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Friez battles injury, qualifies in 5 events

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Mott-Regent senior Marah Friez runs the final leg of the 800 relay during the Trinity Town Crier Invitational on May 11 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

Mott-Regent senior Marah Friez, who has placed in the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Class B state track and field meet since she was an eighth-grader, had doubts of even competing this season.

She thought she was going to be sidelined by a nagging foot injury that affected her during the latter half of the basketball season.

However, the elongated winter, which hindered many of the early meets this season, proved to have its benefits for Friez. She had adequate time for her foot to heal, but she said there's a little discomfort.

"I didn't think that I was going to be able to run at the beginning of the season, but after my first meet it was a sigh of relief," said Friez, who was named Southwest Region Track Athlete of the Year. "I felt the pain sometimes, but it wasn't anything that I couldn't handle."

Wildfire head coach Ron Benson said if Friez was feeling any discomfort, she probably wouldn't say anything anyways.

"If she's banged up right now, she isn't saying anything," Benson said. "She's keeping it to herself and she's running pretty well right now.

"I was worried about it coming into the season, because I didn't think it would ever heal up."

Friez, and her nicked-up foot, will finish out the final high school track meet of her career at the Bismarck Community Bowl. The senior will compete in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, and will also run the anchor leg in the 800 relay.

In the 100 and 200, Friez has the fourth-fastest times in the state at 12.68 and 25.94, respectively.

"The season has been really good for not having as many track meets," Friez said. "I didn't think I would as fast as I was (because of the foot injury), but I guess I proved myself wrong."

Throughout Friez's high school career, she has placed individually nine times, including eight times in the 100 and 200. Her highest finish is back-to-back runner-ups in the 200 in 2010 and 2011.

"It's been great the last six or seven years," Benson said. "She's been a good leader all the way through. She's worked hard and never complained. It's a coach's dream to have someone like that is talented and has the work ethic."

Friez has been to enough state meets to know there isn't a safe qualifying time. There are always competitors searching for the top spot on the podium.

"It's easier to know I have state meet experience, but it doesn't make the competition any easier," Friez said with a laugh. "There's always somebody new."

Mott-Regent junior Abby Honeyman was also battling an injury throughout the season. Honeyman said it was nice to have Friez working alongside her to get back to full health.

"I don't know how it happens that we are both injured at the same time," said Honeyman, who qualified in five events. "It helps, because once we are back healthy, we can push each other again."

Honeyman said Friez has been very influential not only as a track and field competitor, but as a friend.

"It's been a pleasure running with her," Honeyman said. "She's taught me how to compete. I've always looked up to her, because she's always excelled in everything that she's done."