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Rugby Track Tops On Home Turf

By Staff | May 1, 2015

Sara Stier (right) passes the baton to her sister, Anni, during a relay event at a meet in Rugby.

In a second meet this season in Rugby, the Panther boys and girls track teams pulled away from the competition.

The boys team had a combined score of 125.5, with first place finishes and state qualifiers in seniors Nolan Hovland (6’6″ high jump, 43’4 1/2″ triple jump) Tanner Bernhardt (21’6″ long jump) and junior Victor Gronvold (12’6″ pole vault) helping to pave the way.

Hovland, Gronvold, Bernhardt and senior Zach Miller also helped set a new school and track record in the 4×400-meter relay, crossing the finish line with a 3:33.69 time. Northern Lights previously set the record at Johnsen Field in 2005 with a time of 3:34.80.

Miller also qualified for state in long jump (20’11”) and triple jump (43′).

Bernhardt also qualified in triple jump (43’2″).

Senior Brad Heidlebaugh qualified in discus (149′) and triple jump (42’11”).

First place finishes from eighth-graders Maria Blessum (34’2″ triple jump) and Anni Stier (1:03.13 400-meter dash), seniors Emily Stier (17′ 3 3/4″ long jump) and Jessica Blessum (9′ pole vault) helped propel the girls team to a combined 196 1/3 team score and a first place team finish.

Relays were a bright spot for the girls team, as both the 4×200-meter (Maria Blessum, Emily, Anni and freshman Sara Stier) and 4×400 (Emily and Anni Stier, Maria Blessum and senior Allison Foster) relay teams took first and state qualifying spots. The 4×200 finished in 1 minute 50.14 seconds, while the 4×400 finished with a 4:15.82 time.

Another relay team that took first, but didn’t qualify for state, for the girls was the 4×800-meter (Foster, sophomore Karin Selland, senior Bailey Nelson and freshman Tristin Lunde). They finished with a 10:33.67 time.

Sara Stier also qualified in long jump (16’7 1/4″).

Sophomore Kari Fritel qualified in shotput (37’8″).


The Rugby girls track & field team took first place last week at the Southern McLean Invitational Meet in Washburn, a fact made sweeter by the addition of three new state qualifiers.

Fritel threw 37’5″ in shot put for a first place finish and a spot at the state tournament. Fritel also took fifth in discus, throwing just a foot-and-a-half short of junior and third place-finisher Shea Heidlebaugh (88’6″).

In triple jump, first and second place – both of which were state-qualifying spots – were decided by a matter of one inch. Sara Stier and junior Lauren Kraft took those spots, with scores of 34’2 1/2″ and 34’1 1/2″, respectively. Stier and Kraft also took second and third, respectively, in the long jump, with respective scores of 16′ and 15’8. They were also part of the third place 4×100-meter relay team, along with Selland and Maria Blessum, who finished with a 54.38 time. Selland, Stier and Kraft were also part of the first-place 4×200-relay team, along with Anni Stier, who finished with a 1:53.85 time.

Blessum and Anni Stier were part of the first place 4×400 relay team, along with Foster and Lunde, who finished with a 4:19.09 time.

Jessica Blessum took first and a state-qualifying spot in pole vault, scoring the same as her performance at the Panther Booster Invitational (9′). Maria Blessum took second in the event, with a 7’6″ score.

Anni Stier also took second in both the 300-meter hurdles (50.77) and the 400 dash (1:03.26).

Lunde took first in the 800-meter run, with a time of 2:32.34. She was also part of the second-place 4×800-meter relay team, along with classmate Dessa Denich, Foster and Nelson, who finished with an 11:25.17 time.

Freshman Morgan Hjelden took fourth in javelin (87’6″) and sixth in discus (83’1″).

Foster took fourth in the 1600-meter run (5:51.11) and third in the 3200-meter run (12:37.23).

On the boys’ side of things a new qualifier surfaced in Bernhardt. He took first and qualifying spots in both triple jump (42′) and long jump (21’3.75″).

Gronvold took first and qualifying spots in pole vault (13′) and the 300-meter hurdles (41.33). He also took third in the 110-meter hurdles (16.92), and was part of the second place 4×200-meter relay team – along with classmate Ryan Michels, Bernhardt and sophomore Kade Leier – that finished and qualified with a 1:33.97 time.

Brad Heidlebaugh took state-qualifying spots in triple jump (41’10”) and discus (144’8″). He also took second in long jump with a score of 20’8″.

Hovland took first in high jump at 6’6″ – the same score he attained at the Rugby meet. Michels took second with a score of 5’10”.

Hovland also took third in both the 110 (16.92) and 300 hurdles (43.46).

The 4×800-meter relay team – seniors Noah Kraft and Brady Fossum, junior Tyler Schmaltz and sophomore Jacob Blessum – took third with a 9:23.04 time. Kraft also took eighth in the 1600-meter run (5:22.28).

Sophomore John Mueller took eighth in the 3200-meter run with a 12:01.57 time.

The track teams competed Thursday at a meet in St. John, and are competing today at a meet in Carrington. After that, two more meets have been scheduled in Rugby (Tuesday, May 5 and Thursday, May 7).




At a recent meet in Rugby, the seventh grade boys and girls teams both took first (team scores of 99 and 100, respectively), while the eighth grade girls dominated with a team score of 85 and the boys took sixth with a team score of 47.

Dawson Schepp was a leader for the 7th grade boys, taking first in the 800-meter run (2:38.30), second in the 1600-meter run (5:43.66).

Keith Vetsch had a strong showing, taking first in the 110 hurdles (19.89); third in pole vault (6′); and took first in the 4×100 relay along with Hayden Thingvold, Trace Goven and Jaden Hamilton.

Goven also took second in both the long jump (15’3 1/2″) and the 400 dash (1:11.18).

Thingvold took third in the 110 hurdles with a time of 22.71 seconds, just 4.2 seconds faster than Nathaniel Johnson, who took fifth.

Eighth-grader Kyler Gingerich took first in the seventh-grade triple jump. He also took fourth in the eighth grade long jump (14′ 5 3/4″).

It was Nathan Livedalen who had a strong showing for the eighth grade boys, taking second in the long jump (16′ 8 1/2″) and 800 run (2:43.78), and first in triple jump (35′ 11 1/2″).

The seventh grade girls had a strong showing.

Mariah Hjelden took first in both discus (66′) and shot put (29’11”).

Kristina Brossart took first in the 200 dash, finishing in 29.64 seconds.

Ellie Duchscher took second in the 800 (3:06.77) and 1600 runs (6.28.19).

Kelly Swanson took first in pole vault, with a 5′ score.

For the eighth grade girls, Emily Salwey was the start of a good showing, taking first in both the 800 run (2:56.84) and 100 hurdles (19.31), and third in the 200 hurdles (35.18).

The 4×100 relay team took first with a combined time of 1:01.57.

Karsyn Hager took first in pole vault (6′), second in triple jump (27’5″), and third in high jump (4’1″).

Kaylee Follman took fifth in the 200 dash (32.84) and sixth in the 400 dash (1:17.47).

The junior high teams also competed in St. John Thursday, and will compete again Tuesday, May 5 in Rugby.

– Tribune Staff Report

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