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Midgets track and field gearing up for new season

The Dickinson High girls track and field team has eight state qualifiers returning from a year ago, an experienced base for what head coach Greg Jung hopes is a fruitful season.

Dickinson High senior Megan Erickson competes at last season's state track and field meet in Bismarck. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)
Dickinson High senior Megan Erickson competes at last season's state track and field meet in Bismarck. (Parker Cotton / The Dickinson Press)

The Dickinson High girls track and field team has eight state qualifiers returning from a year ago, an experienced base for what head coach Greg Jung hopes is a fruitful season.

The Midgets will be deep in the field events and on the track, Jung said, and he hopes the girls in the throwing events progress quickly.

"Of course we have a lot back on the track, and that starts with our seniors," Jung said.

Of that group, Macy Mack and Megan Erickson helped the Midgets place in the 400- and 800-meter relays at last year's state meet, and Elizabeth Yoder placed in the two-mile run, so the Midgets are well-positioned in terms of leadership on the track.

"They've been leaders for a long time, and now it's their final time to do this," Jung said, "and they've been doing an exceptional job."

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Erickson also placed in both the 100- and 200-meter sprints last season, and she hopes to build on those performances. She's off to a good start already, qualifying for state last week in Williston with second-place finishes in each event. She ran 12.66 seconds in the 100 and 26.30 in the 200.

"I ran decent times, so hopefully I can improve on those times, shave down some time, maybe get the school record," Erickson said.

Joining Erickson and Mack in certain relays are fellow returners Emily Keller, a junior, and Peyton Selle, a freshman.

"It's exciting to have some of the same people in the (800-meter relay), but our (400) will change, and it'll be a change getting used to new people," she said. "But I'm really excited to run it on Friday."

Junior Lexi Jordheim was third in the pole vault last season at state, and sophomore teammate Meghan Ackerman was ninth, just one spot out of placing. Both vaulted 9 feet, 3 inches at Williston to qualify already for this season's state meet.

"At this point, I qualified and I got it out of the way, but I still want to improve throughout these next meets, because I think at state if you jump a qualifying vault, that might not even get you a place," Ackerman said. "For me, it's about getting on bigger, taller poles and working on my techniques so hopefully I can place higher at state."

Ackerman will also compete for the Midgets in the long jump, and she's added some short running events to her itinerary this season - primarily the 100 meters and the 400-meter relay.

"I can't run more than a 100 because it doesn't go very well," Ackerman admitted with a laugh. "But I like those races. I think our relay has a good chance of qualifying. ... Coach Jung talks about how they'll help me on the long jump runway and the pole vault runway because it's relatively close to running a 100, so he knows if he trains me well on the track that it'll show in my field events."

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Jordheim will also be back high jumping, where she placed sixth last season. Junior Morgan Kainz will be long jumping and triple jumping, Keller will be long jumping and doing some open track races, and Jung believes he has some throwers with upside.

"We'll be young in the throws, but we hope by midseason they'll be knocking on the doors to get themselves in the state meet," he said. "Alanta Tormaschy threw really well for us last year, and Audrey Rodakowski has thrown well in a couple meets that we've had, so there's some potential. We haven't thrown the discus yet, and we have some javelin throwers that threw in the 90s in their first meet with Lexi Skabo and Jace Steier."

The DHS girls team competes next on Friday in Minot.

Herauf highlights thin DHS boys roster

On the other end of the spectrum, the Dickinson High boys track and field team lost a lot from last year.

The Midgets return just two boys with state meet experience from a year ago: senior Mike Herauf and junior Conner Hoenke.

"It's the youngest team we've had, not just with the inexperience but also the numbers. We have a really small senior class," boys co-head coach Dave Michaelson said. "It's six seniors. And it's in no way a knock on the school, but some pretty fast kids are playing baseball, and that's just the reality of it. Our state (track) championship teams in the past were pre-baseball. Everybody knows you win track state championships with good quarter-milers and 200 and 400 runners, and we're not that deep on the track, and we're not that deep in the field events, but we have more experience there."

That experience starts with Herauf, who will dabble in track events, but, as the defending Class A state champion in the pole vault, he's looking for new heights.
"There are so many things I can work on in the vault that I'm really excited about," he said. "Hopefully I can get this school record sooner rather than later because I have goals set, and I don't want to stop there."

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Derik Brugger in 2004 set the school's pole vault record at 15-1.5. Herauf has cleared 15-3 before, but not in formal competition. He won the state title last year with a height of 14-9.5.

"I want to keep progressing as much as I can, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to get there," he said. "My ultimate goal is 16-2, which is a big jump, but with the poles that I have, I think I can maintain that. It would have to be a good day, obviously, and I'm hoping for the best, but even getting past that school record, I have something to push me that I really, really want to achieve."

Herauf, who is signed to be a decathlete at the University of Minnesota, said he hopes to qualify for state in four other events as well - the 300-meter hurdles, javelin, and the 200- and 400-meter runs - so that he works to become more well-rounded.

Elsewhere, Michaelson mentioned seniors Dane Haugen, Bryce Smith and Preston Borsheim as the leaders in the throwing events.

"They've stuck it out. Dane and Preston, they were good football players for us too, and they're good kids and have been in the program," Michaelson said.

Hoenke returns this season after running in the 400- and 800-meter relays at state last season.

"He's our fastest kid, and as a junior, he'll be a good leader," Michaelson said. "In the distances, one of our best is young, Aiden Jung (a freshman). ... It's tough because on the one hand you want to be competitive, but the silver lining is that we should see a lot of improvement because young kids improve the most. We'll see big jumps from kids in technique and as they learn how to race. That's the exciting part about working with young kids."

The Dickinson High boys track and field team competes next on Friday at the Coke Invite at the Biesiot Activities Center. Field events start at noon, and running events begin at 1 p.m.

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