6/12/2014 11:21:00 AM North Branch sends five athletes to podium including a second place finish by Steele
Kyle Crandell earned a medal in the pole vault.
Mikayla Johnson earned a third place finish in the pole vault.
BY CHUCK FITZER
By Chuck Fitzer
The Vikings got five athletes to the podium (which generally means a ninth-place finish or better) at last week’s Class AA state track and field championship. Junior Arik Steele had the highest finish for a Viking, coming in second in the 110 meter hurdles. And after a seventh place finish at state last year, sophomore pole vaulter Mikayla Johnson vaulted 11’3” to take third place this year. The meet took place at Hamline University in St. Paul on Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7.
Girls Freshman Rhianna Rinke had a busy couple of days at the state meet. She finished eighth in the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:01.00, three seconds faster than her previous personal best. She also competed in the 3200 meter run and was also part of the 4 x400 relay team, consisting of Rinke, Maddy Kunshier, Cassie Kunshier and Haley Huset. The Vikings finished last in their heat in the 4 x 400. North Branch head girls’ track coach Norm Nagel said “Haley had a nice leg in the four-by-four considering she had some hamstring problems that she also had during sections .” Junior Jessica Stendahl, in her first time qualifying for the state meet, competed in the 100 meter hurdles and finished last in her heat. Kingsland said “Overall, I am very proud of the girls’ performance at the state track meet. It was a very difficult state meet to qualify for and the girls should also be very proud of themselves. Next year, we will also be very talented, with the loss of just a few seniors. What a great way to end the 2014 track season!”
Boys Steele’s second place finish in the 110 meter hurdles was just .07 seconds behind first place Matt Baker of Mounds View. Steel e also did well in the 300 meter hurdles, coming in seventh with a time of 40.85 seconds. Junior Kyle Crandall’s vault of 13’6” in the pole vault equaled his season’s personal best and enabled him to finish seventh. Senior Brandon Thauwald tied for twelfth in the high jump with a leap of 5’10”. Steels and fellow juniors Matthew Marrin, Max Southbloom and Eli Chouinard competed in the 4 x 100 meter relay, but were disqualified because of a bad baton exchange. North Branch head boys’ track coach Tom Kingsland said “All the boys and girls had a great year and I am really looking forward to next year.”