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Blue Jays Roundup: Athletes gearing up for spring sports

The Jamestown High School spring sports season is set to open on March 25.

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Cece Deebom (5) of Fargo Davies, edges out Jamestown's Yolanda Nabwe (6) and Anthonett Nabwe in the Class A girls 100-meter dash Saturday, May 29, 2021, at the North Dakota State Track and Field Meet in Bismarck. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Every spring. the Jamestown High School athletics calendar has more than two weeks almost completely cleared of sporting events.

That doesn't mean training stops for the Blue Jay student-athletes.

"The gap from winter to spring it’s very long in comparison to Fall to Winter," JHS junior Breanna Oettle said. "Every sport has a different form of being in shape. Soccer doesn’t start until March 28th, but for me and a lot of other athletes, the next season starts right away."

The JHS track and field team is slated to kick off the official competition for the Blue Jay spring sports on March 25 with an indoor meet held at North Dakota State University.

The Blue Jays' softball, baseball and soccer teams are slated to start competition at the beginning of April while the first boys golf and girls tennis contests are scheduled for April 18 and 19.

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JHS junior Katie Falk didn't waste any time when it came to preparing herself for the spring season.

It took Falk 24 hours, after dropping 59-53 to Bismarck High in the WDA basketball tournament's state-qualifying game, to begin preparing for the final sports season of her junior year.

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Jamestown's dugout crew watches the ball hit by a teammate Tuesday, May 4, 2021, at Trapper Field. John M. Steiner / The Sun

"I started training for softball that next day," Falk said. "We have only had open gyms and don’t start practice until Monday. I would like to go right into the season because I don’t like having time off."

The Blue Jay softball team will be looking to improve upon its fourth-place WDA tournament and sixth-place state tournament finishes this season. In 2021 the Jays went 21-12 overall and 13-5 in conference play.

Even while head coach Marissa Drenth's squad hasn't been out to Trapper Field just yet, their star pitcher has been hitting, doing fielding work, and pitching with either coaches, friends or her father. Falk is also keeping her muscles primed with a resistance training and workout schedule.

Falk has been joined by her teammate and fellow 2021 All-WDA winner honoree Jenna Fischer in preparing for the season outside of official practice times.

Fischer has not competed since volleyball season wrapped up in mid-November. The senior said a short couple of weeks after volleyball season she would be at Two River Activity Center (TRAC) getting some tee work in. The team has also held open gyms where team members can work on fielding, pitching, catching and hitting.

"Right now I’ve been doing workouts, attending open gyms, and getting in tee work on my own as well," Fischer said. "I'm ready for softball to start. It’s so close and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us this season. I am super excited."

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Oettle is also eager to get back to work with the Blue Jay soccer team after sitting on the sidelines for almost eight months.

The Blue Jay junior suffered a torn ACL back in July and while she is not completely healed yet, she hopes to be back playing by the end of April.

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Bismarck's Halle Wetsch (19) moves the ball as Breanna Oettle (25) of Jamestown reaches out for a block Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at Rotary Field. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Like other outdoor venues, Heil and Rotary Field are currently a bit water-logged but TRAC has managed to offer Oettle a fair amount of other training options.

The JHS junior said she has been going to TRAC almost every day for either strength and speed training or soccer training by getting as many touches on the ball as she can in order to have a successful season.

Head coach Brandi Harty and the soccer team is coming off a fourth-place WDA tournament finish that sent the team to the 2021 state tournament.

The state tournament is where Annie Nabwe and Phoebe Olson would like to get back to.

Nabwe, a standout for the JHS track and field team, placed in all four of her events at the 2021 season-ending meet.

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Jamestown's Anthonett Nabwe throws the shot put Saturday, May 29, 2021, at the North Dakota State Track and Field Meet in Bismarck. John M. Steiner / The Sun

Nabwe regularly outthrew her competition by at least 6 feet in shot put. In discus, the other event where she claimed top-honors State, she let fly a school record-breaking throw of 143 feet, 9 inches. Nabwe had never thrown a discus prior to the start of the 2021 track season.

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The University of Minnesota track and field commit also placed third in the javelin contest and second in the 100-meter dash.

Last spring, the now Blue Jay senior started out the year by breaking the JHS indoor shot-put record by almost 6 feet and then broke the outdoor record just a few weeks later. By the time she wrapped up the season, Nabwe had broken her own record on four separate occasions.

Olson, the Jays' No. 1 threat on the tennis team, became the first Blue Jay girls tennis athlete to place in the singles state tournament since 1984.

Olson is only the fifth-ever Blue Jay to place at a Class A state tennis tournament. Olson finished fifth at the 2021 tourney. At the 2021 WDA tournament Olson finished in third-place.

Last season, the Blue Jays missed qualifying to the state tennis tournament as a team.

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Jamestown's Phoebe Olson returns a serve Tuesday, April 27, 2021, against Mandan at Bolinger Courts. John M. Steiner / The Sun

While State is where the track and field and tennis teams want to get back to, the JHS baseball team will first be looking to get into the WDA tournament.

The JHS baseball team pitched a 5-13 WDA and 8-16 overall 2021 season. The team dropped 6-5 to Bismarck High in a WDA tournament play-in game,

Head coach Jack Bowman's crew is putting in the work to improve upon last year's numbers.

The baseball team has held open gyms twice a week where team members can get their arms loose and take some hacks. A fair amount of team members have also been making the quarter-mile trek out to TRAC to play some catch and hit.

"I think that preparing before the season starts is important for us," JHS baseball player Mason Lunzman said. "It will for sure help up when practice does start up, so we are ready for the first game."

Related Topics: JAMESTOWN BLUE JAYSBLUE JAYS SOCCERBLUE JAYS SOFTBALLBLUE JAYS BASEBALLBLUE JAYS TRACK AND FIELDBLUE JAYS GOLFBLUE JAYS TENNIS
Katie Ringer is a sports reporter for the Jamestown Sun. Katie joined the Sun staff in the summer of 2019 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire with a degree in journalism. She can be reached by email at kringer@jamestownsun.com or by phone at 701-952-8460.
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