Viking runners peak at conference

NB girls place sixth, Rinke takes third overall

The North Branch boys cross-country team competed at the Mississippi Eight Conference meet, where they took eighth place out of 10 teams.

Weather postponed the meet a day from Oct. 15 to Oct. 16 due to wet weather conditions at the Ponds Golf Course in St. Francis.

The Vikings earned 235 points, while St. Michael-Albertville took first place with 50 points followed by Buffalo with 63.

Senior Kyle Granger led North Branch with a 42nd-place finish of 77 runners in 18:05 with sophomore Scott Ramberg trailing closely in 43rd place with a time of 18:11.

Sophomore Josh Petrik finished in 52nd place with a time of 18:41, while senior Kyle Crowell took 55th in 18:45. Senior Alex Fitcha rounded out the scoring for the North Branch boys in 18:54, good for 59th place.

The Viking girls finished sixth overall of the 10 teams in St. Francis last Wednesday with 167 points.

Monticello placed first with 41 points, followed by St. Michael-Albertville with 90 points.

Ninth-grader Rhianna Rinke paved the way for the Vikings with a third-place finish in 14:28 out of 75 runners in the varsity field; she also earned a personal best by 13 seconds. Rinke also garnered all-conference honors at the race.

Senior Cassidy White placed 25th in 16:13 for all-conference honorable mention, followed by ninth-grader Madison Belland taking 36th with a time of 16:42.

Ninth-grader Laura Dolezalek placed 42nd in 16:46, while ninth-grader Grace Puchtel rounded out the North Branch scoring in 70th (18:08).

Almost all Viking junior varsity and varsity runners ran for personal bests at the Mississippi Eight Conference race.

Head coach Tom Kingsland said the meet was a good indication of the North Branch runners peaking at the right time.

“Our athletes met their goals and showed that all of their hard work this season has paid off,” Kingsland said. “As coaches, we want our athletes to improve and reach their full potential. We believe that they have done that and are extremely proud of how they performed this week.”

Both the North Branch boys and girls cross-country teams travel to Cloquet Oct. 24 for the Section 7AA meet. Start time for the girls is 2 p.m. with the boys beginning at 2:45 p.m.

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