Track girls nearly nab section title

Anderson, Dhaene both qualify for state in two events

Photo by Jeff Hage/Princeton Union-Eagle Seventh-grader Allie Bartlett ended up on the podium following a second-place effort in the 3200 at the Section 7AA meet in Princeton. She will race that event at this week’s state meet. (Photo by Jeff Hage/Princeton Union-Eagle)

Clint Riese
Sports Editor

Only two points separated Forest Lake from its first Section 7AA girls’ track title in eight years as the meet came to a close on Saturday in Princeton. Still, it marked the team’s best finish since 2004 and four girls will compete in six events at the state meet.

“I’m very proud,” said coach Eric Kaluza. “We know we can do a little better but yet we’re happy where we are. We’ve made a nice improvement in the last year.”

Indeed, the Rangers in 2011 took fourth at sections and the lone state qualifier was Sam Anderson. The senior will be back at state this weekend and will be joined by teammates Allie Bartlett, Jessica Dhaene and Cassidy Baker.

As she did as a sophomore, Anderson will compete in both the shot put and discus. Last spring, she qualified in the shot put.

Anderson’s sectional effort of 39-7 set a personal record and was good for second place. She edged Molli Detloff of Elk River, who edged Anderson for the final state ticket in discus last year. In last week’s discus competition, Detloff again nipped Anderson for second place, but the Ranger’s throw of 129-1 surpassed the automatic qualifying standard for state.

Defending state champion Maggie Ewen, a junior from St. Francis, defended her section title in both throwing events.

Forest Lake junior Jessica Dhaene continued her breakout season with personal-best times in the 100 and 300 hurdles. Dhaene won the 300 in 45.40, just .02 seconds ahead of Zimmerman’s Cassandra Ortberg. Dhaene placed second in the 100-meter variety with a time of 15.51, edging Ortberg by a hundredth of a second for the final state spot.

Seventh-grader Allie Bartlett used a personal-best effort to qualify in the 3200. She covered the two miles in 11:13 to place second.

The final state-qualifying entry was also the result of a personal best. Ninth-grader Cassidy Baker crushed her previous mark and placed second by clearing 10-3.

Elk River scored 92 points and defended its team title. The Rangers accumulated 90 points to place second out of 15 teams.

“I know that we will continue to improve and progress,” Kaluza said. “Taking second, we were very honored by that and expect to do a little bit better next year.”

The Class AA state meet begins at 9 a.m. this Friday and Saturday at Hamline University.