Finish line in sight
The Class B state track season will come to on Saturday, May 29, in Bismarck and the big question is will it end with a team from Rugby holding up a state championship trophy?
The Panther boys entered the meet with an excellent chance to win the Class B boys title.
“We know we have to go out and earn it,’ Rugby coach Scott Grochow said earlier in the week. “No one is going to give it to us.”
The squad nearly won the title a year ago, coming up just two points short and settling for runner-up status.
However, Rugby has a handful of proven point producers at the state meet. Among them is junior Eric Kuntz in the long jump, pole vault and 110 and 300 meter hurdles. Senior Dylan Yoder is a two-time champion in the middle distance events.
The Panthers, which last won the boys crown in 1996, have the potential to score points in the jumps, distance events as well as in the relays.
Grochow said Dickinson Trinity and Hazen as well as Valley City, Lisbon and Linton are among the teams which have quality athletes competing.
“It should be interesting,’ he said.
Rugby’s girls squad captured their first state championship a year ago and while the Panthers don’t have as much talent and depth on the track as last year, they do have some athletes returning who could place high.
Among them are junior Crystal Hovland in the 100 and 300 meter hurdles. Also, sophomore Sydney Kraft is one to watch in the distance events. Kraft won the 800 and 1600 meter events in 2009.
Benson County girls in the hunt again
Benson County (Leeds-Maddock-Minnewaukan) has earned the reputation as one of the powers in Class B girls track.
The Wildcats have a good chance to ascend to the top once again. BC, which won state titles in 2005 and 2007 and placed runner-up in 2003, 2004, 2006 and last year, is among the favorites.
The team will hang its hat again on the distance events where there is a young, but talented group.
Leading the way is Leeds eighth grader Alyssa Anderson. She won the 3200 meter run a season ago and is the favorite to defend that title was well as the 1600 meters and place in the 800 meters. Freshman teammate Sara Schwanke is also expected to place high in those two events. Senior Erin Leier of Maddock is back and should place again in the 800 meters. Freshman Katelynn Engh of Minnewaukan is another BC runner with the potential to place in the 800.
BC is also the heavy favorite to win the 3200 meter relay. The team has the potential to score well over 50 points in those distance events.
Not to be left out is Sharisa Yri. The Maddock senior has a strong chance to place high in both the long and triple jumps. She will also compete in the 100 meters.