Bulldogs, Southwest teams primed for strong state performances
The wet and rainy weather across the state on Friday, May 17, was an outright bummer for the competitors looking to qualify for the state meet eight days later.
Bowman County head coach Jonathan Jahner called the afternoon a "rough day" for everyone involved as kids either couldn't compete or perform to their potential due to conditions out of anyone's control.
The Bulldogs boys squad didn't get a chance to go head-to-head with everyone in the Southwest Region, but still emerged as region champions.
"They've been upbeat, but I don't see any more confidence than they had the day before the meet," Jahner said. "They're a very experienced group of young men and they've got a great perspective. ... They haven't been over the top because they won a regional championship."
While they will not walk into the MDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck overly cocky, the Bowman County boys will be fairly deep. In addition to making the mark in each of the four relays, the Bulldogs have 12 individual qualifiers, more than any other Southwest Region school.
Seniors Corban Massey and Alex Madrigal are guiding the team's efforts in the pole vault. Madrigal will also be a contender in the 800-meter run, along with sophomore Brian Miller. The duo has qualified for the 1,600 as well.
The long jump and the triple jump features the most Bulldog qualifiers, with four in each event. With a throw of 22 feet, 1½ inches, freshman Clay Heimer is seeded third while junior teammate Jacob Svihovec is fourth. Svihovec is seeded third in the triple jump and is one of three athletes in the state who have leapt more than 44 feet.
"Triple (jump), I'm hoping to win, because I'm coming in as a pretty high (seed), and the top three are all 4 to 5 inches away from each other. I'm hoping to come in and have a good jump and win it," Svihovec said. "And then in long jump, I didn't place last year, but coming in this year, I hope I can place pretty high."
Just like the boys, the Bowman County girls have qualified in all four relays and will be potential placers in the 4x200-, 4x400-, and 4x800-meter relay. The team has eight individual qualifiers.
Senior Ellie Stafford is pacing the Bulldog contingent, as she's set to compete in the long jump, triple jump and a couple of relays.
"The lynchpin that sets us into motion is Ellie Stafford. She is just a tremendous leader and has been a stabilizing force — not just this year, but the past two years," Jahner said. "I can't say enough good things about what Ellie has done for our program and her leadership."
Junior Jill Svihovec joins Stafford in the long jump while senior Becki Fuchs made it to state in the discus. On the track, seventh-grader Jaci Fischer is a rising star in the mid-distance races. She is No. 4 in the 800-meter run and the seventh seed in the 1,600.
"Jaci is a tremendous athlete and she has great potential," Jahner said. "One of the things I love about Jaci the most is her competitiveness. A lot of times, you'll have younger athletes that will kind of shy away from that. You'll have a seventh-grader that's competing against seniors, and sometimes that's a little intimidating. Jaci's isn't intimidated by much. ... When it's competition time, she doesn't like to lose."
Local boys to look out for
Jared Wojahn: 100, 400, javelin, relay.
Ty Lachowitzer (Sr.): Long jump, triple jump.
Brady Dillon (Jr.): Discus.
Kacen Gartner (Sr.): 100, 200.
Dylan Tabor (Sr.): Javelin (No. 2 seed).
Cody Perkins (Sr.): 110 hurdles, triple jump, relay
"I think with Cody, he just needs to run his race," Mott-Regent-New England head coach Nate Zachmann said. "He can't be concentrating on the lanes or if someone is beside him, in front of him or behind him. The hurdles are wide -open. He just needs to run loose, attack the hurdles, trust his technique, trust his training and see what happens from there.
"His expectations are just to go and compete. Whatever happens, happens and not have any regrets."
Owen Voigt (Jr.): 400, 300 hurdles, long jump, triple jump.
"Owen during practice is running around more than I am," Richardton-Taylor head coach Shawn Alder said. "He's going from hurdle practice to long jump and triple jump, then he's working on his starting blocks and stride for the 400. He's so diverse that he is always busy at practice. ... He's kind of a jack-of-all-trades."
Local girls to look out for
Kinsey Zuroff (Fr.): 400, javelin.
Sidra Sadowsky (So.): 800, 1,600.
Shawnee Hansen (Sr.): 100, 200, 400 (No. 2 seed), 4x200 relay.
Steena Larsen (Sr.): Discus, javelin.
Chelsey Morlock (Jr.): Pole vault.
Danielle Dobitz (8th): Pole vault.
"I've set goals throughout this year, so I hope I can accomplish those goals before I'm done with my senior year," Hansen said. "Obviously a big goal would be getting the title — that would be an excellent way to end my senior year — but I just hope I can get top three this year in the 400, and then top five in the other events as well."
Morgan Hertz (Jr.): 200, 100, 300 hurdles, relay.
"Maybe Morgan at the beginning of the season, I think she felt a little more pressure, just cause of the previous year and her runner-up finish (in the 300 hurdles)," Zachmann said. "There was probably a little more pressure and stress on herself than there needed to be, but once she got over that hump a little bit, that's really been great for her ... She just got to cut it loose and stay relaxed, and she does that.
"Her strongest attribute, is her mental toughness. She loves what she's doing, she's a fierce competitor and she's mentally tough. That's all you can ask for as a coach."
Skylar Crow: 100, long jump (No. 1 seed), triple jump, 4x100 relay.
Kat Baranko: 200, 300 hurdles, high jump, relay.
Ieesha Jordan: Javelin.
"I've been doing long jump since I was a seventh grader, and the coaches have been working with me on my form and speed," Crow said. "Since I got third last year, I'm hoping to get first. That's a personal goal.
"I just want to get first in the long jump and get on the podium for the rest of them."