Preparing for West Region: Dickinson High gets ready for second-to-last meet
Throughout the cross country season, the Dickinson High boys and girls teams have experienced success and winning, but also learning.
The biggest learner hasn't come from the Midgets' roster. It has been first-year assistant coach Dakota Wolf.
Wolf, who was a standout runner and graduate of Dickinson and the University of Mary, said it has been a little different being on the sidelines.
"It's hard sometimes, because I just assume they know some things, but it is nice to tell them about what I've went through and how to overcome it or how to approach things," she said. "It's hard coaching, because you can do anything for them during a race. But, if you are in a race, you can do it."
However, Wolf said she couldn't have asked for a better group to work with in her first year of coaching. The girls side, which has been ranked No. 4 as a team in the state for many weeks, has a good mix of upper and underclassmen.
"It's nice to come back to team that you can work with and there isn't low numbers or anything like that," she said. "They are willing to work, so it's really nice to see the progress, because they will do what you ask. A lot of the girls right now are as committed as I was in college and, to me, that's really impressive because the dedication they have right now is unbelievable."
The Midgets have four senior leaders in Shannon Stockert, Katie Pavlicek, Kelli Pavlicek and Taylor Ihmels. The underclassmen are juniors Emily Tyrell, who is ranked No. 9 in Class A, Kelsey Gillen and Caitlin Klitzke. The freshmen are Elizabeth Yoder, Milla George, Heather Hintz and Chelsea Anderson.
Dickinson looks to use its strong season up to this point to place in the top five at the West Region Invitational on Saturday at the Souris Valley Golf Course in Minot.
Yoder said the girls have continually met goals throughout the season and the West Region meet is another step in the process of placing at state.
"We are setting our goals higher and higher every meet and we are looking forward to see how we do at WDA and state," said Yoder, who is ranked No. 10 in the state. "It has been great to see the team do so well. We've improved a lot since last year."
On the boys side, the Midgets have a host of underclassmen. A majority of the team is made up of juniors and sophomores. One of those juniors is Jackson Binstock, who is ranked No. 2 in the state. Binstock won the Mandan Invitational on Sept. 14 and the following week was ranked No. 1 in the state.
The following week, Binstock placed runner-up at the Valley City Invitational -- a preview of the state meet. Binstock's plan going into the West Region meet is sticking with the top runners in the field.
"Everyone should be healthy and we should have a good meet," said Binstock, who is ranked in the top spot in the latest cross country poll. "I just hope to stay close with everyone in the leaders and, at state, stay the same way. I've ran a lot more miles and a couple morning sessions."
Collin Bren, a junior runner, said it is nice to know the team has ability to run together for another year. However, one piece Bren is glad to have this season is sophomore newcomer Collin Schock.
"It's definitely a great thing because working together each year only helps you more and more," Bren said. "With everyone running as well as they ever have, it is really great to see."
The boys team's ultimate goal is to move up their pack of runners to be closer to Binstock. Bren said he has seen positive moments in practice from sophomore Wyatt Kainz and Schock.
"Collin Schock is a great addition to the team this year," Bren said. "He's quite a bit ahead of me, but if I can pace myself around him and then try to help pull Wyatt and Kyle (Wegner) up. We'd be able to hang in there with some of those top teams."