2012 Spring Preview: East Ridge boys track team, Roese break records to start seasonEast Ridge High School junior Nate Roese wasted no time picking up where he left off a year ago.
By: Sada Reed, Woodbury Bulletin
East Ridge High School junior Nate Roese wasted no time picking up where he left off a year ago.
After finishing second in the 400-meter dash at last year’s Minnesota State High School League Class AA state meet, Roese set a record at the All American Invitational in River Falls, Wis., last Saturday when he finished the 400 in 50.43 seconds. He broke his own record of 50.58, which he set in 2011. He also won the 200 in 23.07, which was .01 seconds away from tying that record, too.
“We had talked about [the record] beforehand,” coach Shannon Rainey said of his pre-meet conversation with Roese. “The goal was to try to get a personal best, and he said, ‘Alright coach, I’ll try to do that.’ I knew he could.”
Captains Dayo Ogundepo and Jonathan Balagot lead a roster of about 90 athletes this season. Besides Roese, now-graduated Connor Lyons (200 meter dash, 400-meter relay) and Ezekiel Okeleye (400 relay), and current seniors Valentin Huerta (400 relay) and Ogundepo (400 relay) competed at state a year ago. Roese and Ogundepo were also part of the Raptors’ second-place, Section 3AA-finishing 800-meter relay, which helped East Ridge earn seventh place as a team. The Raptors also were seventh at the Suburban East Conference Championship meet.
In terms of veteran talent in the field, junior Allen Swenson returns after placing 12th in the pole vault (11 feet, 6 inches) at last year’s sections, as well as junior William Neuenfeldt, who finished 13th in the shot put (42-9).
“In terms of team intensity, I feel like the kids are working a lot harder this year than they were last year,” said Rainey, who begins his third season with the Raptors. “The expectations are higher and everyone has higher goals this year. People want to work harder and have some good results at the end of the season.”
The Raptors will travel to Stillwater today, followed by a meet at White Bear Lake on Thursday, April 12. A fellow SEC team, Stillwater won last year’s conference meet en route to winning the Class AA state title, and should continue to be a threat in 2012.