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East Ridge senior Nate Roese won the state championship in the 400-meter dash and earned fourth-place in the 200-meter dash at last year's state meet.

2013 Spring Preview: Roese returns to East Ridge boys track and field team in search of more gold

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Nate Roese made history for the Raptors a year ago. This spring, he'll lead the way once again for the East Ridge boys track and field team.

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Roese, now a senior, won the state championship in the 400-meter dash and earned fourth-place in the 200-meter dash at last year's state meet. Roese won the 400 in 47.79 seconds, edging defending state champion Austin Salargo, a 2012 graduate from Hopkins, who had a time of 47.91. Roese's time was within .2 seconds of tying the all-time state meet record of 47.59, set by Randy Melbourne of Minneapolis Washburn in 1993.

Roese is one of four state champions in the four-year history of East Ridge High School. Fellow 2013 graduates Jenna Karrow and Elizabeth Koprucki and 2012 graduate Leah Robinette are the others. Karrow won the 2010 diving state title, Robinette won the vault state title last year and Koprucki won the alpine skiing individual title this past winter.

In addition to Roese, East Ridge's Allen Swenson competed in the pole vault at the state meet, finishing in 16th place after clearing 12 feet, 6 inches. Lee Bares of Lakeville South defended his 2011 title in the event, winning by clearing 15 feet, 6 inches. Swenson, also a senior this season, advanced to state after finishing second in the section meet by clearing 12 feet, 11 inches.

Along with Roese and Swenson, other key athletes returning to the East Ridge track team are expected to include: high jumper Jayden Cline, sprinter Emilio Huerta, middle distance runners Sam Boardman and August Ollrich, distance runner Ryan Schiferl and thrower William Neuenfeldt. However, the Raptors will need to replace their top sprinter - Dayo Ogundepo - who was a 2012 grad.

With a few indoor meets under their belts, the Raptors will hope to start the outdoor season with the White Bear Lake Relays on April 11 at White Bear Lake High School.

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