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Titans take region titles

BEACH -- The dominance of Dickinson Trinity in track and field shined brightly on Saturday. The Titans swept the Region 8 meet at the Buccaneer Sports Complex after amassing 228 points on the boys' side and 180.5 points in girls' action. Trinity ...

BEACH -- The dominance of Dickinson Trinity in track and field shined brightly on Saturday.

The Titans swept the Region 8 meet at the Buccaneer Sports Complex after amassing 228 points on the boys' side and 180.5 points in girls' action.

Trinity coach Craig Kovash, who was named the Region 8 boys coach of the year, said high participation contributes to the Titans' success.

"Our numbers' game is big for us," Kovash said. "They (the boys) won nine events. The girls won seven. That's 90 and 70 points right there."

Though the outcome was the same, the paths were much different.

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The boys almost doubled runner-up Richardton-Taylor's score, amassing 228 points. The Raiders finished with 115 while Mott-Regent scored 88 points to secure a third-place finish. Killdeer (87) and Beulah (85) rounded out the top five.

Trinity senior Marcus Sickler continued his strong season by winning the 400-meter dash. The Region 8 senior athlete of the year also won the 800. Junior Jake Braunberger swept the distance events, winning the 1,600 and 3,200.

Kovash, however, was particularly pleased with sophomore Aaron Grinsteinner.

Grinsteinner finished first in the 300 hurdles, an event he was qualified in entering the meet. However, with the top two finishers advancing to state in every event, Grinsteinner took advantage and placed second in the 400 behind Sickler.

"He had a pretty busy day," Kovash said of Grinsteinner. "He ran really hard for us. That's an event where there aren't a lot of qualifiers. We wanted to get another one in there."

Jared Keller also did well for the Titans. The senior won the discus competition.

Trinity won three of the four relays, finishing second to Mott-Regent in the 400.

The girls meet was much more of a nail-biter as the Titans finished nine points ahead of Bowman County's runner-up total of 171.5. Beulah (141), Killdeer (71) and Richardton-Taylor (63) rounded out the top five.

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"Our girls really stepped it up," Kovash said. "We did some nice things and came away with the region."

The biggest surprise for Kovash came from Kaylee Schank, who qualified in the 800 by winning the event with a time of 2:31.89.

"That was unexpected, she really ran well," Kovash said. "There were several girls ahead of her by decent times and she beat those girls. That's stepping up in crunch time. It kind of summed up our girls' day."

Also qualifying for state was senior Taylor Braunberger in the 3,200, a race in which she has placed at state the past two years.

She also won the 1,600.

Other winners included Breanna Messer in the 100 hurdles and Shannon Ernst in the javelin.

Arguably the biggest highlight of the day for the Titans came from senior Jennifer Bachamp, who broke the school record in the pole vault with a leap of 10 feet, ½ inch.

The previous mark of 10 feet was set by Casey Kostelecky in 2003 and Bachamp had been flirting with the record the latter half of the season.

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"It just feels good," Bachamp said. "When I cleared 9-9 (this season), I knew I was getting really close."

Qualifying for state by place mostly benefits those who haven't yet reached the state meet's recognized standard.

"It gives a lot of kids hope," Richardton-Taylor coach Dan Glasser said. "If you're not fast enough or your throw isn't far enough, you can still meet your ultimate goal of making the state track meet."

Richardton-Taylor junior Lane Transtrom earned his first trip to the state meet by throwing a personal best 44-2, good enough for second place.

"The nervousness got to me," Transtrom said. "I got the adrenaline going."

Richardton-Taylor senior Katie Zent won a trio of races en route to Region 8 senior athlete of the year honors. She took home top honors in the 400, long jump and triple jump.

Bowman County coach Nick Walker was the Region 8 girls coach of the year.

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