Catching fire: Mott-Regent girls enjoying prolonged success with core groupThe Mott-Regent girls track and field team has seen its up and down years. Fortunately for head coach Ron Benson, the past couple seasons have been way up.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Mott-Regent girls track and field team has seen its up and down years.
Fortunately for head coach Ron Benson, the past couple seasons have been way up.
“We’ve had years without these kind of athletes,” Benson said. “Some schools have them every year. It’s been our turn now and it won’t last forever, but I enjoy every day of it.”
The main element in the Wildfire’s return to greatness is a core of returners mixed with a few newcomers.
Mott-Regent’s nucleus include juniors Marah Friez and McKayla Roll and sophomore Abby Honeyman. The three runners have combined to qualify for 10 events. The Wildfire burst out of the gate, qualifying for four events in the first meet of the season on March 30 in Hazen.
“They’ve been the nucleus for a long time,” Benson said. “Marah and McKayla went to state as seventh-graders on relays, then Abby the following year.”
Friez has qualified individually for the 100-, 200-, 400-meter, while helping in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays.
“We do seem to qualify quite fast and it’s always nice,” Friez said. “Then we work on slowly improving our times. We just keep improving on our handoffs and keep getting faster.”
Roll hasn’t qualified for any individual events, but is a cog in the three relays.
Honeyman leads the way in the 100 and 300 hurdles, 200, triple jump and three relays. She has the second-fasted 100 hurdles time in Class B, a time of 15.74 seconds run May 8 at the Richardton-Taylor Raider Booster Invitational held at the Badlands Activities Center.
Mott-Regent’s newcomer last year was sophomore Alyssa Olin. After a season with the girls, she feels like part of the family. Olin has qualified in the javelin and helped the 400 and 800 relays.
“It was kind of nerve-wracking at first, but they were very welcoming and they helped me a lot,” Olin said. “Mr. Benson told me everything was fine and he knew exactly what he wanted me to do. It was all just really welcoming and now I feel like part of the family.”
All four returners have state meet experience, which will help in the near future. However, Benson said butterflies are always going to be there.
“It’s a year of experience,” Benson said. “It’s very competitive and there are a lot of good teams out there. The experience does make a difference, hopefully less jitters. When you are in the blocks you are always going have the anxiety.”
The other runners that Mott-Regent has qualified for the state are Shantel Herner and Naomi Meier, who take part in the 1,600 and 400 relays respectively. This isn’t the last year the Wildfire will pose a threat to win the state championship.
“That’s the thing with girls, if they are good (when they are young) you’ve them for a number of years,” Benson said.
The one element that shows up subtly on the track is chemistry. Since everyone on the team is close to each other in age the team chemistry has just fallen into place.
“It’s really good, because we all get along really well,” Friez said. “We’re really close friends.”
The bond through a team is special and Olin received those “family ties” right away.
“It just gave me a lot of confidence knowing that they were there for me,” Olin said. “It was that bond that I needed right away.”
The competitiveness showed in practice early in the season, but has started to fade now that the year is winding down.
“It’s not that competitive right now in practice, because we have a couple meets a week,” Benson said. “We are just trying to stay healthy and trying to get sharper.”