The Forest Lake boys track and field team traveled to Cambridge-Isanti for the Section 5AAA True Team meet last Tuesday. The Rangers took fourth of nine teams with 680 points. Blaine won handily with 1,038.5 points, followed by White Bear Lake (975) and the host Bluejackets (725.5).
On the track, Ranger sophomore Cole Barcroft recorded a fourth-place finish in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.60, while senior Pat Murphy took ninth in 11.75. Senior Preston Huddleston placed ninth in the 200-meter dash in 23.39.
Senior Paul Litecky had a strong showing in the 800-meter run, taking second place in a field of 27 in a near-photo finish among Blaine and Centennial runners. Litecky finished in 2:04.33. The Ranger also placed 10th in the 400-meter dash with a time 53.90.
Sophomore Payton Zeidler was the top Forest Lake hurdler on the day, taking seventh in the 300-meter hurdles (43.59) and 10th in the 110-meter hurdles (17.30).
The 4×100-meter relay team of Murphy, Huddleston, junior Ahmad Montgomery and Barcroft placed second just behind Blaine (44.03) with a time of 44.14. The 4×200-meter squad suffered a disqualification due to a miscue when passing its baton.
Head coach Paul Kendrick said he was happy with the 4×100 performance, given only Murphy returned this season as part of the state champion foursome in 2013.
“Execution-wise, they were great,” Kendrick said. “They were second overall and I think that was the best I’d seen them run. They executed their exchanges very well and had their best time this year.”
Kendrick also mentioned another impressive feat: Zeidler took the title in the high jump with a leap of 6-2. The contest came down to Zeidler and a leaper from Blaine, with both clearing 6-2. The next closest height was 5-8, which Barcroft cleared to tie for fifth place.
Litecky tied for ninth place in the pole vault at 10-6, while Huddleston earned fourth place in the long jump with a distance of 20-0 1/2.
Murphy and junior Drayton Bagan went four-five in the triple jump with marks of 39-5 1/2 and 38-8 3/4, respectively. Sophomore Ben Mahonen took 10th in the event at 37-10.
Junior Quinn Duffy and sophomore Patrick Kasl rounded out the scoring in the shot put. Duffy placed ninth with a mark of 44-9, followed by Kasl in 10th with a distance of 44-3.
Kendrick said his squad finished where he’d expected.
“We’re a young team,” he said. “Some of our guys did really well and saw improvement, and some didn’t. I think the pressure probably caused some to struggle, especially those younger guys, but in championship meets like this, they have to learn how to deal with that pressure. We’ll get there. Overall for where our team is at, I would say taking fourth place met our expectations.”
The longtime head coach said, going forward, his athletes will hone their technical skills and back off on the training to keep their legs fresh for the season’s close.
The Rangers next compete at the Suburban East Conference prelims at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday, May 20, at East Ridge. The finals will take place two days later, starting at 4:15 p.m. at East Ridge.