Progression in the early stagesFor the Dickinson High boys and girls cross country team, each meet and each practice are stepping stones to one date — the North Dakota state cross country meet on Oct. 27.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
For the Dickinson High boys and girls cross country team, each meet and each practice are stepping stones to one date — the North Dakota state cross country meet on Oct. 27.
That’s not to say the Midgets aren’t looking forward to their lone regular season home meet.
“This one, we are a little more prepared and we had two weeks in between this meet and the last meet,” Dickinson head coach James Mousseau said. “We’re looking for a jump in improvement. It would be nice to see the times come down for the kids. We’re also looking to see some of the other squads.”
The Midgets host the Becki Wells Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday on the top nine at Heart River Golf Course.
“We want to go out and compete hard,” said senior Dylan Gress, who attends Dickinson Trinity and competes with the Midgets as part of the schools’ cooperative agreement. “We want to show them that we are there and we’re not going to mess around. We’re going to show that all the work we’ve been putting in, all the miles and the grueling practice has paid off.”
The team has only had one meet this season, the Orr-iginals Invitational in Jamestown. Dickinson’s big showing was from sophomore Jackson Binstock, who took fourth.
Mousseau said there are big plans for Binstock and his times should start tapering down toward the end of the season.
“Him and I have discussed it,” Mousseau said. “His legs weren’t fresh for that meet in Jamestown. I’ve been working hard with him, but I know once we start tapering a little bit. Big things are going to come from him.”
Gress, who didn’t compete in cross country last year, knew he had to put in time and effort during the offseason to be ready this season.
“It took a lot of summer running,” Gress said. “I knew if I was going to do this, I would have to put in a lot of miles. I would have to push myself farther than I ever pushed before.”
Mousseau was excited to have Gress back on the team because he brings experience from on and off the track. Gress was part of the 3,200-meter Trinity relay team that won a Class B state title at the state track and field meet in May.
“That’s one thing he brings to the table is experience,” Mousseau said. “He’s won a state championship. Colin Bren and Jacob Kuntz know we have to pick it up. It’s back to that progression and they are going to improve. They are pretty confident.”
On the girls side, the physicality is there, but Mousseau said the mental edge of confidence isn’t quite there yet.
“We’ve just got to get the mental edge is what they really need,” he said. “Some of them haven’t run this much before, but they know it’s going to be nothing but good for them.”
The Midgets have a host of returners that includes two seniors, a massive amount of juniors and sophomores. Emily Tyrell, who had an impressive showing as a freshman last year, said she is eager to see what the season can bring for the team.
“We’re doing a lot better and we’re running a lot more,” Tyrell said. “I’m really excited and I can’t wait to see how our team does.”
For the sophomore, it’s about seeing improved results from one week to the next. The Midgets have been running two-a-days for the past couple weeks and she said it’s been work, but it will be worth it in the end.
Not to mention the Midgets will have a game plan this week.
“I think what we’re going to try to do is run close to each other,” Tyrell said. “As a pack, move up in the race. We’ve been running a lot of miles and we’re hoping to see improved from the last meet.”
Mousseau has area he wants to see turn out different for the second meet of the season — strong finishes by everyone.
“I really want to see the kids start off a little more in control and finish harder,” he said. “Instead of starting so hard and finishing like you are dying in there, that’s the main thing that we are looking to do.”
Boys tennis working out of early growing pains
The start to the Dickinson High boys tennis season has come without a win. However, head coach Jonathan Tangen said he has seen improvement from everyone on the court.
“When practice started I didn’t notice too much of a bond,” he said. “Now we gotten to know each other a lot better and know our strengths and weaknesses.”
He said the biggest growth has been between the double teams working together.
“Our double players now play with each other instead of against each other,” Tangen said. “As a team now, we really play to our strengths now more than we did before.”
To start the season, the Midgets had two returners: senior Hunter Jerome and sophomore Alex Priebe. Tangen said Jerome does everything a captain needs to accomplish whether it’s during a match or in practice.
“Hunter Jerome is our team captain,” Tangen said. “That’s a big positive, because he gets them fired up if somebody down on themselves. He wants to win and he has a competitive drive.”
Dickinson has yet to play a home match as the team traveled to a round robin in Minot and had duals in Bismarck Century and Mandan.
The Midgets remain on the road for duals against Bismarck High today and Valley City and Wahpeton on Saturday.
“We’ve played two of, what I think, are top three teams in the West Region,” Tangen said. “We haven’t played so well, but I’m looking forward to playing Bismarck High and Valley City coming up. We have young players that didn’t play much and maybe were a little intimidated playing those top teams.
“We have nowhere to go, but up from here.”