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Hurdling into history: Trinity’s Knopik sets school record in 110-meter hurdles

Records are meant to broken is the old cliche. And on Tuesday, April 24, the Dickinson Trinity junior Aric Knopik helped rewrite the Titans record books. Racing in the 110-meter hurdles during the DHS Pankratz Invite from the Biesiot Activities C...

Dickinson Trinity junior Aric Knopik leads the pack in the 300 hurdles during the Pankratz Invite on Tuesday, April 24 from the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon/The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson Trinity junior Aric Knopik leads the pack in the 300 hurdles during the Pankratz Invite on Tuesday, April 24 from the Biesiot Activities Center. (Shelby Reardon/The Dickinson Press)

Records are meant to broken is the old cliche.

And on Tuesday, April 24, the Dickinson Trinity junior Aric Knopik helped rewrite the Titans record books.

Racing in the 110-meter hurdles during the DHS Pankratz Invite from the Biesiot Activities Center, Knopik was victorious with a state-qualifying time of 14.98 seconds. Not only was he the class of the field, but he broke the school record in the event in the process.

"This has been something that's been in the back of my mind ever since freshman year," Knopik said. "It really took me by surprise, but it was like everything's finally paid off, I've finally made it to this point."

With his teammates and supporters congratulating him after his time became official, one particular observer joined in on the celebration: Titans hurdles coach and previous school record holder Father Kregg Hochhalter.

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He set the record in the event with a time of 15.06 back in 2003.

Hochhalter figured when Knopik finished ahead of one of the best runners in the state, Watford City senior Conner Dennis, that he was in line for a good showing; Hochhalter, however, didn't realize just how good that showing would be.

"When you look at a 110-meter hurdle race, they're fast; about a 15 second race. So you don't know what exactly the time will be, but I knew from watching him and his competition that it was going to be a fast race," Hochhalter said. "I'm excited for him. It's been 15 years since I've been out of high school, I don't think about that record all too often, in the track season probably more than others.

"I'm his coach. My job, my duty, and my commitment is to see him get better and faster. He ran a [personal record], broke a school record and I've very happy for him."

After the race, one might expect the new 110 hurdle king to share some good-natured ribbing with his predecessor, but in the moment, that was not the case.

"No, I kind of felt bad," Knopik said. "It's been his record for a long time. I know it means a lot to have a school record there. Of course, there was a little bit of feelings towards that."

Knopik's reaction comes as no surprise to the coaching staff and people around him. Rather than gloat about his accomplishment, he shared his excitement with the man who has taught him so much as his coach.

"They both were excited," Titans track and field head coach Craig Kovash said. "Father, he was very excited for Aric and Aric is just very humble. Everybody's congratulating him and I know he was excited. But again, he's just such a humble kid. It's a good quality in him."

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For Hochhalter, it isn't simply Knopik's speed on the track and ability in the field that stands out, it's his character.

"Aric's a man of faith, first and foremost I'd have to say that," Hochhalter said. "He's a man of faith, he's a man of virtue, of confidence and Aric is easy to relate to. He's easy to be friends with, he's an affable young man, full of humor and a joy to be around."

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