East Ridge track & field: Raptors headed to stateState-qualifying performances by sophomore Nate Roese and senior Connor Lyons helped the East Ridge boys and girls track and field team make some noise at the Section 3AA track and field meet, held Tuesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 2, at the University of St. Thomas.
By: Patrick Johnson, Staff Writer, South Washington County Bulletin
State-qualifying performances by sophomore Nate Roese and senior Connor Lyons helped the East Ridge boys and girls track and field teams make some noise at the Section 3AA track and field meet, held Tuesday, May 31 and Thursday, June 2, at the University of St. Thomas.
Out of 15 teams competing, the East Ridge boys and girls teams each took seventh place. The East Ridge boys earned 43.50 points and the girls scored 38.50 points. Apple Valley won the boys meet with 107 points, followed by Eastview, just two points back with 105 points. Prior Lake won the girls meet with 129 points, followed by Apple Valley with 104 points.
After taking 13th place last year, Roese finished as the Section 3AA champion in the 400-meter dash, winning the race in exciting fashion.
Behind with 100 meters remaining, Roese pulled ahead of Apple Valley junior Mitch Hechesel to win the race and earn a trip to state. Roese’s time of 49.71 seconds was just a hair back from the state-qualifying time of 49.67.
“He was in lane five, so I could see him in front of me the whole time,” Roese said. “I figured I’d catch up to him at the 200 mark, but I didn’t get him and had to go all out at the end.”
Roese said it wasn’t the best race he’s run this season and he wasn’t happy about that.
“It was a lot of fun,” Roese said. “He went out really fast, but I got him with that extra kick at the end. I just went 100 percent all out. I just went as fast as I can no matter what my body feels like. It took a lot out of me.”
Lyons very nearly qualified for state in three of his four events. He finished in second place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 23.24 to earn a trip to state and helped the Raptors’ 400-meter relay team — along with senior Ezekiel Okeleye and juniors Val Huerta and Dayo Ogundepo — beat the state-qualifying time of 43.41 with a 42.96 in the event finals, taking third place. Apple Valley senior Jordan Crockett won the 200 in a time of 22.44 and Apple Valley won the 400-meter relay race with a time of 42.41, followed by Park, which took second in 42.85.
Lyons said he didn’t know he qualified for the state meet in the 200 until they announced his name for the podium.
“It’s really exciting,” Lyons said. “I was really nervous waiting for the announcements. In the race, I was second-to-last around the turn, but had a lot of energy in the straightaway and was able to just pass the third-place person.”
Lyons and East Ridge almost went to state in the 800-meter relay, too, taking second place with a time of 1 minute, 30.22 seconds — just .03 back from the state-qualifying time of 1:30.19.
“I’m really pumped about going to state, especially our four-by-100 relay,” Lyons said. “It’s really exciting. I love that relay. From the start of the year, the four-by-100 was the race we wanted to win state in. Now, we’re one step closer. The four-by-200 not making it is really upsetting. I hurt my foot and stumbled. I feel bad because I know we could have been three-hundredths faster if that didn’t happen. But, two out of three is really good in my opinion. I’m really happy.”
East Ridge junior Kevin Ig-Izebekhai nearly qualified for the state meet in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, two inches, which was just short of the qualifying height of 6-05. Eastview senior Frank Veldman won the event, going over 6-11.
East Ridge senior Dayo Idowu reached the finals and took seventh place in the long jump. His best jump of 21-01, was just back of the qualifying distance of 21-07 in the event. Fellow senior Ali Elbasher also reached the finals, in the triple jump, taking eighth place. His leap of 43-06, was shy of the 44-07 state-qualifying mark.
Additionally, East Ridge senior Jeff Kuss took ninth place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.37 and 12th in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 43.29.
Ogundepo took 13th place in the 100 (11.67). Junior Erik Jorgensen was 13th in the 400-meter dash (53.25). Junior Braedon Hyland finished 17th in the 1600-meter run (4:49.68)
Jorgensen, Hyland and seniors Idowu and Andres Guerra teamed up to help the Raptors’ 1600-meter relay team earn sixth place (3:33.28). Also, in the field, East Ridge sophomore William Neuenfeldt took 13th place with a heave of 42-09.
Ethier leads way for Raptors girls
In the girls meet, East Ridge junior Nicole Ethier reached the finals in the 200-meter dash, the 400-meter dash and in the triple jump.
In the 200, she finished third with a time of 26.86. Apple Valley senior Taylor Browning won the race in 25.19. The state-qualifying time was 25.84. In the 400, she also took third place, with a time of 58.83, just back of the 57.29 state-qualifying time. A pair of Prior Lake seniors finished ahead of her in 57.93 and 58.69, respectively. In the triple jump, Ethier took sixth place with a leap of 34-05. Eastview senior Alexandra Beckman won the event with a 36-06.50. The qualifying mark for state was 35-11.
East Ridge freshman Bailey Ness earned fifth place in the 1600-meter run with a time of 5:22.97 and in sixth place in the 3200-meter run with a 11:39.27 time. The mile race was won by Prior Lake junior Taylor Scholl (5:13.27). Burnsville freshman Vivian Hett won the two-mile race in 11:22.50.
Raptors’ freshman Caitlin Cheeseboro reached the finals of the 100-meter hurdles, taking seventh place in 17.56. Richfield star Jessica January won the race in 14.67. The state-qualifying time in the event was 15.21.
In the field, East Ridge senior Kelsey Schnabel took fifth place, clearing a distance of 5-0. Eagan sophomore Kelsey Dousette won the event, going over 5-03. The qualifying height for state was 5-04. In the shot put, East Ridge junior Nicollette Brown took ninth place, reaching the finals, with a heave of 35-01.
Junior Leah Robinette earned eighth place in the pole vault, going over 9-01. East Ridge junior Alicia Ickstadt took 10th in the long jump with a leap of 15-09.50, just missing the finals.
The state track and field meet takes place on June 10 and 11 at Hamline University in St. Paul. The Class AA meet prelims begins at 9 a.m. Friday, June 10.
“We still haven’t ran our best races I don’t think,” Lyons said. “This is just a blast.”