High school notebook: Dickinson sets sights on big prize
When James Kramer took over the head coaching responsibilities for the Dickinson High girls tennis team three years ago, it hadn’t experienced much success.
However, the Midgets have a chance to achieve a goal. With three straight West Region dual wins, they’d finish with the No. 3 seed in the West Region Tournament.
The Midgets begin their quest for the No. 3 seed hosting Minot at 3 p.m. Friday.
“In previous years, a lot of times we would just show up for matches because they were on the schedule and this year it seems like the girls are showing up with more of an attitude that they want to win it,” Kramer said. “We have a real core group of girls that have been playing quite a while. Even our juniors have been playing three or four years of varsity tennis. Anytime you have a core group of girls like that returning, they know how things work.”
Through four West Region duals, Dickinson has a 2-2 record with wins over Williston and Mandan. The two losses are against Bismarck St. Mary’s and Bismarck Century, which are the teams likely to finish the regular season with the two top spots in the West Region.
Kramer has been pleased with the continued progression of every player on the roster.
“We’ve seen improvement, because of the weather conditions it has created us to stop, start, stop and start,” he said. “We maybe haven’t had the right flow to the season, but if we get things rolling again this week and we can go three straight good weeks of tennis and no interruption, we’ll be fine.”
The other two duals the Midgets have before the start of the West Region Tournament on May 15 is Jamestown and Bismarck High. The Midgets host the Blue Jays at noon Saturday and the Demons at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
Kramer said the biggest obstacle the team has had to deal with the entire season is the continuous start and stop due to inclement weather. However, Kramer said this recent week was a good chance for the team to sharpen some of the basics.
“It actually turned out nice to have a full week of practice,” he said. “We actually went back to doing some fundamental drills and working on some real basic things that I thought we needed to get better at.”
Trinity track and field teams show resiliency
The Dickinson Trinity track and field teams are attempting to overcome more than just the tough spring.
With Knights of Columbus Activities Center — the usual practice facility for the Titans — unusable due to a fire on March 3, Trinity has had to cherish every nice day.
“What we are most happy with is the way that the kids have responded to challenging conditions,” Trinity co-head coach Andrew DesRosier said. “We did lose some practice space that we usually used in the spring and pile on some really difficult weather conditions. It’s been cold, windy and snowy. We’ve had some meets cancelled. What’s made me most proud is how our kids haven’t complained, they haven’t whined, they’ve shown up to practice, they’ve worked hard and then they’ve come to the meets and completed. That means a lot.”
The Titans will get back on the track traveling to the Badlands Conference Meet at 1:30 p.m. today in Watford City.
Despite having few meets to work with in the early part of the season, DesRosier said he has been most proud of how well the team has kept it focus.
“They are so excited to be outside and they are so excited to complete,” he said. “You can feel their energy increase when a nice day does roll around.”
In the meets, the Titans have had multiple state qualifiers on the boys and girls sides.
On the boys side, junior Joe Mayer is qualified in the long and triple jump, while junior Jace Kruger hit a state-qualifying mark in the pole vault.
For the girls, sophomore Kennedy Keator has qualified in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. The 3,200 relay team of Katelyn Grinsteinner, Kelli Pavlicek, Katie Pavlicek and Morgan Kuntz ran a state-qualifying time in 10 minutes, 11.33 seconds.
“Because of the weather and the number of cancellation for meets, we are seeing a lower number of qualifiers state-wide right now,” DesRosier said. “We are going to see that number grow quite a bit over the next couple of weeks.”
DHS baseball team gets back to business
After Tuesday’s doubleheader with Williston was postponed until May 12, the Dickinson High baseball team set its focus on hosting Bismarck High in a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. Friday.
The Midgets will go an entire week without a single game as their last opponent was Jamestown on April 25.
Nonetheless, Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz said the team is ready to get back on the field.
“After doing this for a couple of years, you get kind of used to knowing what’s going to happen and what you have to do,” Dobitz said about the weather. “You try to get everything you plan on using in your schemes and in your game plans early on, because you never know what’s going to happen. If you do get outside, you push hard on those days so you get all the team stuff where you need the big field.”
Through their first 10 games, the Midgets are 8-2 overall and 3-2 in West Region.
Dickinson has relied on solid starting pitching and timely hitting.
At the plate, senior Mitchell Mehrer leads the team with a .444 batting average, two RBI and scored six runs. Senior Dylan Skabo, who is signed to play football and baseball for Dickinson State in the fall, had a .435 average with team highs of nine RBI, 12 stolen bases and scored 11 runs. Brett Schweitzer posts a .381 average with six RBI and the team’s lone home run on the season.
The Midgets have two players who have pitched more than 10 innings.
Mark Erickson, a junior, has tossed a team-high 12-1/3 innings, while Schweitzer has 11-1/3 innings under his belt. The two have a combined 3-1 record with a sub-1.5 earned-run average. Junior Luke Herauf, who has two relief appearances for 6-2/3 innings, will get the Game 1 start against the Demons on Friday.
“Mark Erickson has really stepped up and he was primarily a catcher his last couple of years,” Dobitz said. “Luke has done a good job coming in relief a couple of times. Schweitzer didn’t even throw more than two innings for me last year. He’s come on this year and thrown some good strikes.”