Chapman: Hooray Perfect Panthers
What a week it was for Rugby High School athletic teams. On Wednesday, the football team capped an undefeated regular season with another convincing win. This time, Des Lacs-Burlington put up a tough fight through halftime, but RHS?took care of business en route to a 28-6 win. A few players tend to rack up the accolades, but it’s truly been a team effort with these Panthers on both sides of the ball.
There’s not enough space to give credit to each player that continues to put this team at the top of Class A. One player, who needs no introduction, but deserves every bit of kudos he gets, is Brad Heidlebaugh. University of North Dakota football coach Bubba Schweigert was in attendance Wednesday, and I’d be surprised if he left disappointed. At 6-foot-4 and about 215 pounds, Heidlebaugh appears to have what it takes to play at the NCAA Division I-FCS level. If he gets the chance, it will be quite the accomplishment for a boy from Rugby.
Along with Fargo South’s James Johannesson, a University of Minnesota commit, Heidlebaugh is about as good as you will see in North Dakota high school football this year.
Brad is a good student and well-rounded individual, so no matter where he goes and what sport he pursues, he will have the backing of Rugby faithful. But some Bison fans may have to rethink their allegiance should he sign with UND.
The RHS volleyball team also got in on the perfection conversation after completing the regular season District 11 schedule with a 6-0 record. Who better to get win six against than Bottineau? And it was on the Stars’ homecourt. The girls are an exciting bunch to watch with their relentlesss play across the court. Perhaps no Panther epitomizes the style more than ReeAnn Christianson. She is everywhere on the court! She might not be the quickest or tallest player in most matches, but her tenacity is typcially unequaled.
Christianson does a little bit of everything and then some. Her vocal leadership is respected by her teammates and the Panthers’ postseason prospects look bright with her leading the way.
In cross country, the boys and girls are improving with each meet and are seldom outside the top five. Both groups have high hopes for this weekend’s East Region meet and high goals for next week’s state meet.
A strong core of seniors lead the Panthers. Tanner Bernhardt and Nolan Hovland pace the boys and Allison Foster and sophomore Tristin Lunde.
Competitors in all three sports are doing their parts to raise awareness for breast cancer research by wearing pink with their uniforms. The cross country team is dedicating personal-best times to those affected by cancer and area companies have stepped up to donate on behalf of the runners. Keep it up, Panthers!