The Forest Lake boys track team finished fourth at the Suburban East Conference meet last Thursday at East Ridge with 125.5 points. Roseville took the title with 169 points, followed by Stillwater (163) and Woodbury (126).
Head coach Paul Kendrick said he is more than happy with the effort of his team.
“With the group of athletes that we have, I think that this has been our best meet of the year overall,” Kendrick said. “I’m happy with the progress we’ve made this year, and we had a lot of personal bests here.”
The Rangers showcased their elite athletes in the hurdles, 100-meter dash, discus and high jump by placing first in five events.
Senior Cody Walton cruised past the competition in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 37.75, nearly two seconds ahead of the runner-up from Mounds View. Walton also took the conference title in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.76 and was the sole leaper to clear 6-4 in the high jump to take first.
Forest Lake excelled in the 100-meter dash, qualifying four Rangers for the finals with a one-two-five finish. Senior Rich Carr took off to clinch first with a time of 10.75 to tie the SEC record and set a new Forest Lake High School record, last set in 1993 by two-time state champion in the 100- and 200-meter dash, Bobby Ewings. Senior Zach Freer leaned to grab third by less than a tenth of a second at 11.13, while senior Andrew Wright earned a new personal best at 11.29, good for fifth place.
“It really says a lot about these guys,” Kendrick said. “Rich (Carr) is an elite athlete, Zach (Freer) could qualify for state, and Andrew (Wright) went out and got a personal best. For our conference and the speed in it, this was a really nice showing.”
Carr also placed in the 200-meter dash after backing off due to a tight hamstring. The sprinter still placed third with a time of 22.80.
Senior Anthony Tyler earned an SEC title in the discus with a distance of 169-03, beating out the runner-up from Stillwater by more than 11 feet and the third-place finisher from Woodbury by nearly 18 feet.
In the relays, Forest Lake placed second in the 4×100-meter (43.11) with the team of Wright, Freer, senior David Poyard and Carr, just missing the title by less than a tenth of a second. Carr nearly caught the winning Roseville runner, closing the gap by 10 yards in the final leg, but ran out of room.
The 4×200-meter relay team of Walton, junior Preston Huddleston, senior Andrew Montean and Freer took fourth with a time of 1:30.88 while the 4×800-meter relay squad of junior Paul Litecky, sophomore Chris Delgado, ninth-grader Davis Long and sophomore Sam Finch placed seventh (8:31.24).
Montean put up points in the 400-meter dash with a sixth-place finish in 52.33, while senior Jacob Jankowski raced for two top-seven finishes in the distance events.
Jankowski took sixth in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:34.03, just missing top five by less than a second, and took seventh in the 3,200-meter run with a time of 9:53.80.
Huddleston earned some team points in the long jump with a seventh-place finish after leaping for a distance of 21-4.50, while Litecky contributed in the pole vault by clearing 11-0, good for a tie for ninth place.
The Rangers headed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth on Wednesday for the preliminary round of the Section 7AA meet and compete for finals in Duluth on Saturday, June 1.
“We have a good chance to place several athletes at the state meet,” Kendrick said. “If we run clean and stay focused, we will be very competitive, and as always, we are shooting to win the section.”