Track: Thunder’s Lunning, Ortberg, Giese qualify for state

Cassie Ortberg skimmed over a hurdle next to a Paynesville athlete, on the way to second place in the 100 and a state berth. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

Zimmerman junior Ethan Lunning was discus champion at the Section 5A track meet Wednesday, and he’ll be joined at the state meet by teammates Cassie Ortberg and Brandon Giese.

Lunning threw a personal best and school record 153 feet, 8 inches on his final toss, beating the runner-up by over seven feet, at St. John’s University.

Ethan Lunning, shown here with a shot put ball, won discus with 153-8.

He’ll make his first state appearance in track, but also went to state this year as a starter in basketball, as did Giese.

Ortberg, a sophomore, was runner-up in the 100 meter hurdles with 15.51, trailing New London-Spicer’s Alana Dietz (15.15), and placed third in the 300 hurdles but qualified by standard with 46.43. Normally the top two advance.

Ortberg, who was battling a pulled leg muscle, will make her second state trip as a hurdler.

Giese, who last year became the first ZHS boy to earn a state medal by placing eighth in long jump, will return to state in that event after placing second at sectionals with 21-1 3/4. Annandale’s Cole Gaudlin beat him by a quarter inch with 21-2.

At the sub-section meet, Zimmerman qualified for sectionals in 15 girls events and eight boys events. Both teams placed ninth at Section 5A, the boys with 39.5 points and the girls with 30 points. Champions were Holdingford boys with 58.5 and St. Cloud Cathedral girls with 74.

Giese also placed fifth in triple jump with 41-3. Orberg also qualified in long and high jump but didn’t place. Lunning didn’t place in shot put.

Hannah Fordahl, who went to state in the 4-by-100 the last two years, had a good final meet but won’t make another state trip. Her 4-by-100 with three new members (Allison Giese, Alexis Olerich and Camilla Johnson) took fifth with 53.17. Fordahl was fifth in shot put (34-10 1/2) and didn’t make finals in discus (11th with 93-5) and 100 dash (11th with 13.07).

The only other Thunder girls scoring were Chelsea Schlegel, fourth in the 3200 with 11:55.65 and  Anna Huss, sixth in triple jump with 33-11 3/4.

Other Thunder boys scoring were Alec Seymour, third in shot put with 48-6 1/4 and eighth in discus with 127-0; Jake Antolak, fourth in shot put with 46-4; and Dakota Spence-Zurek, seventh in long jump with 19-6 1/2; and the 4-by-100 team of Spence-Zurek, Pat McEnaney, Travis Carr and Giese, sixth in 46.64.

Lynk Downing cleared a hurdle in the 110 highs prelims. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Lynk Downing, three-sport athlete (also soccer and football) closing his prep sports career, qualified for sectional in four events but didn’t make any finals. His top place was 12th in the 100 hurdles.

The state meet will be held next Friday and Saturday at Hamline University.


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