Hovland chasing titlesWith diploma already in hand, Barnes County North’s Tanner Hovland has one more mission to accomplish before he brings his prep career to a close with the Bison. The three-sport senior athlete is riding not one, but two of the fastest Class B times in the state this season into the 2010 North Dakota High School State Track and Field Championships, which begin today at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
By: Michael Savaloja, The Jamestown Sun
With diploma already in hand, Barnes County North’s Tanner Hovland has one more mission to accomplish before he brings his prep career to a close with the Bison.
The three-sport senior athlete is riding not one, but two of the fastest Class B times in the state this season into the 2010 North Dakota High School State Track and Field Championships, which begin today at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
Hovland’s time of 51.24 in the 400 ranks fourth in the state heading in, while only one athlete holds a better time than Hovland’s 2:01.04 in the 800. Valley City senior Wayne Engelhard was clocked earlier this year at 1:59.82.
A state championship, or two, is definitely a possibility this weekend for Hovland, who graduated with 14 fellow Barnes County North classmates in Wimbledon last Saturday, and he believes his best chance is not the 800, but the all-out, 400-meter dash around the track.
“I’d like to get second in the 800, which I really want to do, and I’m looking at first in the 400,” Hovland said. “The times (in the 400) are really close. It’s an all-out sprint and you have to be mentally tough.”
Hovland does make a solid point. When the best-of-the-best are assembled, it sometimes isn’t the athlete with the best time that steals the show, sometimes it’s the athlete that’s mentally prepared to go toe-to-toe with sprinters of the same caliber.
Hazen’s Brent Sorensen is sporting the fastest Class B 400 time this season with a 50.22, while Watford City’s Tyler Flatland and Adam Brenna have times of 50.84 and 51.22, respectively.
Hovland ran handheld times in the 400 and 800 this season of 50.78 and 2:00.78, respectively. For state-qualifying purposes, however, all times not electronically recorded (handheld) are rounded up to the higher tenth and an additional .24 seconds is added.
Hovland has qualified in a total of six events this season. Along with the 400 and 800, Hovland has helped all four Bison relay teams qualify for state from the anchor position.
“He’s our team MVP, and that’s well-earned by him,” BCN boys’ track coach Dale Undem said. “He’s one of those rare athletes you get that can run anything from the 100 up to the 800.
“He’s crucial. Without him, do we qualify? Probably not. He’s that key component, the anchor leg the rest of the team turns to. If we’re close to qualifying he’d give us our best chance.”
Hovland has helped the Bison’s 400-meter relay team to state in a time of 45.94, while the Bison’s 800 relay team punched its ticket to Bismarck by taking second at last week’s Region 4 meet with a time of 1:36.88.
The Bison hold the sixth fastest time in 1600 relay with a time of 3:33.34, while BCN’s time of 8:26.17 in the 3200 relay is second to only Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock’s 8:26.17.
By the way, Hovland’s times in the 400 and 800, and the team’s four state-qualifying relay times, are all new Barnes County North records.
“(Hovland) is very likeable and coachable. He loves to run,” Undem said. “He’s one of those kids that coaches love to have out there. You give him a workout routine and you know it will get done and the others really look up to him.”
“I love running,” Hovland said. “Every free minute I have I’m out running. I always want to get better.”
Cody Christ, Jacoby Kramlich and William Gernholz join Hovland on the 3200-relay team. Other relay team members include Seth Petersen, Garret Steckler and Wyatt Steckler.
“Some of my best friends are in those relays,” Hovland said. “We’ve been through basketball and football together and we know each other really well. We’re hoping to place. That’s what our coach wants us to do and I think we can do it.
Christ, a sophomore, is also qualified for state in the 1600 (4:34.10) and the 3200 (10:04.65). Both of those times currently rank second in the state.
“We’re hoping to PR. We want to go to state, run our best times and have our best finishes of the year. That’s our goal,” Undem said. “We have nine kids competing in 11 total events. We’re going to get the kids ready to compete, put it in their hands and go see what they can do.”
As for Hovland, the 2010 Region 4 track and field Senior Athlete of the Year said he not only wants to end his career by performing well this weekend, but he’d also like to help his teammates end the season on a high note.
“I’ll miss my teammates. They’ve been a big part of my life,” Hovland said. “But I’m excited. I want to get it done for them.”
Sun sports writer Michael Savaloja can be reached at (701) 952-8461 or by email at email@example.com