until Broden, the anchorman, passed Dan Gorghuber of Alexandria in the last 100 meters to claim eighth.
As a team, the Vikings earned 16 points, which was good enough to put them in a 25th place tie with Red Wing. Eden Prairie won the meet with 56 points.
Commenting has been disabled for this item.