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Royals, Raptors send slate of athletes to state track meet

Woodbury's Abiola Abodunde and Johnathan Osifuye bump fists atop the podium after their 4X200 relay team took first place at the Section 4AA track meet. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker1 / 7
East Ridge's 4X400 relay team grabbed second place at the Section 4AA meet. That team comprised junior Kiera Joiner, sophomore Kathleen Marcus, Amend and Goertzen. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker2 / 7
Woodbury senior Johnathan Osifuye set the school record in the long jump at the Section 4AA track meet. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker3 / 7
East Ridge senior Karina Joiner punched her card to state with a first-place finish in the girls 100-meter hurdles event. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker4 / 7
Raptors Nate Rose and August Ollrich placed first and second, respectively, in the boys 400-meter dash event. Both runners qualified for state. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker5 / 7
Woodbury's KeyShawn Lee ran the anchor leg of the 4X200 relay team that took first place at the Section 4AA track meet. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker6 / 7
Woodbury freshman Taylor Raines, shown here competing in the triple jump, advanced to state in the long jump event. Staff photo by Mike Longaecker7 / 7

Woodbury's high schools will be well represented at the state Class AA track meet.

The fleet-footed East Ridge girls team took second place at the Section 4AA meet on Thursday, May 28 at Stillwater Area High School. Stillwater took first place in the 15-school field.

The Raptors' girls were bolstered by prime-time performances in six events - each of which sent contestants to the state meet.

East Ridge freshman Karina Joiner took first place in the 100 meter hurdles, with a time of 15.68.

The top two finishers in each event advanced to state, as well as anyone who beat "standard" times or distances.

Among those from East Ridge who qualified for state:

East Ridge's Brentley Goertzen, a sophomore, who finished second in the 800-meter race with a time of 2:19.05. Fellow sophomore Emily Betz crossed the line during the 3200 meter run at 11:04.07, good enough for second place.

The Raptors' 4X200-meter relay team, consisting of Joiner, senior Hannah Pignato, second Megan Amend and sophomore Raven Tittle, finished in second place with a time of 1:46.10.

The 4X400 relay team also grabbed second place at the meet. That team comprised junior Kiera Joiner, sophomore Kathleen Marcus, Amend and Goertzen.

East Ridge's 4X800 relay team (Olivia Hummel, 9, Bailey Ness, 11, Betz and Sandra Gramer, 11) also qualified for state with a second-place finish time of 9:30.36.

The Royals' 4X100 relay team advanced to state. That quartet comprised senior Wakpor Ighovojah, 12, Taylor Lundin, 10, Lisa Huska, 12 and Aleah West, 11), and finished just one-100th of a second from first place, and bested third-place East Ridge by 0.08 seconds.

In the long jump, Woodbury freshman Taylor Raines punched her card to state with a second-place jump of 16 feet, 3.75 inches. She leapt just farther than fellow Royal Ighovojah, who nabbed third place in the event.

Boys competition

On the boys' side, Woodbury and East Ridge both saw high-level output at the meet. The Woodbury boys finished fourth - just ahead of fifth-place East Ridge. The Stillwater boys took first place in the meet.

The Royals advanced athletes to state in four events, as did the Raptors.

Woodbury's 4X200 relay team - comprised of seniors Johnathan Osifuye, Matthew Waterhouse, Abiola Abodunde and KeyShawn Lee - set a new school record with a first-place time of 1:29.00.

The Royals' 4X100 team also earned a first-place finish. That all-senior team was run by Quran Al-Hameed, Abodunde, Waterhouse and Osifuye.

That event was the third in which Osifuye qualified for state after punching his card in the long jump event. Osifuye broke Woodbury's school record with a leap of 23 feet, 0.5 inches in a jump that represented a victory lap after he qualified for state in preliminary competition.

For the Raptors, senior Nate Roese left little to surprise.

The senior claimed first place in his signature race, the 400 meter dash, with a time of 49.02. Teammate August Ollrich, a junior, also qualified for state in the event, with a second-place time of 49.76.

Roese's third-place finish in the 200-meter dash was good enough for state, with a 22.35 time that eclipsed the standard qualifying time.

In the 4X400 relay, East Ridge (Allan Ndovu, 11, Bradley Simonson, 11, Ollrich and Roese) finished first ahead of Woodbury's second-place team of Oladipupo Lawal, Waterhouse, Abodunde and Lee.

East Ridge senior Allen Swenson bested all pole vaulters, with his first-place jump of 14 feet, 5 inches - a mark that topped the second-place finisher by six inches.

The Class AA state meet is June 7-8 at Hamline University in St. Paul.

Mike Longaecker

Mike Longaecker is the regional public safety reporter for RiverTown Multimedia. His coverage area spans St. Croix and Pierce counties. Longaecker served from 2011-2015 as editor of the Woodbury Bulletin. A University of Wisconsin-River Falls graduate, Longaecker previously reported for the Red Wing Republican Eagle and for the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau. You can follow him on Twitter at @Longaecker

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