GRAND FORKS -- With the high school track season on hold in North Dakota due to the coronavirus pandemic, Jeff Bakke went to the computer to get some competition.
Bakke, the Grand Forks Red River boys track coach, recently ran a North Dakota School Record Virtual Decathlon. More than 30 schools from across the state joined in the competition, with Bismarck High finishing first in the boys division and Red River winning the girls competition.
“We aren’t able to compete,’’ Bakke said. “We aren’t able to practice. So we wanted to do something related to the sport. Even for a brief moment, it gave us the feeling that we were competing again.’’
Schools had a two-week window to enter their school records onto a spreadsheet for the decathlon events -- 100, 400, 1,600, 110/100 hurdles, long jump, pole vault, high jump, shot put, discus and javelin.
Points were calculated on the spreadsheet using standardized decathlon scoring. Scoring was based on performance -- times, heights and distances -- not place.
“I got the idea from Aaron Berndt, a Red River alum who coaches at Wayzata and was doing the same thing in Minnesota,’’ Bakke said. “I asked him if we could join in. He said it was just for Minnesota schools, but he encouraged me to start one in North Dakota. I thought it was a great idea.
“I didn’t know what to expect. It was fun to see schools from all over the state.’’
In the boys division, Bismarck High finished with 9,284 points. Bismarck Century was second with 9,118, with Red River (9,002), Minot (8,985) and Central (8,838) rounding out the top five. Rugby was the highest-ranked Class B school, placing 11th with 8,423.
Red River won the girls division with 8,566 points. Runner-up Central scored 8,504, with Century and Minot tying for third at 8,441 and Fargo South fifth at 8,305. Carrington was the top Class B finisher with 8,012.
“The Bismarck boys winning wasn’t a surprise at all,’’ Bakke said. “They’ve been such a powerhouse. The Red River girls haven’t won as many state titles as the Bismarck boys. But they’ve had so many outstanding individuals through the years. That’s big in a format like this. They had pretty good marks across the board.
“There’s a throwing legacy in town. Red River and Central had really good marks in the throwing events.’’
Some records are more than 35 years old.
“Some of those performances have stood the test of time,’’ Bakke said.