While the season is young, the Braham track team has shown the ability to score points in bunches as it competed in a Great River Conference relay meet at Aitkin on Tuesday, April 20, along with a meet at East Central two days later.
At East Central the Bombers were led by their senior standouts, Hannah Cornelius on the girls side and Jacob Kern for the boys.
Cornelius swept the sprints, winning the 100 (13.17), 200 (27.2) and 400 (1:01.19), while Kern also won the 100 (11.93), 200 (25.2), and 400 (53.2) while adding a victory in the pole vault (8-6).
In the meet at Aitkin, each team was represented by two competitors in field events and strictly relays were run on the track. The Braham girls 800 medley relay team won that event, as did the boys pole vault duo of Kern and John Cacioppo.
Braham track coach Amber Hoffman said she has been pleased by the depth her teams have exhibited to start the season.
Among the early season surprises have been a group of seventh graders that includes Bridget Golly in the sprints and jumps, distance runners Emily Davis and Avery Shockman, jumper and distance runner Tyler Eklund, and hurdler Megan Cronin.
“These seventh graders are placing individually at varsity meets, which I find to be really impressive,” Hoffman said.
North Branch opened the season with an 11-1 victory over Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday, April 15, then added a win over Big Lake the following evening before losing its next two games.
Vikings senior Jordan Axberg allowed just one hit while striking out 12 over five innings to earn the victory over Cambridge-Isanti, while Adam Richards and Bryce Skiba each had two hits to lead the offense against the Bluejackets.
North Branch rallied for five runs in the sixth inning to claim a 5-1 win over Big Lake. Senior Anthony Hartlieb’s two-run single was one of the key hits in that late rally.
Last week the Vikings dropped a 10-1 decision to Chisago Lakes on Tuesday, April 20, then fell 11-8 at Monticello two days later.
“We fell behind early [at Monticello], just like we did against Chisago Lakes,” coach Steve Christensen said. “We had some opportunities throughout the game, but their pitching and defense shut us down. We finally broke out the bats in the seventh, but we fell short.”
Meanwhile Cambridge-Isanti, after losing its opener to North Branch, dropped an 18-3 decision to St. Francis in its home opener on Tuesday, April 20, then rebounded to shut out Chisago Lakes 2-0 two days later.
Cambridge-Isanti finished fourth in a very tight Mississippi 8 Conference meet held at Bulrush on Thursday, April 22. The Bluejackets finished just two shots out of second place, as places two through five were decided by a mere four shots.
Individually, senior Easton Parnell led C-I, finishing fifth in a field of 48 golfers with a 77, while sophomore Logan Westman fired an 81 to earn 10th.
Braham has several players on the fringes of the Great River Conference leaderboard after playing in a tournament at Purple Hawk on Tuesday, April 20, as senior Zack Yerke stands 10th overall while fellow senior Al Londgren is tied for 11th.
Cambridge-Isanti currently stands in second place in the Mississippi 8 Conference while North Branch is in fifth after two rounds of league play last week.
Cambridge-Isanti finished second in the meet hosted by Monticello on Thursday, April 15, firing a 394 that trailed only Becker but was nine shots better than Chisago Lakes in third. C-I then placed third at North Branch Golf Course on Thursday, April 22, with a 401 team score.
Senior Jasmyn Sibell leads the M8 after claiming medalist honors in both meets, shooting an 85 at Monticello before carding an 86 at North Branch. Sophomore Emily Nystrom is in 12th place, while seniors Ashton Parnell and Maggie Kurowski rank 19th and 20th, respectively.
Meanwhile North Branch placed fifth in both of those meets, firing a 417 at Monticello before carding a 437 on its home course.
Junior Hailey Bistodeau leads the Vikings and ranks seventh overall, while senior Chloe Moline is 10th.
Rush City junior Maggie Roth played well in the Great River Conference meet hosted by Purple Hawk on Tuesday, April 20. Roth shot a 94 to earn medalist honors at that event.
Close behind her are several Braham standouts. Freshman Madison Davis finished second at Purple Hawk, while seniors Jenna Bostrom and Tessa Burmaster were part of a three-way tie for third.
North Branch opened the season with a 4-0 victory at Cambridge-Isanti on Thursday, April 15. Freshman Hannah Bernier struck out 15 in that victory, while senior Sophie Smith hammered a home run to lead the offense.
Bernier allowed just five hits and one earned run in a 3-0 loss to Chisago Lakes on Tuesday, April 20, and the Vikings dropped a 5-4 decision at Monticello two days later despite 3-for-4 performances at the plate by both junior Makenna Runk and junior Maddie Helin.
