Conquering champ

BISMARCK -- Entering championship day, Beach senior Danny Skoglund had zero state titles to his name. At the end of his day, he had two. Skoglund won the first and last individual races Saturday during the Class B state track and field meet, clai...

Danny Skoglund
Press Photo by Royal McGregor Beach's Danny Skoglund wins the 300-hurdles Class B state title Saturday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

BISMARCK -- Entering championship day, Beach senior Danny Skoglund had zero state titles to his name.

At the end of his day, he had two.

Skoglund won the first and last individual races Saturday during the Class B state track and field meet, claiming titles in the 300-meter hurdles and 800-meter run at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

"My adrenaline after winning the 300 hurdles carried over," Skoglund said with a smile. "You just get excited right away and you just keep it going."

The senior had the fastest preliminary time in the 300 hurdles at 40.49 seconds and improved on his time during the finals to win at 39.96 seconds.


"In the hurdles, right at the end when no one was around and I knew I was going to win, I got really excited," Skoglund said. "My steps at the end felt perfect."

Skoglund also had the second-fastest time in the 800 coming into the meet, but he knew with the added level of competition, the time could easily drop. And it did. The senior ran nearly a half-second faster during the state finals in the 800 and came away with a time of 2:01.78.

"I knew I could run a better time," Skoglund said. "I just wanted to end my day -- and my final track meet -- by giving it my all."

Skoglund couldn't have been happier about his final high school athletic performance.

"It's excellent," Skoglund said with a laugh.

The Southwest Region had two more senior state champions with Dickinson Trinity senior Ben Gordon winning the javelin and Hettinger-Scranton senior Stephen Kristy defending his high jump title.

Gordon has been dealing with a scaphoid fracture in his right wrist since the end of the football season and admitted to being a little unsure of himself heading into the state meet. Gordon will have surgery on Wednesday to repair his right wrist.

"I wasn't very confident coming in with my wrist being fractured," Gordon said. "I knew that I wanted to build off last year (fourth at the state meet). I knew that I wanted to do better."


After progressing feet by feet in his first four attempts, Gordon ripped a throw of 185 feet, 2 inches on his final throw. Gordon was sitting with a 178, before Taylor Heins threw a 179-7 on his final throw. The Trinity senior needed at least solid throw to finish his day. That's when he threw the 185-2 bomb.

Gordon said he was able to progressively throw better and better each time he stepped into the box. Despite scratching on his first throw, Gordon felt good with where the day was going to take him.

"My first throw on the day, I scratched and my coach asked me, "Why didn't you fight to save that one, it went over 180 feet,'" Gordon said. "I knew it even though I scratched it I had something to build off of. At the state meet, it's anybody's game."

Kristy was pushed to the limits by Maple-Valley Enderlin's James Richman and, in turn, he was able to attempt a personal goal he set at the beginning of the season. Kristy's goal was to jump 6-7. Although he wasn't able to secure the height, he came close and won his second straight title with a jump of 6-6 on his first attempt.

"I was kind of hoping that jumping 6-6 on my first try would put the pressure on (Richman), but I wasn't quite sure," Kristy said. "I wanted to jump 6-7, but I came up a little short."

Gordon's win wasn't only a personal accomplishment but it helped put Trinity in contention of a top-five finish as a team.

Yet, there was another Titan playing an integral part for a top-five team finish. It was senior runner Mitchell Meyer, who helped score at least four points in every event he competed in to lead the Titans to a third-place finish.

"We knew if we kept placing high in all of our events we had a chance of doing some good damage," Meyer said.


Meyer's highest finish was runner-up in the 3,200 relay. Individually he took third in the 800 (2:03.14) Saturday after finishing fifth in the 1,600 on Friday.

In the team's final event, Meyer -- along with seniors Mason Heth, Alex Binstock and sophomore Jace Kruger -- placed third in the 1,600 relay (3:33.69).

"I just wanted to stay where I was coming in at," Meyer said. "We knew if we were able to do that, we could finish in the top five. That's all I tried doing."

Other top performances from around the area came from the close-knit Heart River quartet of seniors Cole Hecker, Cole Hlebechuk, Seth Ewoniuk and junior Tyson Kudrna. The four secured a runner-up finish in the 400 relay (44.26) and took third place in the 800 relay (1:31.46). Bowman County senior Michael Palczewski came into the state meet looking to defend his title in the 400 meters and knew the task would be tough. He placed third (50.541) in the event, but he had no regrets about how he ran.

"It was a good state track meet," Palczewski said. "It was a little bit of a disappointment when we didn't get our 4-by-200 relay into the finals.

"In that 400 open, I couldn't have asked for a better race. I glad that (Watford City's Tyler Bates) finally got a title."

Bates finished in 50.13.

While many of the athletes' high school track and field careers ended at the meet, some are looking toward the future, including Palczewski, who will run for Dickinson State in the fall.


"Now I have the entire summer to heal up and run at DSU next year," Palczewski said with a smile. "I'm excited for that."

What To Read Next
Get Local