Final run at a title: Honeyman seeks state championship in 100-meter hurdles during last state meet
Mott-Regent senior Abby Honeyman doesn’t have the easiest practices.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” Honeyman said with a laugh. “When you get to a meet it’s a big deal, because you get to run on a track. We all look like little kids, because we get to run on a track when we get to a meet.”
Honeyman runs at the Mott football field, school gymnasium or on the treadmill at home.
The countless hours of running in less-than-ideal conditions hasn’t deterred her from qualifying in six individual events, including the 100- and 200-meter dashes, the 100 and 300 hurdles and the long and triple jumps. Honeyman will compete in both hurdle and jump events during the North Dakota Class B state track and field meet, which begins Friday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
“In the past, I always took the state meet a little too serious and this is my final one, so I’m excited to give it everything I have and just have fun with it,” said Honeyman, who was named Southwest Region girls senior athlete of the year.
When Honeyman does receive the opportunity to race on a track, she doesn’t let the chance slip past her. She has the fastest 100 hurdles time in Class B at 15.12 seconds. She also has a top-five time in the 300 hurdles (47.55) and has top 10 long and triple jump marks.
This year also marks the first time Honeyman will compete in all individual events. In previous years, she would compete in at least one relay, if not more.
“I put too much pressure on myself last year,” Honeyman said. “I’m more confident this year and looser. It will be a little bit different.”
Honeyman’s hope is to win a state title in the 100 hurdles. She said placing third last year has kept her motivated throughout practice and during races.
As an eighth-grader, Honeyman watched former Mott-Regent standout Marah Friez come up short of winning a state title. Honeyman said whether this weekend ends with or without a state title, she will be happy with her career.
“That was tough, because that’s everyone’s goal,” Honeyman said. “Marah is such a good athlete and she had chances. That is hard to see that, but I know she was proud too. If I don’t come away with a championship, I’ll be able to look back and I’ll be proud.”
Mott-Regent head coach Ron Benson said having Honeyman and senior Alyssa Olin is like having two extra coaches. Benson said it’s tough for him and the team’s two assistant coaches — Kent Featherstone and Jim Honeyman, Abby’s dad — to be everywhere at once, so it’s reassuring to have Olin and Abby Honeyman lead by example.
“They always do the right things and set good examples,” Benson said. “They’ve been good for the younger kids. Not just in their senior years, but in every year. They don’t complain or whine. They do what we’ve asked them to do.”
Two peas in a pod
Since Honeyman began her run at the state meet in her eighth-grader season, she has competed alongside of Olin.
The two push each other on the track and in the field. Olin said it’s comforting to know Honeyman will be there for support. Olin, who will only be competing in the javelin, has the second-best throw in Class B at 132 feet, 6 inches.
“She’s a great motivator,” Olin said. “She has so much drive and determination. She’s really inspiring. She always helps me stay strong and stay determined. It will be the last time we’ll get to be together, but I have loved every year being an athlete with Abby.”
Honeyman and Olin have competed in track and field, and also in volleyball and basketball for multiple years.
Honeyman said the two have been on the same page every step of the way.
“She’s a great teammate,” Honeyman said. “She always pushes me to be my best.”
Taking the next step
There’s no doubt Honeyman enjoys running and jumping at the Biesiot Activities Center.
She has posted some of her best times and distances at Dickinson State’s stadium.
Honeyman enjoys it so much, she will be competing for the DSU women’s track and field team in the fall. She signed her letter of intent with the Blue Hawks in November.
“It would have been a lot harder receiving the (Southwest Region girls senior athlete of the year) award knowing I wouldn’t be back on the track, but to know that I’ll be back and I have four more years left is a nice feeling” Honeyman said. “It’s relaxing. I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Benson is pleased Honeyman will compete at the next level.
“It will be a great experience for her,” he said. “It will be cool to see how good she can get. That’s the thing that will be kind of neat. We are excited for her and happy that she’s going to stay close to home.”