Soft-spoken Sickler leads DHS boysQuiet on the track.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
Quiet on the track.
As the head judge lifts his arm to fire off the starting shot, no Dickinson High senior takes it to heart more than Joseph Sickler.
Sickler, who is known as a quiet leader on the Dickinson High track and field team, prepares for his final run at the Class A boys state meet that starts Friday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
“This is my sixth year in track and this is my last meet,” Sickler said. “I just want to go for it and give it my all.”
The Dickinson High senior doesn’t need to talk when his running and work ethic speak for itself.
Sickler qualified in the 800-meter with a time of 2 minutes, 0.14 seconds at the Dickinson Trinity Last Chance meet on May 15 at the Badlands Activities Center. He’s also qualified as part of the 1,600 and 3,200 relay teams.
Finally qualifying in the 800 is one event Sickler was waiting all year for, and to achieve his goal at the final meet before the West Region meet was special.
“I was just jacked,” Sickler said. “I was trying to get it all year and I kept missing.”
Not only does Sickler perform well on the track, he is a standout student in the classroom.
“Joe sits back and is kind of quiet, but he gets the job done,” Dickinson co-head coach Dave Michaelson said. “He approaches track and field the same was he does school. He doesn’t go out and talk a lot about what he can do. He just does well.”
Dickinson senior Vlad Kutka, who’s been running with Sickler since they were in junior high, said Sickler has grown by leaps and bounds.
“He’s definitely advanced a lot from junior high,” Kutka said. “I have too, but Joe’s made big strides from where he was to being a state qualifier.”
Sickler and Kutka will be joined by four other seniors — Mason Frank, Brett Braunagel, Michael Porter and Dallas Zastoupil — at the state meet.
All the seniors are running in multiple events and have become more versatile as the year has progressed.
“We have those guys that can run that 400 and go up or go down,” Dickinson co-head coach Jay Schobinger said. “They become very versatile. It becomes a luxury and it’s nice to have.”
Michaelson said he could see the motivation in senior leaders when the season started.
“You can kind of see it in their eyes,” Michaelson said. “Even early in the season I got that read from Michael Porter, Dallas Zastoupil and Mason Frank. They made comments to me as the season went on that, ‘Hey, we can be pretty good.’”
They have been good, and Kutka said the experience of all the seniors should bode well for the team when it matters the most.
“We don’t have a lot of people, but we have a lot of experienced people,” he said. “That’s a big advantage for us in each event.”