May 27, 2010 at 10:13 a.m.
The North Branch track and field team has been breaking records all season, and the North Suburban Conference meet really became their time to shine.
The highlights, like they have been most of the season, were a trio of seniors in Brian Grand, Ken Broden and Justin Murray.
Grand broke the school record in the 300 meter hurdles with a time of 38.62 seconds. The 300 hurdle time by Grand was briefly the fastest in the state so far this year until Rosemount's Zach Vraa ran a 38.52 the next day. Regardless, Vraa, Grand and Jerome Begin of Buffalo have all eclipsed the state-winning time of last year and figure to be the three favorites for the state title that will be awarded on June 12.
Grand also ran the third leg in the school record breaking 4x200 meter relay team. That quartet, which also featured Tony Ceroll, Joe Klun and Ken Broden, finished the race in 1:30.28, which is the fifth fastest time in the state this year.
Besides those two events, Grand also earned All-Conference in the 110 meter hurdles with a time of 15.36 seconds, as well as All-Conference Honorable Mention in the long jump.
Murray, on the other hand, earned All-NSC accolades as the opening leg in the 4x400 meter relay. The foursome of Murray, Klun, Ceroll and Broden ran into the record books as the second fastest 4x400 relay team in North Branch history.
Murray also earned All-NSC Honorable Mention in the 110 meter hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles.
Broden, besides being the anchor in both of those relay teams, earned All-Conference accolades for his 400 meter dash time of 51.16 seconds.
Klun, another senior, had a big day also. He was a part of both relays and earned All-Conference in the triple jump with a leap of 41'8".
Besides that seasoned foursome, senior John Morrison tossed the discus 145'7" to earn All-NSC.
Ben Besch and Zack Smith both earned All-Conference in the pole vault with jumps of 13 feet, and Carl Neuman earned All-NSC Honorable Mention with a jump of 12 feet.
Colin Charpentier was the last Viking boy to earn honors. The senior earned All-NSC Honorable Mention in the grueling 3,200 meter run.
With all the impressive performances on the day, the Vikings catapulted to second place in the North Suburban, just a hint behind Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony.
The Panthers scored 126 points for their conference championship while North Branch scored 109 points in second. St. Louis Park rounded out the top three with 85 points.
"What an awesome conference meet we had," Head Coach Brian Hasleiet said excitedly. "We had some amazing performances, including school records, top five all-time performances and honor roll performances. Our kids really came up big in one of our biggest meets of the year!"
In the girls half of the draw, there was plenty of performances equally impressive.
Freshman Sheralynn Linkert had quite the day, earning All-Conference in the 100 meter hurdles and the 300 meter hurdles. Linkert finished first in the 300 as the NSC champion, and her time was third all-time in North Branch history.
Ali Zimmerman set the school record in the 3,200 meter run with a time of 11:54.33. She also got the third best time ever in the 1,600 meter run. She earned All-Conference in both events.
Maria Gozzi earned All-NSC in the 400 meter dash, as well as anchoring the All-NSC award-winning 4x400 meter relay team. Becky Ramberg, Maddy Kunshier and Miranda Charley were also in that quartet. Charley also earned All-Conference in the 800 meter run.
Kassie Salo, a sophomore, earned the last All-NSC of the day in the girls pole vault event. She jump 9'6" for the award.
Among All-NSC Honorable Mention awards were Onalee Yousey in the 100 meter hurdles, Mikayla Miller in the 1,600 meter run, Megan Zimmerman and Haley Hasleiet in the 3,200 meter run, Haley Huset in the high jump, Bayley Ertl in the triple jump and Teagan Anderson in the pole vault.
As a team, the girls finished in fourth place. St. Francis won the meet with 134.5 points, Irondale came in second with 118.5 points and Spring Lake Park/St. Anthony scored 104 points to earn third place.
In fourth, North Branch had 78 points, which was 12 clear of Totino Grace and St. Louis Park, who tied for fifth place with 66 points each.