Youthful Raiders ready to race

Richardton-Taylor Track & Field team gears up for 2023 season, despite unique challenges.

Richardton-Taylor state-level track athletes ready to run.
Special to The Dickinson Press

RICHARDTON – Small towns don’t necessarily make for small teams, and in Richardton-Taylor the co-op stand strong at 51 athletes (and counting) in track & field, and the Raiders are ready to run for the 2023 season. The team also is quite young – with much room to grow – and looks to be involved in a 12-meet season if everything goes according to plan.

Track & field head coach Shawn Alder has been with the program for eight years, and he said so far the preparations for this season have been “excellent,” despite the weather. The Raiders have a series of challenges that are not specific to the area, but are somewhat unique to their school and the standard track program in the Southwest North Dakota area.

“We have a pretty good program because we have a good weight room and we use the hallways as much as we can, but we have to share the gym with elementary volleyball,” Alder said, “so that kind of creates a struggle that we work around. All the teams in Richardton work well together and we are headed to Miles City (Montana) for a track meet this weekend because it doesn’t snow there as much as us.”

Richardton-Taylor's track team during a recent gym practice session.
Special to The Dickinson Press

That fast start – not-to-mention the early three-hour drive – could help jump-start the season, and Alder said, “you do what you gotta do.” But that’s also nothing unusual to the school, which traveled to Belle Fourche, SD, Baker, Mont. and Parshall, ND last year after an odd, record-setting April snowstorm in 2022.

“We just try to find different track meets,” Alder said. “You’ve got to squeeze in as many track meets as you can. You only get a month and a half, and track meets do get canceled all the time up here, so you have to give the kids as many opportunities as you can to qualify for state.”


Alder credits the culture at the school for its past success, and the students are so disciplined they work on their own schedules very well. He added that the students have responded by taking the process and program seriously and their work-ethic is second-to-none.

“We understand each other and we trust each other and it’s really cool to see,” he said. “I can write the workout on the board and leave and I would trust that they’d get it done, 100-percent.”

The team returns seven athletes who earned spots at state in 2022, although they lost seven seniors from that team, and that youth will offer possibilities and challenges. Junior Eastyn Gebhardt placed 10th in the shot-put last year at state, while sophomore Mariska Krank and eighth-grader Juliet Redka placed at regionals last year.

The main bulk of the girls team will be Redka, freshmen Bella Yoder and Callie Grage, sophomores Abby Schmidt, Jocelyn Redka, Jarika Peterschick, Krank,

Grace Goetz, and AshLynn Christensen, and juniors Evelyn Kuntz, Gebhardt, and Ava Bartz.

For the boys team expect to see eighth-grader Tracy Aune joined by freshmen Kane Rivinius, Nolan Kuntz, and Matthew Aune, sophomores Hadley Paulson and Gabe Adamson, joined by juniors Caisen Dohrmann, Marcus Cuevas and Clayton Aune, with senior Dylan Kessel leading the squad.

Rivinius, Cuevas, and Dohrman all placed at regionals and that was accomplished in a difficult district and the region is tough competition, Alder said.

The season is ostensibly supposed to kick off this weekend with a meet at Miles City, Mont. on April 1 and that will be followed up with another long drive to Glendive, Mont. on April 6. Meets at Bowman County on April 11 and 18 will be next on the schedule, while a 4/22 meet at Killdeer and another away meet at the Biesiot Activities Center in Dickinson will be on the 27th of April. Heading into May, Killdeer awaits on the 4th, Bowman on the 9th and Beach on the 13th with another meet in Dickinson on May 16 coming just before regionals on 5/19 in Dickinson with the state meet in Bismarck a week later on May 25.


That makes for a truncated season, especially if the weather doesn’t cooperate, and Alder said his team is still raring to go. “We’re competing against really good programs like Bowman County, Dickinson Trinity, Beulah and Killdeer; our region is really loaded and that brings out the best competition, for sure," he said.

For more information about the Richardton-Taylor co-op, please visit or .

Gaylon is a sportswriter from Jensen Beach, Fla., but has lived all over the world. Growing up with an athletic background gave him a love of sports that led to a journalism career in such places as Enid, Okla., Alamogordo, N.M., Pascagoula, Miss. and Viera, Fla. since 1998. His main passion is small-town community sports, particularly baseball and soccer.
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