Three North Branch athletes finished off fine seasons at the Class AA state track and field championships at Hamline University June 9-10.
Evan Amunrud earned the highest finish for the Vikings. Competing in the boys pole vault, the junior cleared the opening height (12 feet) on his first try and negotiated 12 feet, 6 inches on his third attempt. Amunrud then cleared 13 feet to set a new lifetime best.
Amunrud achieved his personal best despite being hampered by a hamstring injury that caused him to miss the Mississippi 8 Conference meet entirely and limited him to just two jumps at the Section 7AA meet.
Amunrud was not able to increase his mark, failing to clear 13 feet, 6 inches in three tries. Amunrud was one of five competitors to top out at 13 feet. On countback tiebreakers, Amunurd was determined as the third-best finisher out of that group, placing him 11th overall. The top nine earned medals and all-state status, a group that included five seniors. Noah Schafer won the state title (14 feet, 6 inches), though in a rare assertion of small-school superiority, the winner of the Class A meet cleared a higher height (Drew Dockendorf, Holdingford, 15 feet, 3 inches).
Viking senior Rhianna Rinke ran the final race of her storied high school career, finishing 16th in the girls 1600 (5:26.30). Rinke qualified for the state meet every year since she was an eighth-grader, running a combined total of nine races, and earned a place on the podium in the 1600 three times (2014, 2015, 2016). Rinke holds the North Branch all-time records in the 1600 (5:00.94) and 3200 (10:54.42) and helped the Vikings reach the True Team state meet five years in a row. She also qualified for five cross-country state meets.
Her high school run complete, Rinke will now take on the NCAA as a scholarship runner at the University of Minnesota, Duluth.
Eighth-grader Katherine Carlson competed in the girls high jump after taking second place at the section meet with a lifetime-best clearance (5 feet, 3 inches). At state, Carlson was unable to clear the opening height (5 feet) and was eliminated without registering a mark.