Patrick Bernadeau is a sports reporter for the Dickinson Press. He can be reached at his office number (701) 456-1211 or email him at email@example.com. Joining the Dickinson Press in July 2017, he was previously a freelance sports writer for Treasure Coast Newspapers (TCPalm.com) in Stuart, FL as well as carrying bylines from the Associated Press, Miami Herald, Orlando Sentinel, Florida Today and Naples Daily News. Prior to his move to Dickinson, he resided in Port St. Lucie, FL, earning a Bachelor's Degree from Florida Atlantic University. Patrick was born and raised in Brockton, Mass and is an avid Boston sports fan. Born to Haitian parents, Patrick's favorite meal is Griot with Banana Peze, Pikliz (Fried pork with smashed plaintains and a spicy vegetable relish) and a tall glass of Cherry Coke.
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Throughout much of this decade, a trio of teams have reigned atop of the Region 5 mountain. As Bowman County, Hazen, and Heart River work toward continuing their streaks of consecutive state appearances, each team has also defined their reasons for success. The Bison won six state championships during a 14-year stretch ranging from 1996-2009 and have qualified for the state tournament every year since. According to head coach Josiah Pratt, Hazen's past achievements are a product of the seeds planted by the Berglund family.
For the last three seasons, the Heart River boys golf team has been on the doorstep of a state crown. The Cougars followed a third-place state finish in 2015 with a pair of runner-up finishes in 2016 and 2017, but as they get ready to hit the links this season, the mentality is less about getting the monkey off of their back and simply performing to the best of their ability.
After collecting a 14th place state finish in 2017 and a tie for sixth place in 2016, the Dickinson Trinity boys golf team and its voyage to another state tournament will be headed by new leadership. Jake Selinger enters his first season as Titans head coach, replacing Ernie Hill. Selinger graduated from Dickinson Trinity in 2007 and played golf collegiately at the University of Mary. "This is my first year and I'm very excited, if we can get the weather to warm up, it'll be even better," Selinger said. "Now, we are just working on what we can and go from there."
The Dickinson High girls tennis team hit the courts for practice on Monday just a week before their season opener. After the players got loose with a few practice swings and before working backhand, forehand and volley shots near the net, Midgets head coach Lia Bradley preached for consistency in their technique. While it's too early to tell whether the Midgets will threaten for their first team state tournament appearance since 2015, Bradley is approaching the season with optimism and a "one match at a time" mentality.
Spring began more than two weeks ago, believe it or not. With another weekend of cold temperatures and snow on the horizon, it can't be emphasized enough how brutal the weather has been for the athletes across the state in preparation for the Spring sports season. But as North Dakotans continue to wait for the thermometer to stay above freezing, area coaches have learned to adjust.
Mother Nature, for the time being, has put the start of Dickinson Trinity track and field season on hold. Cold and snowy conditions sweeping through the state have resulted in cancellations of the Titans' first two meets — a matchup at Bowman County scheduled for Tuesday, April 3 and the Coca Cola Invitational slated for Friday, April 6 at the Biesiot Activities Center — in their 2018 campaign. But whenever the Titans get their chance to hit the track, they'll look to solidify their place amongst Class B's elite.
There's one word above all that describes the makeup of the Dickinson High boys baseball team entering the 2018 season: transition. Coming off of a season where they went 32-4, earned a runner-up finish in the Class A state tournament and are just two years removed from a state title, the Midgets walk into the spring needing to replace all of their starters from the year before. "We end up having to fill a lot of holes every year, but usually not all nine of them," Dickinson head coach Pete Dobitz said.
Last season, the Dickinson High girls softball finished in a three-way tie with Bishop Ryan and Bismarck Century atop the WDA regular season standings. Despite failing to pick up their third consecutive regional tournament crown, the Midgets still made their sixth straight appearance in the state tournament, capturing a third-place finish. This year, the route through the West Region is slightly altered. Bishop Ryan is no longer a region rival, reclassifying to Class B during the winter. But even with the change in competition, the goal remains the same.
Spring is in the air. As the temperatures (sort of) begin to rise and the flowers (eventually) start to bloom, little else signifies the season of change like the start of the baseball season. But for many schools across area, the wintery conditions have resulted in little time out on the fields.
WILLISTON — In their second meet of the season, the Dickinson High boys and girls track and field teams each took home second places finishes at Williston High School. The Lady Midgets collected a team score of 167.75, placing as runners-up to Minot, who was victorious with a score of 167.75. Watford City and host Williston followed with scores of 89.75 and 34, respectively.