Cambridge-Isanti is off to a 2-4 start this season. After opening with a 4-0 loss to Proctor on Thursday, April 8, the Bluejackets beat Duluth Denfeld 7-6 two days later.
C-I lost to both North Branch and Hermantown before claiming its second win of the season, a 12-3 rout of St. Francis in which junior Clouie Nelson and sophomore Sydney Epple each had three of the Bluejackets’ 14 hits.
Nelson posted two doubles in the win, while Epple had a double and a triple good for three RBIs.
Cambridge-Isanti improved to 7-1 overall and 3-1 in Mississippi 8 action with two victories last week. The Bluejackets beat St. Francis 5-2 on Tuesday, April 20, then knocked off Chisago Lakes by the same margin two days later.
C-I won three of the four singles matches against St. Francis and took two of the three doubles contests; the Bluejackets swept the four singles matches and also claimed a win by senior Rigo Mork and freshman Caden Chesla at first doubles.
North Branch claimed its first victory of the season by sweeping Big Lake 7-0 on Tuesday, April 20. Seniors Josh Newman and Noah Schwartzrock both did not lose a game in winning at first and second singles, respectively, while Ryan Hink also did not lose a game to win at fourth singles in his first varsity singles match.
Cambridge-Isanti is off to a fast start, having won its first two meets of the season. The Bluejackets defeated Cloquet, Duluth East and Mora in a quadrangular on Thursday, April 15, then Grand Rapids, Elk River and Hibbing in a quad it hosted on Thursday, April 22.
In the season-opening meet C-I had six individuals collect one first-place each. Senior Andrew Head won the 55-meter hurdles with a time of 8.76 seconds, while the other winners were senior Gaven Ziebarth in the 100 (11.33), junior Jaxon Jones in the 1,600 (4:52.39), junior Sam Mechah in the 400 (55.13), junior Zander Gallmeier in the 800 (2:11.55) and senior Ethan Hintermeister in the pole vault (13-0).
Head and Ziebarth were double winners in the April 22 quadrangular. Head won the 110 hurdles (16.89) and the 300 hurdles (44.95), while Ziebarth won the 100 (11.55) and 200 (23.84). Other winners for the Bluejackets were Jones in the 1,600 (4:55.00), junior Devin Larson in the long jump (19-6.5), senior Jacob Ziebarth won the high jump (6-0), Hintermeister in the pole vault (14-6), and junior Cooper Laase in the discus (115-2).
North Branch finished behind Chisago Lakes and St. Francis in a triangular the Wildcats hosted on Thursday, April 22. Senior Harrison Toussaint was a double winner for the Vikings in this meet, capturing first in the 110 (15.69) and 300 hurdles (42.92) while clearing 6-0 to tie junior Logan Murphy for second in the high jump.
Meanwhile quarantine restrictions limited Rush City to just two competitors in the meet at Pine City on Friday, April 23. But senior Jacy Dominguez-Perrin won the triple jump with a best leap of 37-1, and he took third in the 100 (12.03), sixth in the 200 (25.59) and fifth in the 400 (59.69). Senior Mitch Mell placed fourth in the 300 hurdles (49.25) and sixth in the 1,600 (5:34.47).
Cambridge-Isanti finished third among four teams in a tightly contested quadrangular the school hosted on Thursday, April 22. The Bluejackets finished with 166 points, just 12 behind first-place Elk River and seven fewer than Grand Rapids in second.
Junior Aiyana Knight and senior Emily Jones both were double winners for C-I in the meet. Knight took first in both the 200 (27.59) and the 400 (59.87), while Jones claimed the high jump (4-10) and the triple jump (34-4.5).
Other winners for the Bluejackets included senior Larissa Block in the 100, McKenna Sjoberg in the 1600 (6:04.59), and freshman Hannah Bingham in the 300 hurdles (54.14).
North Branch placed second in a triangular hosted by Chisago Lakes, collecting 71.5 points to fall just 11.5 points behind the host.
Senior Paige Bauer was a triple winner for the Vikings, taking first in the 200 (28.46), the high jump (5-0) and the pole vault (11-0). She led a strong North Branch performance in the field events as eighth grader Asaysha Olson won the triple jump (30-9), senior Abigail Schulte won the shot put (35-7), and seventh grader Kylie Anderson won the shot put (89-5).
Other firsts came from eighth grader Dakota Esget in the 100 (13.55) and junior Elizabeth Groen in the 300 hurdles (55.07),
Rush City had just one competitor in the meet at Pine City on Friday, April 23, but senior Ashley Lindberger won the 100 hurdles (18.73) and placed second in the 300 hurdles (54.26).