Southwest Region’s boys sprinters enjoy friendly competitionJokes will be put aside when the boys sprinters from the Class B Southwest Region take to the starting line.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Jokes will be put aside when the boys sprinters from the Class B Southwest Region take to the starting line.
However, respect and laughter will be waiting for them at the finish line.
The 14 teams from southwest North Dakota travel to the Badlands Activities Center today for the Southwest Region track and field meet, which begins at 10:30 a.m.
Killdeer’s Lewis Keller and Lewis Dobitz, Bowman County’s Michael Palczewski and Heart River’s Seth Ewoniuk will be the sight for many coaches, athletes and parents.
“It’s really nice to have competition like that knowing that you are going to run against the best in region at every track meet,” Ewoniuk said. “We all qualified for state and it’s good that we are representing our region like that.”
The sprinters will be one of the main attractions on the track because they feature some of the fastest times in the state in the 100-, 200-, 400- and 800-meter races. All four have also helped their respective 400, 800 and 1,600 relay teams.
Keller has the top time in the Southwest Region in the 100 at 11.24 seconds. The Killdeer senior is also qualified in the 200 (23.14). He said competing with some of the fastest runners week-in and week-out has prepared him for the state meet.
“It’s a competition every time,” Keller said. “It’s just a blast just getting to run against everyone, knowing that each of us can place at state.”
Palczewski is a junior, but has been the rock behind the Bulldogs’ solid performances all season.
He has the top time in the state at the 400 (50 seconds), which is also a school record. The junior has also ran qualifying times in the 100 (11.3), 200 (23.04) and 800 (2:03.18).
“I love running against those guys,” Palczewski said. “We all talk about it and we make jokes like, ‘Ah man, he’s running it today, I gotta run faster.’ It’s friendly competition.”
Bowman County head coach Jon Jahner said Palczewski is a runner that can do anything from the 100 to the 800. That attribute makes him even more valuable for the Bulldogs.
“The No. 1 thing about him is his versatility,” Jahner said. “He’s obviously the most talented runner that we have, but the fact that he’s not limited to a 100 or a 200, or a 400 and an 800.”
Palczewski thought he could run a qualifying time in the 100, but he didn’t know it was going to be the second-best time in the region. He mainly started running the race to help himself get out of the blocks better for the 200 and 400.
“Those were the events I was focusing on, mainly in the beginning of year,” Palczewski said. “I ended up qualifying with a pretty good time (in the 100).”
Ewoniuk has been battling alongside the others all season. The Heart River junior is qualified in the 100 (11.33) and is still looking for a qualifying time in the 200.
“We have lots of respect for each other,” Ewoniuk said. “We talk to each other. It’s not we glare or anything like that. We talk before the race, we talk after the race and we’ll congratulate no matter who wins.”
Dobitz, who is teammates with Keller, has ran state-qualifying times in 200 (23.24) and 400 (52.06).
Though improving those times is still on his mind, Keller is focused on fine tuning handoffs for relays.
“We’re just in the phase right now of getting ready for state, perfecting all of our handoffs,” Keller said. “We’ve done the hard part, getting all the conditioning down, and now we’re just ready to run for regionals.”
Ewoniuk said running against tough competition each meet has put him at ease going into the final two meets of the season.
“It definitely takes a lot of pressure off you because you are already qualified and you are just trying to get a better time,” he said. “You’re really just trying to prepare for state as best as you can.”