Forest Lake girls track earned second place at the Suburban East Conference meet at East Ridge last Thursday in what head coach Eric Kaluza called “a pleasant surprise.” The Rangers earned 144.5 points to edge out the defending conference champion, Stillwater, by just three points. Mounds View took the title with 180 points.
The Rangers had two individual conference title holders in three events: senior Jessica Dhaene in the 100-meter hurdles and junior Caitlin Freer in the triple and high jumps.
Freer’s triple jump measured 36-02, earning her the title by four inches, while she cleared 5-0 in the high jump. Also scoring points in the triple jump were ninth-grader Abby
Jungwirth in fifth place (34-10) and senior Merina Lenz in ninth (33-06.50). Jungwirth added another five team points with a tie for four place in the high jump at 4-10, followed by senior Taylor Moore in a tie for fifth place. She cleared 4-8.
Sophomore Cassidy Baker came up big for the Rangers in the pole vault, taking second by clearing 10-6, followed by junior Katie Dison, who took fifth at 9-06.
Ninth-grader Gena Baklund put points on the board by taking eighth in the discus throw with a distance of 101-1.
On the track side, Dhaene lit up the 100-meter hurdle field, taking first in 15.03.
“Jess just obliterated the competition by about a half-second,” Kaluza said. “That just doesn’t happen in sprints.”
Senior Adele Hanson took eighth in the same final to give her team a boost in points. Dhaene also took second in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 45.99.
The distance runners carried the team again in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs by earning a total of 39 points between the two races.
Eighth-grader Allie Bartlett placed third in the mile with a time of 5:11.68, followed closely by ninth-grader Emma Benner (5:14.61), seventh-grader Caroline Schoessow (5:15.92) and sophomore Rocci Wohlk (5:27.49) for fifth, sixth and ninth place.
Benner led the way in the 3,200-meter run with a second-place finish in 11:28.77, just three seconds behind the SEC champ from East Ridge. Schoessow came in four seconds later for fourth place while Bartlett finished in fifth at 11:47.80.
Eighth-grader Maria Valentin turned on the jets in the 800-meter run for fourth place in 2:19.99, followed by Wohlk in ninth (2:26.49).
In the relays, the team of seniors Olivia Norman, Liz Thordson, junior Kristy Dellwo and senior anchor Dhaene took fourth in the 4×200-meter with a time of 1:47.62.
Valentin, Dellwo, Bartlett and Benner placed seventh in the 4×400-meter relay with a time of 4:17.68.
The 4×800 relay team of eighth-graders Amanda Fortili, Isabel Leininger, Abbie Asperheim and sophomore Maddie Clepper took sixth with a time of 10:23.42, while the 4×100 relay team of Norman, senior Amina Cheikh, Thordson and senior Amanda Sievers placed seventh. Cheikh also took ninth in the 100-meter dash in 12.97.
Kaluza mentioned that, not only does his squad have standout athletes, but the depth of his team is what gives the Rangers an advantage.
“I thought the jumps really came through, especially Caitlin, Abby and Merina, plus the pole vaulters pulled it off,” Kaluza said. “Caroline is another one. She’s only a seventh-grader and maybe doesn’t understand how legitimate and big of a meet this is, but just does what I ask and takes care of business. She’s going to be fantastic as the years go on.”
Forest Lake traveled to Duluth on Wednesday for the Section 7AA preliminaries at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. The finals are set for Saturday, June 1.