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Beck takes advantage of every chance

Press Photo by Royal McGregor Killdeer senior Tucker Beck runs the first leg of the 800-meter relay during the Trinity Last Chance Meet on May 13 at the Biesiot Activities Center.

Killdeer senior Tucker Beck isn’t taking one practice, one race or one meet for granted.

Beck has made the 26-mile drive from Grassy Butte to Killdeer for school and practice every day.

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Needless to say, he wants to make sure he makes every mile traveled count.

“When it’s something you like, it’s not a problem driving,” he said. “It’s one of those deals where it’s my senior year and I don’t want to go out with any regrets. I’m trying to do everything to the best of my ability, whether it just be the warm ups or the conditioning.”

Beck hasn’t disappointed during his senior season.

The senior qualified in three individual events and three relays. At the North Dakota Class B state track and field meet, Beck will compete in the 200-meter dash and be the lead leg for the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays. He qualified in the 100 and long jump, but won’t compete in those.

“I’m pretty happy with my senior year,” Beck said. “Everything has lined up on how I wanted it to so far. I’ve been pretty lucky with that.”

Being the lead leg for three relays is an important job, and Beck wants to make sure the next three individuals receiving the baton have a lead and chance to perform well.

Yet, the lead leg of relays comes with a price — the pressure to get off to a good start.

“It’s a pretty big honor to be the first person in a relay, because I feel that there is a lot responsibility on my shoulders to get them out to a good lead,” Beck said. “I always know the three guys after me are capable of doing what they need to do.”

One runner who feels extremely comfortable when Beck leads is Trenton Rohr. The junior receives the baton from Beck in each relay.

“He’s easily why our relays are the way that they are,” Rohr said. “Every day, he’s out in front of us in whatever the conditioning is. He’s always leading us.

“It’s not every day when you can have someone that blows everybody up out of the blocks and have a person like Lewis (Dobitz) to finish it. That’s pretty special to find, especially in Class B.”

During the Southwest Region track and field meet last Saturday, Beck was named the region’s senior male athlete of the year.

Before his name was called, Beck’s teammates were huddled around him waiting in anticipation. After Beck and teammates heard his name, the celebration began. Killdeer head coach Nathan Horgeshimer was also named male head coach of the year.

“I was really excited and I know everyone else was,” Beck said. “I wasn’t really expecting it. It was a real privilege to be the senior athlete.”

Fastest in the state

The Cowboys’ 400, 800 and 1,600 relays have either the fastest or second-fastest times in Class B. Killdeer broke its 400 relay school record after finishing with a time of 43.76 seconds.

Horgeshimer said running some of the fastest times in the state is due in large part to having consistency in each relay. The Cowboys have used three of the same four runners in the same relays in the same spots for the last three years.

“We thought we were going to have a shot to have a pretty good team at regionals and state,” Horgeshimer said. “Lewis and Tucker have really come into their own this year and have been pretty dominate.

“We weren’t really expecting to get everything qualified in the first week,” he added with a laugh. “That was kind of fun, because we got to play around with our relays and put some other guys in that might not run at the state, but they get to come with and learn for future years.”

Though the Cowboys are entering with some of the fastest times in the state, they aren’t leaning on the past. That has burned them before.

Beck knows the team is going to have to put together two solid relay races.

“We are going to have to run just as good, if not better than we did,” Beck said. “I know we have the ability to do it. We just have to go out there and get it done.”

At last year’s state meet, Killdeer took two fifth places and one sixth in the 400, 800 and 1,600 relays. It wasn’t exactly the finish the Cowboys wanted.

“We expected a lot out of ourselves last year,” Rohr said. “Our relays kind of choked, because we came in ranked pretty high and we finished middle of pack. That kind of hurt.”

However, last year’s finish at state has fueled the fire during the 2014 season.

With many of the same sprinters returning, Beck had a feeling the relays could be better than last season.

The Cowboys have a goal of setting a new school record in the 800 relay this weekend.

“We’ve been really close on breaking the school record in the (800 relay),” Beck said. “One of the main things that we’ve had in the back of our minds is to not do what we did last year. I know we have the ability to not do that.”