Since Jamestown High School's Meghan Ford won the 2018 Class A girls cross country championship on Oct. 27, the sophomore has stayed plenty busy.
Ford ran the mile unattached at the University of North Dakota Indoor Open on Jan. 26 and bested South Dakota State University's Jamie Schweiss and Anna Fasen by roughly 7 seconds to win the college-level event.
Schweiss is sophomore at SDSU, while Fasen is a junior.
"(Ford) had a great offseason and put in plenty of miles," said JHS boys track and field coach Ken Gardner, who is also Ford's cross country coach. "She was trying to qualify for the New Balance Nationals Indoor meet in New York, which was two weeks ago, and she just missed it."
Ford won her first Class A girls track and field state title last spring at the Bismarck Community Bowl, defeating Megan Lundstrom of Fargo Davies-now a senior for the Eagles-in the 1,600 meters by nearly 5 seconds. Ford placed second in the 3,200 and third in the 800 at state.
The good news for Ford this spring, however, is the 3,200 state event was moved from noon to 9 a.m., which could give her more recovery time before the 800. Temperatures where pushing 90 degrees during the event last May.
"Being first, second and third in those, there's not a whole lot of places to go," Gardner said. "Hopefully it's going to be cooler than (last year). You give her an extra three hours of recover and that'll help her."
Ford is off to a good start, breaking the Blue Jays' all-time 3,200 school record-indoor or outdoor-on March 16 at the Cobber Indoor in Moorhead, Minn. Her time of 10 minutes, 46.09 seconds is already 22 seconds faster than last year's state title winner-Mattie Shirley-Fairbairn (11:08.19)-and 13 ticks off the state record.
"It's nice when you have a Megan Ford that's coming back," said JHS girls track and field coach Mike Dietz. "She's proven what she's capable of doing and has been working hard all winter long.
"Every year the expectations are raised and I do expect her to win more state titles."
Abby Kallenbach, a North Dakota State University track and field commit, will be leading the JHS jumping squad. The senior nearly won the high jump two years ago, but lost to Bismarck High's Blythe Ehrmantraut after having fewer misses at 5-foot-4. Kallenbach and sophomore Carly Raap both placed 10th in the high jump with marks of 4-11 last season.
"She should be able to help us out in the jumps," Dietz said of Kallenbach, who also competed in the 4x100 relay and triple jump at state last year. "I expect her to place in all three jumps. She has high standards, so we need to just execute a little bit better and see where we're at."
Other returning state competitors for the Jays include: freshman Kaelyn Nygaard (100 hurdles, 4x200 relay), junior Kameron Selvig (100 hurdles), Makenna O'Neal (4x100 relay, 4x200), Raap (4x100 relay, 4x200, 4x400), Grace Hegerle (4x400 relay), Kaylee Panchot (4x800 relay), Alyssa Allen (4x800) and Jessica Walter (shot put).
"I also believe we have other girls that can compete for a state title, if they're willing to put in the work," Dietz said. "I expect a lot more state placers this year, even if we're not state (champions), because there's really good athletes in the state right now."
Jamestown's girls and boys teams will be at the Class A state indoor meet tomorrow, March 22, on the campus of North Dakota State University. The meet begins at 2 p.m.
JHS boys look to stay consistent
Consistency was key for the Jamestown High School boys cross country team last fall, and coach Gardner hopes to bring something similar to the 2019 track and field season.
The Blue Jays are bringing back senior Jacob Anteau, along with sophomores Chandler Rott, Gavin Haut, Ben Anteau, Micah Hoke and Kade Schumacher. All four runners helped Jamestown to a seventh-place finish at the Class A state cross country meet on Oct. 27.
The results showed at the Cobber Indoor. Haut won the 3,200 meters in 10 minutes, 33.67 seconds. Hoke and Schumacher finished 10th and 11th, respectively, in the 1,600.
"We should be pretty deep in races like the mile, 3,200 and 4x800," Gardner said. "Hopefully we can get a couple qualifiers in the mile and the 3,200. Our overall team goal is to get that 4x800 qualified."
Senior Marcus Hochhalter placed fourth in the Class A state discus event last spring with a top toss of 146 feet, 11 inches. Hochhalter was the only boy who made the trip to state for the Blue Jays last May at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
Hochhalter is one of two athletes returning who placed in the top five in last year's state discus competition.
"He's hoping to qualify for 2-3 of the throwing events," Gardner said. "We have some good seniors beyond Marcus. Carson Kennelly, Aaron Mack and Paul Vandal are all throwing around the 40s, so if we can get them to make some strides maybe we can get them to state qualify."
Jamestown also received contributions at the Cobber Indoor from freshmen Maclane Letherman, Preston Kroeber, Brode Hillstrom, Ian Dreyer, Devin Beach, Cullen Flieth, Zach Lunde and Collin Lemieux.
"Sprinters are going to be pretty young this year. Actually, a majority of them are freshman right now, so even I'm still getting to know them a little bit," Gardner said. "Anytime we can get contributions from freshmen boys, that's great. We'll see how that develops as the course of the year goes."