Killdeer boys finish fourth, send Walker out as Class B Coach of the YearBISMARCK — Neither wind nor rain could damper the spirits of the Killdeer boys track and field team.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
BISMARCK — Neither wind nor rain could damper the spirits of the Killdeer boys track and field team.
Killdeer head coach Larry Walker was named Class B boys track and field Coach of the Year and the Cowboys’ boys took fourth as a team during the state meet Saturday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
“Our seniors really come through for us,” said Walker, who in his final season coaching the Killdeer boys and girls teams. “Our underclassmen really competed for being freshmen and sophomores and being here for the first time. Generally what happens is that they have a shock, because of the amount of people and the amount of hype that goes into this, but for them to come in here and compete the way that they did is an unbelievable.”
Lewis Keller led the Cowboys with strong anchor legs in the 400- and 800-meter relays. Killdeer won the 800 (1:33.37) and came in as runner-up in the 400 (45.01).
“At the beginning of the season, we never really dreamed about being state champs or state runner-ups in both of our relays,” Keller said. “We’ve really came a long ways.”
The senior also placed fifth in the 100 (11.3). Keller was named Southwest Region Senior Athlete of the Year and said the final state meet of his career was exceptional.
“It went well,” he said. “You always wish that you could do better, but I’m happy with how it all turned out.”
The other big finisher for the Cowboys was discus thrower Kyle Boster. The senior came into the meet with the longest throw in the state at 158 feet, 2 inches. He didn’t achieve that distance but took second place in the process (143-6).
“I was a little disappointed not getting first,” Boster said. “I led the state going in and Jack (Plankers) is a nice guy and he’s a solid thrower. I threw what I threw and I earned what I earned.”
Plankers, a Kindred senior and a North Dakota State University football recruit, won with a toss of 149-6. Boster said this sport doesn’t have the option of being comfortable.
“I did have a good benchmark, but being in the throws you can’t ever be satisfied with what you did, because people can always come from behind and throw that bomb,” Boster said. “Jack Plankers was one of them. You can really never be comfortable.”
The Cowboys had a surprise along the way as sophomore Calum Blankenship placed eighth in the 3,200 (10:26.61).
Bowman County junior Michael Palczewski said seeing his team mature from last year to this year has been remarkable. The maturation was noticeable as the Bulldogs finished fifth as a team.
“It’s a big change from last year,” Palczewski said. “I had Brandon Fischer doing the pole vault and me doing the open 400 and that was it for boys. That was big for us, because we didn’t have a boys team at state in forever.”
Palczewski won the 400 (51.03), but still didn’t achieve his time of less than 50 seconds. However, he doesn’t mind taking home that first place trophy. Palczewski was also fifth in the 200 (23.04).
“I felt really good in the prelims on Friday,” he said. “Today I had a kid that came up on me coming into the 300 and I thought, ‘Oh jeez, I got to go.’ It was a good race, probably one of the best I’ve ever had.”
He’s not afraid to admit that it was a little nerve-wracking running with the fastest time (50 seconds) during the regular season.
“I was really nervous actually,” Palczewski said. “I was telling everybody I wish I was second so I didn’t have a target on my back.”
Beach junior Danny Skoglund placed second in the 300 hurdles (40.95) and sixth in the 800 (2:03.09). Milnor-Wyndmere-Lidgerwood’s Jeff Illies tripped over the final hurdle with the lead, allowing Williams County’s Zach Baker and Skoglund to finish first and second, respectively.
“That was pretty lucky on my part,” Skoglund said. “I didn’t feel good going over the hurdles, but I was still able to do pretty well.”
Skoglund’s teammate, freshman Hunter Weinreis, took third in the 3,200 (10:00.76). Ken Wells won the 1,600 and 3,200 and Weinreis said it was incredible competing against a runner of that caliber.
“Wells pushed me very hard and he’s a very good athlete,” Weinreis said. “I was very happy to run with him, knowing that I could run like this.”
Dickinson Trinity’s Paul Gardner landed in seventh place in the 800 (2:04.73). He wasn’t necessarily pleased with the time, but was happy with the finish.
“I was hoping for a better time,” he said. “I came out and I knew I would have to show a lot of heart. I knew it would be hard coming off of (Friday’s) win and have a repeat performance. I gave it my best shot.”
Other finishers from the area were Hazen’s Austin Cieslak and Tyler Parker in the discus. Cieslak threw 142-10 and Parker had 137-11 to place third and eighth, respectively.
Heart River junior Seth Ewoniuk took seventh in both the long jump (20-3½) and the 100 (11.41).
In the 400, Killdeer’s Lewis Dobitz placed seventh (52.64), while Bowman County’s Tyler Swanke took eighth (52.65). Swanke added an eighth-place finish in the 200 (23.48).