Outdoor spring sports finally took off when the North Branch track and field teams competed at Cambridge in the Norm Ayen Invitational last Thursday.
Both the boys and the girls teams came in second to the Cambridge-Isanti teams.
The boys totaled 123.25 points to place ahead of Cloquet (101), Duluth East (87), Proctor (84), Chisago Lakes Area (60), Annandale (52) and Braham (19.25). Cambridge-Isanti scored 172.25.
Earning points for the team by placing eighth or higher and taking first were Arik Steele (110m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Brandon Thauwald (high jump), Jack Klun (triple jump), the 4x100m relay team and the 4x200m relay team.
Max Southbloom (triple jump) came in second, while Rance Ashley (200m dash), Riley Jacobson (300m hurdles) and the 4x400m relay team all took third.
Placing fourth were Matthew Marrin (100m dash) and Austin Wek (110m hurdles, 300m hurdles). Coming in fifth, Kyle Crandell (pole vault) and Levi Kolke (long jump); sixth, Cade Chouinard (100m dash), Ean Charpentier (1600m run) and Nick Helms (shot put); seventh, Josh Collins (pole vault), Hector Rosales (discus throw) and Jacobson (110m hurdles); and finishing eighth were Tennie Jacobson (high jump), Kyle Crowell (1600m run) and the 4x800m relay.
The Viking girls racked up 120 points to place ahead of Annandale (109.5), Cloquet (95), Chisago Lakes (94), Duluth East (93), Proctor (44.5) and Braham (11). Cambridge-Isanti won with 132.
Earning first place were Rhianna Rinke (1600m run), Sherahlynn Linkert (100m hurdles, 300m hurdles), Mikayla Johnson (pole vault) and Kadie Mattson (high jump); second, Madison Kunshier (400m dash), Katie Burnside (pole vault), Crystal Snaza (discus throw) and the 4x200m relay team; third, 4x400m relay team; fourth, Erynn Downey (pole vault) and Bayley Ertl (triple jump); fifth, Gina Amundson (high jump), Jessica Clover (shot put), Mattson (200m dash) and the 4x400m relay team; sixth, Cassidy White (1600m run); and in seventh, Cathie Larson (discus throw), Snaza (shot put) and the 4x800m relay team.
“Finally, our first outdoor meet of the season,” coach Norm Nagel said. “What a beautiful day to be outside. The coaches have been working very hard to prepare the kids for their first outdoor meet since the weather hasn’t cooperated here in Minnesota. The season is half over, and we are already looking at True Team next week and conference in two weeks. If the weather cooperates, we will have some good opportunities to prepare us for our section meet.”
“Arik Steele led the hurdlers, with Austin Wek and Riley Jacobson assisting in earning points. We had nice showings from the 4×100 and 4×200 relays. We have some quality sprinters with some nice depth. That makes it easier for us to experiment with relay teams.
“Brandon Thauwald had a nice night in the high jump and was a last minute substitute in the winning 4×200 relay. Triple jumpers Jack Klun and Max Southbloom took first and second, respectively, with Tennie Jacobson improving week to week. Our throwers are young and are improving weekly.
“Overall, I am very pleased with the second place finish for the boys. Last year, at this same meet, they took fourth place. What a nice improvement.
“SheraLynn Linkert had a great day in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles. The pole vaulters had a great first outing of the season. Rhinanna Rinke had an impressive 1600 meter run. Maddy Kunshier had some competition and placed an impressive second place. She’s not quite she wants to be, but I feel her times will drop since she is just getting outside to work on her 400 meter time. I am very pleased with the throwers and the high jumpers as they assisted in earning points for the team. It’s nice to see Crystal Snaza earning some quality points.
“Making the Raceberry Jam honor roll at this meet were Linkert, Johnson and Burnside.
“I am very impressed with the freshmen girls. There is a lot of talent and some nice depth with them. I’m looking forward to seeing the improvement as the season goes on. Yes, the first outdoor meet. Finally!”