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East Ridge girls track & field: Eight Raptors earn All-State

The East Ridge 1600-meter relay team, from left, junior Megan Amend, senior Nicole Ethier, sophomore Kiera Joiner and freshman Brenley Goertzen, earned fifth place, finishing in 3:59.29, at the state meet to earn All-State honors. (Photo courtesy of Kent Johnson)1 / 2
East Ridge freshman Brenley Goertzen helped the East Ridge girls 3200-meter and 1600-meter relay teams finish with All-State honors. (Photo courtesy of Kent Johnson)2 / 2

Eight athletes spread throughout three events helped East Ridge High School's girls track and field team finish its 2012 season in style last weekend.

The Raptors completed the 2012 Minnesota State High School League State Track and Field meet with a fifth-place finish in the 3200-meter and 160-meter relays and an eighth-place finish in the 800-meter relay race at Hamline University in St. Paul.

At the state meet, teams are awarded points and All-State honors for finishing in the top nine places in each event. A first place finish garners 12 points, second place gets 10 points, third place earns eight points, and so on. The ninth place finisher earns one point.

"It was a great job for us," said East Ridge head girls track coach Lloyd Ness. "To get all three relays to finish with All-State [honors] was a great day for our track team and for the girls."

As a team, East Ridge finished in 23rd place with 12 points. Lakeville South won the team title with 56.50 points.

The 4x200-and 4x400 relays placed fourth and third, respectively, in their preliminary heats last Friday in order to advance to last Saturday's finals.

In the 4x800, East Ridge freshman Emily Betz, Brenley Goertzen, sophomore Sandra Gramer and senior Nicole Ethier finished in 9 minutes, 32.11 seconds, taking fifth behind winner Minnetonka, which won in 9:21.51. The defending champion, Rochester Century, was eighth.

For the 4x400 finals, sophomore Kiera Joiner, Goertzen, junior Megan Amend, and Ethier earned fifth place, finishing in 3:59.29. Prior Lake beat defending champion Hopkins with a time of 3:54.91.

Freshman Raven Tittle, senior Alica Ickstadt, Amend and Ethier finished the 4x200 finals in 1:45.23 for eighth-place honors. The winner, Osseo, set a meet record with 1:40.22. The former record of 1:40.25 was set in 2011 by defending champion Hopkins.

Besides being the final prep meet for seniors Ickstadt and Ethier, it was also a fully loaded weekend for Ethier, who anchored all three relays. Considering two relays had preliminary races, Ethier went on to anchor five races in two days.

"That was a tough day for someone that is 17, 18 years old," Ness said. "To be our anchor is something that is really kind of an amazing feat."

It will be difficult to replace the seniors, Ness said, but knowing six All-State sprinters could return to the team in 2013 is something to look forward to.

"To get that many people qualified was a giant accomplishment for us," Ness said.