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Team first focus

As much time as Dickinson High senior Skyler Beaudoin puts into his open track and field events, he doesn't get as excited about them as he does relays.

As much time as Dickinson High senior Skyler Beaudoin puts into his open track and field events, he doesn't get as excited about them as he does relays.

That mindset and attitude is exactly why Beaudoin impresses Dickinson track and field co-coach Dave Michaelson.

"He's one of the most team-oriented young men," Michaelson said. "He'll do whatever we ask him to do. That means if we ask him not to long jump and to be on the track, that's what Skyler will do."

And that's what the coaches have asked him to do.

Though he qualified in the long jump, Skyler is going to forgo the event so he can run in the mile relay (1,600) at the Class A state meet, which begins today in Bismarck. Beaudoin is competing in the open 400, 400 relay, 800 relay and 1,600 relay.

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"I had to give up the long jump to do the mile relay," Beaudoin said. "I wanted to get a 21-footer, because I thought I was capable, but the mile relay is my passion.

"I love the mile relay."

Michaelson said Beaudoin is being moved to help the team score points.

"We just had to look at what we thought Skyler would be best suited for," Michaelson said. "Skyler's been running on the mile relay since he was a young pup. Skyler takes a lot of pride in that."

Michaelson acknowledged Beaudoin's desire to compete in the long jump.

"He'd love to long jump," Michaelson said. "(But) he's very, very unselfish. You ask him to do (something), and he goes and does it. He doesn't bat an eye."

Beaudoin's claim to fame lies in his performance in the mile relay as a sophomore and as a junior when he was a leg in both state title-winning relays. His sophomore season, he helped the Midgets break the overall state record in the event with a time of 3:21.81, just eleven-hundredths of a second better than the time they ran his junior season.

"Any time someone mentions the mile relay, they're going to think Dickinson," Beaudoin said.

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Michaelson said Beaudoin's sacrifice is just one of the reasons he was voted team captain by his peers.

"He's just a quality young man," Michaelson said. "We're going to miss him next year. He's a good role model for a lot of other kids."

Dickinson's strength in the mile relay comes from its ability to consistently develop quarter-milers.

Last season, the Midgets had five of the eight placers in the state meet, including Beaudoin's sixth-place finish.

This season, Dickinson senior Taylor Bruhschwein is second with a time of 50.40 and junior Challis Williams is third at 50.42. Beaudoin and junior Clark Weiser are ninth and 10th in the state, respectively.

"Dickinson is known for the 400," Beaudoin said. "I think it's going to be that way for a long time."

Bruhschwein and Weiser are also contenders in the 300 hurdles as Bruhschwein is currently second and Weiser is fourth.

"That's been a good race for us," Michaelson said.

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Along with having the top time in the mile relay, the Midgets are also first in the 800 relay and third in the 400 relay.

In the pole vault, Dickinson has five state qualifiers, by far the most for any team. Junior Alex Wald is tied with two others for the fourth best vault at 13-6 while junior Bryce Levorsen is seventh at 13-3. Senior Andrew Ulmer, junior Lucas Hendrickson and sophomore Tim Kessel have also qualified.

"We need to score some points in the pole vault," Michaelson said.

Michaelson said if the Midgets are to do well, they'll need senior Mike Lupo to have a good day in the shot put. He enters with the fourth-best throw at 53-4.

"Mike needs to make sure he's solid," Michaelson said. "We'll be hard-pressed to score in other field events."

Michaelson said Dickinson expects to finish no worse than sixth and noted that the Midgets could challenge for the runner-up spot with a near-perfect day.

"The odds-on favorite goes to Bismarck and Fargo South," Michaelson said. "It looks like we could be in that top three-to-five range.

"With a good day, maybe we're in the top two."

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