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Rebels, Panthers, Eskomos race to state appearances

In Thursday's boys Section 7A meet, Moose Lake/Willow River had four first-place finishes, but that was not enough to overcome the depth of the teams which finished in first and second.

The Rebels grabbed first place in the 4x200-meter and 4x800 relays and then got second place in the 4x100 relay behind South Ridge. The Rebels won the 4x200 in 1:34.37, the 4x800 in 8:20.25, and then ran a 45.18 in the 4x100, which was second to the South Ridge's 44.91.

The boys title went to Greenway/Nashwauk-Keewatin with 82, with Esko finishing a close second with 78.50 points.

The top two individual finishers in all events move on to the Minnesota State High School League Boys and Girls State Track & Field meet at St. Michael-Albertville High School this weekend.

"Our kids worked hard and knew if they ran their best they'd have a shot at going to state," said Rebels coach Noah Jurek. "We are sending 12 runners to state, which we are pretty sure is the most in school history. We have 11 boys going to State, and one girl."

The Rebels 4x800 relay team set the school record in the subsections last week and bettered that at sections. Relay members include Maverick Koecher, Sam Stadin, Zach Youngs and Joseph Mikrot, with Daniel Mikrot as the alternate.

Winning the 4x200 relay for the Rebels were Jackson Thompson, Grant Pettit, Jaxsyn Schmidt and Kaden Robbins. Alternates were Adam Olson and Carter Johnson.

The winning South Ridge 4x100 relay team featured some talented runners.

"The boys 4x100-meter relay didn't disappoint. They were undefeated in conference and section competition during the regular season with one loss to Cloquet," coach Jeremy Polson said. It's the first title in school history for a boys relay team.

One of those South Ridge 4x100 runners was Tony Cummins, who also made it to state individually by taking second in the 300-meter hurdles.

ML/WR also got a first-place finish from Carter Johnson in the long jump of 20-4.5, and another first in the pole vault from Jackson Thompson who soared to a height of 13 feet.

"Carter Johnson is quite a story, because he spent most of his time playing on the baseball team," Jurek said. "This was only his third long jump and he is starting to get it figured out, plus he anchored the 4x100 relay team, which took second."

Carter Zezulka of Esko finished second in the high jump with a leap of 5-11 to add to the Eskomos point total.

Gage Stankiewicz of Esko continued his domination in the weight events by winning a surprisingly tight discus battle with Deekon Anvid of South Ridge.

Stankiewicz threw 166-4 in the discus and Anvid threw 162-4 inches to nab second. Stankiewicz also won the shot put with a toss of 49-5.5. Anvid has slowly crept into contention in the discus with some impressive late season throws.

"Deekon made big progress this season and is one of the top throwers in the state," Polson said. "The main goal for the section meet was to hit the state qualifying standard of just under 151 feet."

Kaden Robbins of ML/WR also was impressive with two-second place finishes in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. He ran 11.72 in the 100 and 23.92 in the 200, and anchored the winning 4x200 relay for the Rebels.

Noah Foster of Cromwell-Wright had nice 3200-meter run, but was second to three-time state champion Geno Urbohm of Greenway-Nashwauk/Keewatin. Urbohm won in 10:12.50 to Foster's 10:26.69.