Track and field boys flock to state

Jacob Jankowski is off to state after placing second in the two-mile run. (Photo by Jeff Hage/Princeton Union-Eagle)

The Forest Lake boys’ track and field team could be looking at a top-10 finish at the state meet this weekend. The stage has been set by a great showing at the Section 7AA meet, where the Rangers took second place overall. Ten athletes will compete over nine entries at Hamline University this Friday and Saturday.

“We’ve had 8-10 kids go a few times, but this is definitely up there with the top we’ve sent,” said coach Paul Kendrick.

The qualifying entries include senior Rich Carr in the 100-meter dash; senior Tommy Tyson in the 200-meter dash and long jump; junior Jacob Jankowski in the 3200-meter run; junior Cody Walton in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles; Carr, junior David Poyerd, senior Pat Moran and Tyson in the 4×100-meter relay; senior Andrew Mansmith, Moran, Tyson and Carr in the 4×200-meter relay; Mansmith, senior Joe Jackson, senior Ben Long and senior Eric Herbert in the 4×400 relay.

Forest Lake totaled 124 points, trailing only Andover (152.5) in the 16-team meet. Elk River took a distant third with 64 points.

The 4×200 team set a new school record despite racing together for the first time all season in the event. The time of 1:29.35 also set the Section 7AA record by over a full second. Carr and Tyson were new to the relay. They typically run both the 100 and 200 dash, but wanted to take part in the 4×200, so Kendrick had them pick one dash or the other.

That plan worked to perfection, as both sprinters qualified in their individual event, as well. Carr took second in the 100 with a time of 11.25, while Tyson logged a personal-best time of 22.51 to take second in the 200. Duluth East’s Quinton Coleman won both events. Carr will make his state debut.

While Tyson will compete at state in the 200 for the first time, this will be his third appearance in the long jump. He easily won the section competition by jumping 22-0.

Walton had an outstanding day in the hurdles. He took first place and set a school record in the 300 with a time of 39.03, which was .02 seconds off the section record. Last year, he took ninth at state with a time of 40.36.

Walton also placed second in the 110 with a personal-best time of 15.44. His quest to advance in three events came up an inch short, as he placed third in the high jump with a leap of 6-2.

The 4×100 relay was coming off a school-record performance in the Suburban East Conference meet and cruised to victory in 42.80. That time broke the section record set by Forest Lake in 2008.

The 4×400 relay was much closer. Herbert came down the stretch neck-and-neck with the Cambridge-Isanti anchor. The Rangers won by the slimmest of margins. Their time of 3:27.04 was a hundredth of a second faster than that of the Bluejackets.

Senior Bennen Bierman came within one place of advancing in the shot put. He finished third with a throw of 52-10.

The Class AA state prelims begin at 9 a.m. on Friday. The finals begin at the same time on Saturday.