Coyotes swim team focused on new seasonThe Williston girls swimming and diving team’s season is in full swing and the swimmers from Dickinson know what it takes to be at the top of the state standings.
By: Royal McGregor, The Dickinson Press
The Williston girls swimming and diving team’s season is in full swing and the swimmers from Dickinson know what it takes to be at the top of the state standings.
The co-op between Dickinson and Williston in swimming isn’t unfamiliar to most people, but head coach Thomas Wheeling said it’s a little different coaching kids in towns separated by more than 2 hours, 125 miles and countless oil rigs.
“It’s a unique situation having your team in two different cities,” he said. “The first week is really nice, because they are up here all week long. It’s like they do a whole lot of team bonding in the first week of practice.”
The team’s first meet was in Minot last Saturday. The Coyotes continue their season by traveling to the Bismarck Quadrangular, which starts at 4 p.m. Friday.
All the meets leading up to the West Region and Class A state meet are just stepping stones. Senior captain Samie Bohl knows both are still a long way away.
“It feels good to go and get a time that you want, even though you might not get that time at the beginning of the season,” she said. “It’s a really nice feeling to get it at the end.”
Dickinson has five returning swimmers that helped Williston take fifth place in state last year. Ketti Ringwall, a junior at Dickinson Trinity, said it’s good to have the experience and show the younger girls on the team that hard work during the regular season pays off in the end.
“We’ll be doing a really hard set, but I’m always thinking of a time that I want to get at state or nationals,” she said. “I just think of that, because even though I’m dying, I know I have to keep going.”
The Coyotes also have Leah Grove, Suzanna Moberg and Abigail Moberg returning with varsity experience.
“We have a really good group from Dickinson returning this year,” Wheeling said. “Samie Bohl is the senior captain this year and she’s done a really nice job for us so far. A few of the girls are new and they’ve been willing to swim a lot of different races, which makes my job a little bit easier.”
The swimmers don’t have a coach to watch them practice at Dickinson’s West River Community Center.
Instead, they have Jordan Avery, a liaison between the swimmers and Wheeling.
Wheeling said there’s one area the swimmers are going to have to key on and that’s being more negotiable about the events in which they’ll compete. A fourth-place finish at the state meet — the team’s goal — isn’t out of the question. But, it will take hard work to get there.
“I think one of the things we need to do to accomplish that is to push ourselves in practice and be flexible in swimming a lot of different events,” Wheeling said. “I think the four teams that placed above us last year have all improved, so we have to improve as well.”
Ringwall saw firsthand the payoff that long days and grueling practices during the season can have at state.
It’s a time she can’t wait to arrive.
“Last year, throughout the whole season, we were tired. But when state came, we did really good and took off a lot of time,” Ringwall said. “A lot of us made it to finals and that’s what’s helping us this year.”
As for a West Region title? Wheeling said that’s within reach.
“I definitely think we are in contention of a region title,” Wheeling said. “It’s a three-way race with Bismarck Century and Minot.”
Trinity makes its way through growing pains
The Dickinson Trinity volleyball team had three players returning with varsity experience, which is a far cry from the senior-based leadership it had last season.
Trinity head coach Rayma Braaten said her team is looking to the future and working toward the goal of making the Class B state tournament by the end of the season.
“I think overall we have been doing OK,” Braaten said. “I think there are a lot of new things going on, so they are adjusting to it. As time progresses, we’ll get better.”
The Titans need a short memory after a four-set District 14 loss at Richardton-Taylor on Tuesday. They travel to Bowman County at 7 p.m. today.
“Tuesday wasn’t a good day for us, but it’s the beginning of the season and should help us move on,” Braaten said.
Trinity’s struggles haven’t come on the offensive side of the ball, where senior Alyson Schieno, juniors Katelyn Grinsteinner and Gretchen Weir are putting the ball in the opposition’s side of the floor with ease.
The problem, Braaten said, comes with the lack of varsity experience.
“We have a strong lineup in the net,” Braaten said. “I think we have other things to adjust, like playing together as team and playing at a varsity level.”
The Titans are currently 4-5 overall this season, but Braaten said the play in Region 7 is pretty well balanced.
“I think it’s pretty even,” Braaten said. “If you look at it, most of the stars from last season are gone. Overall it’s pretty even competition, I think it’s just going to come down to whoever wants it more is going to win it.”