Track: Ortberg gains state in another event; Lunning twins bow out

Cassandria Ortberg (blue) ran against Forest Lake's Jessica Dhaene, who would nip her by .01 for second place in the 100 hurdles. (Photo by Bruce Strand)


by Bruce Strand, Sports editor

A pair of three-sport standouts finished their Zimmerman careers with good-but-not-good-enough performances Saturday at Section 7AA track at Princeton while Thunder junior Cassandra Ortberg was able to add a second state berth and almost a third.

It’s over for Thunder non-identical twins Ethan and Caleb Lunning. Ethan placed third in the discus with a 155-10 heave, on the heels of his fifth-place in shot put on Wednesday. Caleb got a career-best 20-7 3/4 in the long jump and placed fourth.

Ethan Lunning ended a productive three-sport career with third place in the discus. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

Zimmerman was competing in Class AA for the first time. Last year, Ethan won Section 5A with a 153-8 throw. He set a Thunder record of 159-4 in a Princeton meet May 4.

“Breaking the school record in the discus was pretty satisfying,” reflected Ethan, “and getting the opportunity to compete against some really good throwers (at sectional) is always fun. If you weren’t hitting qualification (state qualification standards) here you weren’t going.”

At both throws at sectional the race was for second place because Andover’s Thomas Anderson, defending state champ in shot and runner-up in discus, is far ahead of the field.

Caleb Lunning had a PR of 20-7 3/4 in long jump and placed fourth. (Photo by Bruce Strand)

In the last action of his ZHS career Lunning really launched a good one, then waited anxiously as they stretched the tape. “I crossed m fingers, but it didn’t happen,” he said. His 155-10 missed the qualifying standard by six inches.

“It’s always good to have a challenge,” said Lunning. “You don’t want section to be a cakewalk. It was fun while it lasted.”

For the Lunnings, it will last a while longer. Ethan will play football and Caleb will play basketball, both at St. Olaf. They helped Zimmerman win conference championships in both sports this year.

“We’ve got four more years,” Ethan smiled. ” It’s going to be exciting and fun.”

Ortberg, who was runner-up in long-jump on Wednesday, picked up another silver in the 300 hurdles on Saturday after placing third in the 100.

Amber Magnussen placed ninth in shot put. (Photo by Bill Jones)

In both hurdle races she lost an excruciatingly close duel with Forest Lake’s Jessica Dhaene, missing “state” by .01 of a second in the 100, then missing gold by .02 in the 300. Her times were 15.52 and 45.42.

About the 100, her favorite event, she said:  “That was not my best. I  was really hoping with the competition I had today to get a PR, so I am pretty disappointed with that one.”

She surprised herself a bit with her 17-2 3/4 long jump for second place, having exceeded 17 feet just once before in a recent meet (17-4 1/2).  “I don’t know what happened, but all of a sudden I was peaking in the long jump.”

Ortberg has gone to state twice previously in 300 hurdles and once in 100 hurdles  in Class A.

“Class AA definitely gives you more competition and it’s good to have more girls to push me,” said Ortberg. “but it’s also, what’s the word I want? It’s also intimidating, knowing you’re going against bigger schools and better girls.”

The Thunder had one other placer Saturday as junior Anna Huss triple-jumped 33-10 3/4 for eighth place to get on the podium after placing ninth in long jump and 100 hurdles Wednesday. Amber Magussen took ninth in shot with 35-3.