A good host
They came to Rugby from every corner of the state to participate in the N.D. Hershey Youth Track Meet.
And when the competition ended, the compliments piled up on how well the community hosted its first N.D. Hershey meet.
“Many came up and said how impressed they were at our facilities and how well the meet was run,’ said Cindy Kuntz, Rugby Hershey program organizer. “I think when they found out Rugby was hosting the state meet, many (from larger towns) were a little concerned about the facilities.”
However, Rugby proved it could put on a good meet, and in addition to that, showed it has some pretty talented track athletes.
Five from Rugby won open events and two relays also took first at the June 19 meet at Johnsen Field, which featured 276 participants ranging in age from 9-14.
Rugby really made its mark in the boys age 13-14 division, winning five of the seven events.
Nigel Hageness won the 100 meters and standing long jump; Elijah Luna won the 200 meters; Tanner Bernhardt won the 1600 meters; and Zach Miller won the softball toss. Those four also teamed up to capture the 400 meter relay.
“Usually, our older age group kids tend to do well at this meet, and that was certainly the case again,’ Kuntz said. “They all have a year of high school track under their belts and come into the program in good shape and experienced in competing in meets.”
Madison Uhlenkamp won the standing long jump in the girls age 9-10 division and the girls age 13-14 division 400 meter relay team also placed first. Members were: Kassi Jorgenson, Bailey Nelson Shanaya Fred and Emily Stier.
It’s quite possible that a handful of Rugby athletes could be heading to Hershey, Pa. later this summer to compete in the National Hershey Meet. It’s based on how N.D. results stack up against other states within the Northern Plains region. Kuntz said the list of N.D. athletes who qualify will be known some time next month.
Tara Kunz, one of the local program volunteers, will be one of the chaperones going to Hershey, Pa., for Team N.D. All expenses for the athletes and chaperones are covered.
In addition, several other participants placed high in their respective events.
Emily Stier was second in the standing long jump and third in the 100 meters. Uhlenkamp was second in the 100 meters and third in the 200 meters. Shanaya Fred was third in the 200 meters. Jessica Belgarde was third in the softball toss. Ryan Michels was third in the standing long jump. Maria Blessum was second in the standing long jump.Tristin Lunde was third in the 400 meters and Alexis Thompson was third in the 1600 meters. In addition to the two relay teams that finished first, five others placed second or third in their respective division.
“We had many good performances and that’s a credit to the kids,’ Kuntz said.
There is a good chance that Rugby will be selected to host the state meet in the future. “I think we left a pretty positive impression,’ she said. “We had a lot of volunteers (about 50) and our facilities are excellent.”
Weather conditions also were excellent. “You couldn’t have asked for a better day,’ she said. “It was 75 degrees and no wind.”
Complete Rugby results and winners in each event can be found elsewhere on this page.
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