‘Keeping the tradition going’: Dickinson competes at cross country state meet

Dickinson traveled to Jamestown for the Class A cross country state championship meet.

Caleb Hansen and AJ Ash after after the state championship in Jamestown. (Josiah C Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

It was a cool afternoon at the Jamestown Parkhurst campground, where the Class A cross country state championship was hosted. Williston proved their stature, sweeping the competition with both their boys and girls teams taking their respective titles.

Though the Dickinson girls would place 16th, the Dickinson boys ran a strong competitive race with two of their seniors placing in the top 20 and fifth as a team with 167 points.

Dickinson head coach Greg Jung was happy with how his seniors got to close out their high school careers and the contribution towards their teams’ goal.

“I think it is a good feather in this program's hat. North Dakota Class A cross country is very competitive so we feel really proud where this program is,” Jung said. “After graduating a couple of All-Staters last year and to have the kids coming back and keep the tradition going is really special.”

AJ Ash pushed hard to overcome a previous personal best and to lead his fellow Midgets. He claimed sixth place with a time of 15:56 and was happy for what his team was able to accomplish.


Dickinson boys team push hard when starting the state championship in Jamestown. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“I actually set a new personal record at the mile mark. That first mile was really fast and lots of fun,” Ash said. “My goal all year was to break 16 minutes and also get top 10 at state and I did both of those. I’m really proud of what we did here at state.”

Caleb Hansen, 16:13, was just shy of the top ten by two seconds, finishing 11th at 16:13. After the races and ceremony, he showed honest emotions of tears of joy for all that he had been able to accomplish with his team.

Caleb Hansen pushes to hold his spot as he approaches the final corner. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“I am ecstatic right now, I am just so proud of our team today. We did it as a team and I love them all,” Hensen said. “I am just so glad I got to be a part of it.”

Just as she did in the WDA championship as Dickinson’s youngest female runner, Leila Gregoire was the top finisher for the Midgets, crossing the finish line at 20:26 in 32nd place. She thought it was a step up from her performance the year before, taking 72nd with a time of 21:32.


Dickinson girls team hold together in the early section of the race. (Josiah C. Cuellar / The Dickinson Press)

“I am pretty happy with how I did, for being an 8th grader and getting 32nd is pretty cool. Getting out fast was a struggle so I wouldn’t get boxed in but I just tried my best to get out as hard and fast as I could,” Gregoire said. “My goal for every race is to just go out and run my very best and I think that I did that at state this year. Next year I just want to try my very best in every race and keep improving.”

The season is over and though Dickinson will be losing some key players, Jung has faith in the years to come for their program and their young runners.

“Our boys program has an awesome culture,” Jung said. “I think the boys' cross country is a special place to be and the kids know that. Even though we lost Caleb and AJ, we got a lot of good kids coming back and I wouldn’t be surprised if this program is in the top five again next year.”

Boys team results - 18 teams

4th - Dickinson, 167

Individual results


6 - AJ Ash,Dickinson, 15:56

11 - Caleb Hansen, 16:13

29 - Eli Hansen, 17:07

61 - Jace Cofer, 17:46

68 - Caleb Swisher, 17:56

74 - Jake Skabo, 18:00

77 - Max Lefor, 18:03

133 - Aidon Rodakowski, 19:06

144 - Joel Thorson, 19:45

173 - Jack Kovash, 21:28

Girls team results - 18 teams

16 - Dickinson, 408

Individual results

32- Leila Gregoire, 20:26

105 - Peyton Laser, 21:55

106 - Abby Praus, 21:56

111 - Morgan Aune, 22:65

130 - Arabella Privratsky, 22:33

139 - Laney Tillman, 22:47

144 - Claire Kreidt, 22:54

164 - Veronica Pavek, 23:44

Josiah C. Cuellar was born in San Angelo, Texas, a small rural community in the western part of the state known for its farming, ranching and beautiful Concho River. A Texas A&M San Antonio graduate specializing in multi-media reporting, Cuellar is an award winning photographer and reporter whose work focuses on community news and sports.
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