Practice pays off for busy NB track teams

By Victoria Dahlin

Seventh grader Rhianna Rinke took third place in the 1600m run last week in the Norm Ayen Invitational at Cambridge-Isanti High School. Photos by Greg Hunt/Isanti County News

Carl Neumann pole vaulted his personal best during a packed week with three meets for the North Branch track and field teams.

On April 17 the teams hosted a meet versus Robbinsdale Cooper with the Viking girls team winning 79-67 over the Hawks and the boys losing 92-52.

Neumann vaulted 13’6” to win the pole vault. Other Vikings taking first were: Matthew Marrin (200m dash), Brandon Thauwald (high jump), Zach Peno (400m dash), Max Southbloom (300m hurdles) and Seth Eastwood (discus throw, shot put).

“We had some outstanding finishes by Matt Marrin and Zach Peno,” said Coach Norm Nagel. “Our distance runners are improving and taking off quite a bit of time off of their personal best. Our relay teams are starting to come together nicely.”

Winning their events for the girls team were: Sherahlynn Linkert (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), girls 4x200m relay team, Gina Amundson (high jump), Kassie Salo (pole vault), Becky Ramberg (triple jump), girls 4x100m relay team, Haley Huset (800m run), Madison Kunshier (200m dash).

“Our hurdlers are dominating both the 100 and 300 meter events,” said Coach Nagel. “Seventh grader Rhianna Rinke ran the 400 meter dash for the first time and took a surprising second place. We were very strong in the high jump, pole vault, discus and shot put. The girls are heading in the right direction. Our number of athletes are down, but we have quality athletes and we are starting to pick up the fourth, fifth, and sixth places and those points are starting to add up.”

Eighth grader Mikayla Johnson took second place in the pole vault at CIHS.

Last Thursday the teams competed in the Norm Ayen Invitational in Cambridge with the boys team finishing fourth out of eight teams with 93 points behind Duluth Denfeld (105), Chisago Lakes Area (113) and Cambridge-Isanti (162).

The only North Branch boy athlete to earn a first place finish at the invitational was Marrin in the 200m dash.

“Not the greatest conditions for a track meet,” said Coach Nagel. “It was a bit cool and really windy. I am very pleased with the boys. I see a lot of improvement out of our younger kids and a lot of leadership from the older ones.”

The girls took third out of eight teams with 138 points behind Cambridge-Isanti with 154 and Chisago Lakes Area with 141.

Girls winning their events were; Kunshier (400m dash) and Linkert (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles)

“I am not surprised that the girls took third place, three points out of second place,” said Coach Nagel. “The girls are working very hard in practice and it is paying off at the meets.”

Finally on Saturday, the teams competed in an invitational at St. Francis in terrible weather conditions, with many members missing due to Prom and the pole vault event canceled due to hazardous conditions.

Both the girls and boys teams placed ninth out of 12 teams in the invitational.

The Viking boys totaled 23 points to place ahead of Shanely (13), Legacy Christian Academy (8) and Elk River (2), while the girls team tallied up 34.12 points to place ahead of Coon Rapids (23), Duluth Denfeld (4) and Legacy Christian Academy (2.12).

Eastwood won the shot put and Kunshier the 400m dash.

“We had a lot of boys that stepped up and ran events that they typically do not run,”said Coach Nagel.

The North Branch boys and girls track teams will compete in an invitational at Cambridge-Isanti High School at 4 p.m. Friday, April 27.

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