21 move on to state meet this weekend

The Forest Lake boys and girls track and field teams put together strong performances at the Section 7AA championships at Chisago Lakes May 29 and June 1, qualifying no fewer than 21 athletes to this weekend’s Class AA state meet, the largest contingent of any team in the section.

The top two finishers in each event were guaranteed a trip to state.

The Ranger boys dominated the relay races, sweeping to first place finishes in all four. In the 4x100, juniors Gabe Brisbois and Calder Erick, senior Tristan Cordie and sophomore Slade Heald won a tight battle with Cambridge-Isanti, completing their lap in 43.01 seconds to beat the Bluejackets by six hundredths. Cordie and Erick were joined by seniors Jack Anderson and Matthew Schoessow in winning the 4x200 (1:29.66) by half a second over another Cambridge entry.

Anderson, Schoessow, Cordie and sophomore Drew Sampson won the 4x400 in 3:26.63, and the 4x800 team of Sampson, freshman Dan Vanacker, and juniors Jeremiah Vanacker and Austin Sievers were first to the line in 8:18.07.

Dan Vanacker was a two-time champion, taking the 3200 meter run in a new lifetime best time (9:49.05). Senior Keanu Zurita outran all challengers in the 300 hurdles (39.47).

Advancing to state as runners-up in their events were Jack Anderson in the 400 (50.62) and junior Max Charlsen in the 1600 (4:32.14). In addition to his 4x100 win, Heald moved on to state in three jumping events as the silver medalist, earning marks of 6 feet, 2 inches in the high jump, 22-11.25 in the long jump and 42-11.5 in the triple jump.

In the girls meet, senior Jen Valley was the leading Ranger, winning the long jump (16-9.75) and triple jump (36-4.5) while also claiming a third gold medal and state trip as a member of the 4x100 relay team with seniors Maddy Dolby and Sofia Dodge, and freshman Annika Gunderson.

The 4x800 team of sophomore Amelea Hauer and freshmen Isabel Castilleja, Ella Niznik and Annabelle Stang moved on to state in second place (9:37.78). Senior Regan Duffy also advanced, placing second in the 3200 (11:25.35).

Duffy was just edged out of a state trip in the 1600, finishing third in 5:14.58, while the two qualifiers ran 5:13.86 and 5:14.41.

Other girls who came close to making state were Niznik in the 800 (third, 2:19.17), Dodge in the pole vault (10-7) and Dolby in the 200 (fourth, 26.31).

Boys who placed highly included Brisbois in the 100 (third, 11.40), Schoessow in the 400 (third, 51.35), Zurita in the long jump (third, 21-8), senior Sam Locke in the discus (141-4.5) and senior Charlie Babcock, who has battled injury this season, in the 3200 (fourth, 10:10.54).

Although the team trophies in track are purely for bragging rights, both Ranger teams have something to brag about: The boys were crowned section champions, and the girls were runners-up.

The Class AA state meet will be held at Hamline University Friday and Saturday. Action will commence at 9 a.m. on both days.

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