DHS girls place 4th at state meet
VALLEY CITY — Bismarck senior Matt Gotta entered the North Dakota Class A state boys cross country meet ranked No. 1, but he brought along a good luck charm just to be safe.
Gotta wore the racing gloves of former Bismarck cross country standout and three-time Class A boys individual state champion Jake Leingang on Saturday.
The gloves fit and Gotta cruised to an individual state championship of his own finishing the 5K race in 15 minutes, 50.5 seconds.
“I worked so hard for this and it makes it all worth it,” Gotta said.
Gotta is the Demons’ seventh runner to win an individual state championship in school history. Bismarck has claimed 12 individual state championship since 1961 and with Gotta’s win the Demons have accounted for the last seven individual crowns.
“I remember running at this meet four years ago and watching Christian Brownotter win it,” Gotta said. “Of course Jake (Leingang) won the last three and for me to win, it is awesome.”
Gotta bested his teammate and training partner Sam Clausnitzer by 10.3 seconds.
“Matt’s workouts all year have indicated he could be an individual state champion,” Bismarck co-head coach Dave Zittleman said. “He and Sam were neck and neck most of the race. Matt just made his move at the end to pull away.”
Bismarck won the boys team championship, scoring a 29. The title is Bismarck’s ninth-straight.
The Demons’ 10 runners finished 32nd or better.“We graduated a lot of seniors from last year’s team, but we knew we had some depth coming back,” Zittleman said. “We were excited about this season. Our No. 1 goal is to always win the team championship, an individual championship is gravy.”
Fargo Davies finished second in the team race, scoring an 88.
Leading the way for the Eagles was senior Branden Scheel, who finished third with a time of 16:13.6.
Scheel, who was named Class A boys Senior Athlete of Year, suffered a knee injury at the two-mile mark and was slowed considerably.
“I had some bad footing that caused my knee to pop and I didn’t have enough to catch up,” Scheel said.
Bismarck Century junior Jordan Jacob won the girls individual state title, finishing her 4K race in 14:02.2. As a team, Dickinson High placed fourth with 124 points.
“It’s a relief to win after all the hard work I put into the season,” Jacob said. “I was mentally prepared for this race and confident I would do well.”
Girls Senior Athlete of Year winner Brittany Brownotter of Bismarck finished second with a time of 14:17.4.
Bismarck won the girls team championship scoring a 55 – six points under runner up Century. The Demons have won two straight girls team championships.