May 13, 2010 at 9:34 a.m.
Although track and field can be looked at as a purely individual sport, there is still problems that develop when a team doesn't get consistency throughout it's lineup, and the North Branch squad found that out last week.
Despite plenty of top individual finishers, the boys team finished in third place out of three teams and the girls finished in second, but they were well off the pace set by host Spring Lake Park.
The first top finish for the girls was in the 4x800 meter relay. The foursome of Lexi Hasleiet, Haley Huset, Becky Ramberg and Carly Hinschberger finished in first place with a time of 10:49.93.
Two more relay teams were able to secure second place finishes for the Vikings on the day, also, but the tri scoring system didn't award any extra points for top finishes in relays. Taylor Fertig, Teagan Anderson, Madison Kunshier and Maria Gozzi earned second place in the 4x200 meter relay with a time of 1:54.54, and Fertig, Kristin Slaughter, Anderson and Bradi Herdina teamed up for a second place finish in the 4x100 meter relay, also.
Freshman Mikayla Miller had a nice showing in the 1,600 meter run. She finished in second place with a time of 5:53.85.
The girls earned 10 big points in the 400 meter dash when Gozzi, Kunshier and Karisa Richard went one-two-three in the event. Gozzi won the run in a time of 1:02.09, and Kunshier was just behind her with a time of 1:02.73. Richard came in at 1:07.84.
Another one-two finish in the 300 meter hurdles had the Vikings thinking they could compete with the Panthers in the overall standings. Sherahlynn Linkert and Onalee Yousey earned the points in the event. Linkert finished the course in 50:32 seconds and Yousey came in at 52.77 seconds.
Sadie Kolke kept the first places rolling in when she got the top spot in the 800 meter run. The junior finished in 2:33.22.
In the last relay of the day, Kolke, Hinschberger, Ramberg and Gozzi teamed up for a 4:22.37 in the 4x400 meter relay. The time was good enough to earn them first place in the event.
The Vikes struggled a bit in the field events. Katie Helbig won the discus event with a toss of 107'9", Anderson topped the pole vault field with a leap of 9' and Ramberg finished in second place in the triple jump with a length of 32'7".
Outside of those three performances, North Branch only earned three more points in the seven field events.
The girls finished in second place in the meet, well off of Spring Lake Park's pace, but with plenty of cushion over Robbinsdale Cooper. The Panthers won the event with 100 points, North Branch came in with 63 points and Cooper brought up the rear with 23 points.
Head Coach Brian Hasleiet credited the weather with a few of the struggles his team faced, but stopped short of making any excuses. "I think we had three of the four seasons in this meet," he explained. "It was hot and calm, then cold and windy, and we even got some rain at the end. But, you always have to perform despite the weather conditions, and I thought we did that for the most part. It was still a good meet for us leading up to some of our bigger meets that we have coming up."
Things picked up quickly for the boys, as the sensational senior tandem of Brian Grand and Justin Murray finished one-two in the first guys event of the day. Grand finished the 110 meter hurdle race in 15.63 seconds for a first place finish, and Murray was a second behind him at 16.63 seconds for second place.
Then, the boys hit a nasty lull. Over the 100 meter dash, the 4x200 meter relay, 1,600 meter run and 4x100 meter relay, the Vikings didn't score any points, and they really dug themselves a hole.
Senior Ken Broden broke them out of the slump with a first place finish in the 400 meter dash, but by then, most of the damage had been done. Murray broke through, and defeated his teammate Grand in the 300 meter hurdles, but neither ran their best race, and Murray finished in second place while Grand finished in third.
After another shutout in the 800 meter run, Lane Noyes earned a second place finish in the 200 meter dash with a time of 24.57.
Ean Charpentier and Brandon Heidelberger were the last Vikings to earn track points on the day, as Charpentier finished the 3,200 meter run in 11:54.85, which earned him second place, and Heidelberger came in fourth place with a time of 12:12.42.
In the field events, John Morrison and Charlie Fernow finished third and fourth in the shot put, and Morrison earned second place in the discus event with a toss of 143'1".
Vinnie Kleidon and Murray went back-to-back with second place finishes in the high jump and long jump. Kleidon leapt 5'6" in the high jump and Murray went 19'1" in the long jump.
Joe Klun and Zack Smith closed out the meet with back-to-back first place finishes. Klun earned his in the triple jump with a leap of 39'6", and Smith topped the pole vault event with a jump of 13'.
It was a very competitive meet, but North Branch couldn't quite climb up the ladder to get out of the cellar. Spring Lake Park won the event with 73 points, Cooper came in second with 59.5 points and North Branch was just behind them with 53.5 points.
The Vikings had their true team meet this week, and that's always a big measurement to their success as a team. Hasleiet hopes a good showing there can really set the tone for the rest of the season.
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