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Panthers battle conditions

By Staff | May 9, 2014

Tim Chapman/PCT Rugby High School eighth-grader Tristin Lunde holds off Claire Brien of Northern Lights in an exciting finish to the 1,600-meter run at the Panther Booster Meet on May 3.

The Rugby High School track and field teams continued to battle ugly weather last week, but managed to snag a couple more state-qualifiers.

RHS junior Emily Stier qualified in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.7 seconds at the Velva Invite on May 2.

“I had good competition and that’s something that really helps,” Stier said.

She was edged out by Parshall’s Alexis Wood, who won the event in 26.47 seconds.

State-qualifiers have proven tough in a season plagued by rainouts and cold, blustery conditions when teams finally can hit the track.

“We’ve been close in those relays,” RHS coach Bill Jansen said. “Really, we haven’t had a chance to do a whole heck of a lot.”

The only other qualifier on the girls side is freshman thrower Kari Fritel with a career-best 36 feet, 10 inches in shot put.

The girls won both home meets last week, including the Peace Garden Conference Meet on May 1 and the Panther Booster Meet on May 3.

RHS eighth-grader Tristin Lunde turned in one of the top performances at the Booster Meet with an exhilarating finish in the 1,600-meter run. Lunde held off Claire Brien of Northern Lights by 0.05 seconds to win in 5:50.89.

“The last 25 meters she was really catching me,” Lunde said. “She had a hard finish, she was coming really strong and I could see her, and I went (harder) because she really pushed me to finish.”

The RHS boys also won the Panther Booster Meet and took second at the Peace Garden Conference Meet. RHS junior Brad Heidlebaugh has qualified in the long and triple jumps, discus and as a member of the 400-meter relay. The jumps are new to Heidlebaugh this season.

“I can dunk a basketball pretty good, so I thought maybe I should try to jump a little bit,” he said. “It’s not that big of a learning curve to me, it’s kind of come natural. I’ve been working on it enough that I think I can go compete at state.”

By Monday, the Panthers will have competed in four meets in five days. Qualifying for state can happen through top-three finishes at the regional meet, but RHS coach Scott Grochow is hoping for some qualifiers before that.

“Our kids, despite all the weather, have kept working pretty hard,” Grochow said. He hopes to gauge the weather and put his athletes in the events most likely to result in qualifiers.

The Panthers hosted a meet Thursday, went to Fessenden for meets Friday and today and will be in Velva on Monday. RHS hosts the regional meet on May 17.

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