Local Class B track and field teams searching for competitions
The Region 3 track and field teams have been fighting the winter weather this spring.
Oakes High School track and field athletes are no strangers to winter weather.
"You have to compete outside, you have to run inside, you have to run in the snow or rain," Oakes head coach Roxane Miller said. "To be a track athlete in North Dakota — you have to be tough as nails."
The entire Class B track and field scene got a taste of how tough the Tornadoes were last year and this year should be even more of a wake up call.
"We're excited for another year but we have a really tough region and a lot of good schools all around us," Miller said.
The Oakes' girls team is the defending Class B girls track and field state champions. The Tornadoes ground out 66 hard-fought points that edged the squad past state runners-up, Central Cass, by two points.
Abby Cox is the lone senior girl returning for the Tornadoes this season. Cox helped Oakes to a third-place finish in the 4x400 meter relay at the Class B State Meet while also earning individual honors in triple jump. Cox also qualified in long jump but missed the podium by one place.
Emma Muggli is coming off state placing performances in the 300 and 100 meter hurdles. The junior ran the second leg of the 1600 meter relay, behind Cox.
Laikyn Roney will be back at shot put. Roney took second at state last season — second only to her former teammate Sadie Hansen.
In addition to the three state placers, Miller said the Tornadoes are welcoming back a whole crop of young talent that will likely help Oakes out in sprints and field events.
The head coach said the Tornadoes will have some more depth on the boys' side as well. The boys squad placed ninth out of 40 teams competing at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
"We only took a few throwers and one relay (last year)," Miller said. "The kids made goals this year and for the boys, their goal was to make it in the top-four at Regions and try and move up a little bit."
In addition to polishing off a top finish at the team's regional meet, Miller said she would also like to see Oakes continue the trend of bringing a double-digit number of kids to State this May.
As of Apil 12, the Tornadoes varsity squad had not seen any outdoor meet action. Oakes has only run two indoor meets.
The team's first outdoor competition is slated to come at the Lisbon Yowzer scheduled for April 19. In order to be ready for the outdoor season, Miller said she and the other coaches have been trying to keep the athletes primed through all different types of gym work.
"It will be fun to get to our first outdoor meet and see what it will be like," Miller said. "We're really excited to see what we can do again this year."
Lots of numbers, not as many meets for Ellendale
Nearly half of the entire Ellendale junior high and high school have laced up their running shoes and hit the rubber for the Cardinals this spring.
Or at least — that's what they are trying to do.
"We're just trying to hunt for meets that are warm," Ellendale head coach Troy Goehring said. "We were going to go to Redfield (South Dakota) but it was going to be 48 degrees and rainy and that's no fun for anybody.
"You've got to go west or south — where there are fire warnings — to find any meets right now."
Ellendale, the reigning South Central conference champs, are still in limbo when it comes to the outdoor season but the Cardinals did manage a successful indoor season having competed at two different meets at Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota.
Kaylin Slivoskey, a 2021 state placer in the high jump, set a season record for herself at Northern State's Dewey Donat Invitational. The sophomore cleared the high jump bar at the 5-foot, 3-inch mark to best last year's state meet performance by four inches.
Theo Thurber, a main threat in the distance races for the Cards, ran a 2:14.46 800 meter race last week. Thurber placed 16th in the 3200 at last season's state competition.
Kalli Norton, a sophomore mid-distancer for the Cards, was just about a second off of qualifying for state three times in the 200 and the 400 meter dashes last season. Norton won the 200 both times she's run it this season. Her PR of 28.34 seconds came at the Dewey Donat Invite on March 28. Norton won the 400 at the Fuller Invite, crossing the line with a new PR of 1:06.02.
The Cardinals have a myriad of talent mixed in across different events this season. Scott Wagner, the lone senior for the team this year, is impressing his coaches in the throws while out on the track, Goehring is hoping to get the team's 4x400 meter relay boys team to the Bismarck Community Bowl.
The Cardinals have right around 50 7-12 graders who are out competing for the track team this season. In total, Ellendale only has 108 students in its 7-12 grade levels. Goehring said that 30 of the participating athletes are seventh or eighth graders.
"We were plugging the holes and trying to get them out to be a part of something," Goehring said. "It gets them in shape and gives them something to be looking forward to in the spring. It's nice to have the numbers out."
In order to stay primed for the season, Goehring said he and his fellow coaches have been running the athletes through circuit work, ab workouts, specialty work with the throws, jumps and hurdles, while sprinters are often going through plyometric, agility and bleacher work.
The head coach said that the team's distance athletes run outside no matter the weather.
'When you practice inside every day, you've got to vary it and make it fun for them," Goehring said. "We're pretty limited — we haven't been able to get out all that often."
When clean and surefooted surfaces are hard to find, it limits the Cardinals' options not only in terms of practices but also in any meets they may compete at.
Goehring said the Cardinals were hoping to compete at the Wagner Relays in Wagner, South Dakota, on Tuesday, April 12. Final results were not available when the Jamestown Sun went to press.
While the weather cards aren't playing out for the Cardinals just yet, Goehring said he sees a lot of potential for his young team and said the team is primed to make another run at the conference title.
"It's kind of a goal of ours to win that again," Goehring said. "After that, hopefully we'll get some more people qualified to that state track meet and score a few points."