10/18/2012 9:56:00 AM Chisago and North Branch split XC race
By JEFF NORTON
Chisago Lakes Invite Both county cross country teams had one last warm up before the North Suburban Conference Championships, and it just happened to be against each other. North Branch and Chisago Lakes invaded Ki Chi Saga state park last week for a dual meet between the schools. The girls were the first on the course, and it basically became a two-girl duel once the race actually started. Senior Abbi Forsman from Chisago Lakes and eighth-grader Rhianna Rinke of North Branch have seen each other plenty this year. Both girls have competed in the same meet a few times, and every time it’s been close. This one was no exception.
With no runners within a minute of them it was simply a mano-e-mano race between Forsman and Rinke. The CL senior, who actually has only been running cross country for Chisago Lakes for two years, narrowly out-kicked the youngster from North Branch down the stretch and finished just ahead of her. Forsman came in with a time of 15:20 while Rinke clocked in with a time of 15:24. The race remained heated throughout, however. Both teams are very good this year, and it was going to take a whole team effort to get the win. Junior Casey Hovland of North Branch grabbed the third spot with a time of 16:21, giving the early lead to North Branch. Chisago Lakes junior Katie Christ tied the scores when she came in fourth place with a time of 16:46. The Wildcats got another finisher and a boost when seventh grader Rebekah Olinger finished in fifth place with a time of 17:05.
But, Cassidy White of North Branch was the next girl in and she gave North Branch a big boost with a 17:24. Knowing that North Branch’s fifth runner Alyssa Ramberg was outpacing CL’s fifth runner, the meet came down to a sprint to the end between North Branch sophomore Claire Schraufnagel and Chisago Lakes junior Liz Coulter. Schraufnagel was able to hang on for the miniscule victory, winning by three seconds with a time of 17:39 -- Coulter had a 17:42 -- and essentially locking the meet up for North Branch. The Vikings had 18 points by then and Ramberg, a senior was the next to come in, finishing in 18:04 in ninth place, giving the Lady Vikes 27 points. Eighth grader Leia Spicer of Chisago Lakes came in 10th place with a time of 18:11, giving Chisago Lakes 10 points and a total of 28 points. North Branch won 27-28. “Abbi ran a great race to win and Katie and Rebekah ran well to keep us in the hunt,” Chisago Lakes Head Coach Ken Orwoll said. “But, that was an exciting race!” Chisago Lakes’ seventh grader Elli Zemlin finished in 11th place with a time of 18:12. “Getting Elli and Leia experience with the varsity will help the team a lot at conference and sections,” Orwoll said. Boys Luckily, the girls race had enough drama and heartache for two races because the boys was never in doubt for the Wildcats.
Chisago Lakes swept the dual meet with a perfect score. Andy Magnuson, Carl Osterberg, Quinton Lee, Zach West, Carson Velaski and Noah Rockenback swept the top six spots for the Wildcats. Magnuson had the top time with a 17:31, Osterberg clocked a 17:44, Lee had an 18:01, West had an 18:05, Velaski finished in 18:09 and Rockenback crossed the finish line in 18:19. North Branch finally got on the board when Zach Peno finished in seventh place with a time of 18:31. Ean Charpentier, Kyle Crowell, Josh Petrik and Kyle Granger were the other Vikings to score points in the meet. The Wildcats won 15-52 over North Branch. The race was a primer for the North Suburban Conference Championships, which took place earlier this week at the Ponds Golf Course in St. Francis. Rinke and Forsman were among the favorite to win it, and Rinke was able to take home the title. For a complete story on the NSC Championships, check out next week’s edition of The County Press. Totino-Grace has a strong team in both girls and boys this year and they could be the favorite to take the title.