PREVIEW: Lake region preps track and field roundup

Jack Williams
Devils Lake Journal
Track and field runners stock image.

It's that time of the year! As the lake thaws out and the temperature rises, very slowly, area high school teams take the diamond, field, track, and green for the first time in two years.

With the start of the spring season nearing, the Devils Lake Journal reached out to spring preps coaches to get their take on the start of the spring season. 

Devils Lake girls track and field 

Devils Lake logo

Head coach: John McLaurin

Next meet: April 6 at Valley City 

On returning back to the track: 

"It has been a long time. Going to be great seeing kids running, jumping, and throwing."

What the Firebirds are looking forward to this season: 

"The opportunity to get back to the track and competing."

Returning standouts: 

Returning State Qualifiers senior Ramsey Brown four-year qualifier, junior Kiya McLaurin three-year qualifier, sophomore Hallie Fritel one year qualifier, sophomore Annika McCarthy one year qualifier, junior Erica Nelson two-year qualifier, senior Larissa Kliztke one year qualifier.

"If all goes well, returning state qualifiers will all be back at the state meet. Newcomers that will contribute are sophomore Kayla Britsch, freshman Chaylee Hewson, freshman Gabrielle McLaurin, freshman Bella Tengedal, eighth grader Gabby Tangedal, eighth grader Anna Shock. I'm hoping that most of the newcomers listed will also be making the trip to the state meet."

Goals for this season: 

"Qualify as many kids as possible for the state meet."

Additional comments: 

"Looking forward to the season. This year will be one of the better years for the girls' program. I have girls that will compete in almost all events."

Devils Lake boys track and field 

 Head coach: Dan Tuhy

Next meet: April 8 at Valley City 

On returning back to the track:

"We're excited to have the opportunity to compete again. Too many seniors lost the chance to compete last year. We need to do what we can to make sure that doesn't happen again."

What the Firebirds are looking forward to this season:

"Our team is most excited for the chance to compete this season."

Goals for this season:

"I think the main goal of our team is to get as many athletes to state as possible. Setting personal records is always a top goal for all of our athletes and coaches."

Benson County track and field 

Benson County Wildcats logo

Head coach: Bobby Hoffner

Next meet: April 12 at Gerrells Invite (at Devils Lake) 

On returning to the track:

"Excited to be back at it. And excited to see our young group of athletes have a chance to compete, and to see the leadership skills develop with our older athletes."

What the Wildcats are looking forward to this season: 

"The opportunity to compete."

Returning standouts:

"John Fischer is one of the top pole vaulters in the state will provide some solid points in his events as well as the leadership that he will provide for our younger athletes. Macyn Olson, who is just a freshman, but you would never know it. His work effort has molded him into one of the top Mid distance & distance runners in the area." 

"On the Girls side Keely Arnston's offseason work is starting to pay dividends and she is looking very strong, along Quinn Neppl who is coming off an injury has proven to be one of the top mid-distance and distance runners in the state. Once Quinn is healthy we should have quite a one-two punch with these two girls. Ashlyn Williams in the jumps provides great leadership with our younger athletes as well."

Goals for this season:

"Our goal is always to bring home some hardware at the region meet, which would mean a top-three finish for boys and girls."

Additional comments: 

"Our only regret is that our seniors from last season did not have the opportunity to achieve their goals: So we salute Kadin Neppl 2:03 - 800 runner (goal- 1:57), Carter Tandeski 147'6" Discus Thrower (goal 160'), as well as Brady Eckert and Jacob Arnold solid relay runners." 

Nelson County track and field

Nelson County Chargers logo

Head coach: Brendon Parsley

Next meet:  April 12 at Gerrells Invite (at Devils Lake) 

On returning back to the track:

"We are very excited to be back. It was hard on so many of our athletes as the spring is the season they look forward to competing."

What the Chargers looking forward to this season:

"Just to see where our kids are at. To get a time or distance in and then see where that puts us against themselves and also against other athletes in the region."

Returning standouts:

"For the girls, Marit Ellingson has been a state participant in relays and also in the sprints and hurdles. For the rest of the girls and the boy's teams it is about who is ready to take that next step."

Goals for this season:

"To get out there and work our hardest and set some new PR's." 

New Rockford-Sheyenne track and field 

New Rockford-Sheyenne logo

Head coach: Cherry Heinz 

Next meet: April 8 at Valley City (girls team)

On returning back to the track: 

"Our athletes and coaches are excited to be back to training and competing in the 2021 season. Unfortunately, we have had a decrease in numbers from the start of last season, but the athletes who joined again this year are motivated and hard-working, so we are optimistic that it will be a fun and competitive season."

What the Rockets are looking forward to this season:

"We are happy to back in the swing of things, and the season has been pretty normal so far despite the strange year we just experienced. We had the CNDC indoor meet in Minot this past week, and everyone from the athletes to the spectators seemed so glad to be there, and the positive energy and enthusiasm was a fantastic thing to be a part of. We appreciate the hospitality of the schools/communities around the area that invites us to participate in their meets. We don't have a track of our own, so we depend on other schools to host meets, and we are grateful for the time and work that schools and communities put into hosting meets." 

Returning standouts:

"Five of our 14 member team are returning seniors. Seniors Evan Ulrich, Hunter Johnson, and Chloe Guthmiller are throwers, while John Grann is focusing on jumping events, and Chloe Heinz is a returning two-year state qualifier in distance running. Kelsie Belquist is a freshman who state qualified in the 400 meters (placing fifth at state), 300 hurdles, triple jump, and the 4x400 relay her seventh grade year." 

​​​​​​​Goals for this season:

"In addition to our normal goals of quality training, personal effort, and teammates supporting and pushing each other to improve, we also have an additional goal of fully enjoying this season. The cancelation of last year's season has really taught us to appreciate our time as a team this year."

Additional comments: 

"Best of luck to all the area teams as we look forward to a great 2021 season of track and field."

Langdon/Edmore/Munich girls track and field 

L/E/M Cardinals logo

Head coach: Jane Hart 

Next meet: April 12 at Gerrells Invite (at Devils Lake) 

On returning back to the track:

"Can’t wait."

​​​​​​​What are the Cardinals looking forward to this season: 

"Competing again and the thrill of a Regional and State."

Returning standouts:

"Senior sprinter and hurdler Lexis Olson with a talented young group of athletes."

​​​​​​​Goals for this season: 

"Lots of personal bests and a run at the Regional title."

North Star track and field 

North Star Bearcats

Head coach: Nancy Reiser

Next meet:  April 12 at Gerrells Invite (at Devils Lake) 

On returning back to the track:

"With our biggest North Star Team ever we are excited to see where our athletes are at after a missed season. All of the athletes have gotten stronger since the 2019 season and it will be fun to see their improvements."

What the Bearcats are looking forward to this season:

"We focus on personal bests, so they are excited to find out where they are at compared to 2019."

Returning standouts:

"We are excited about all of our returning athletes. Danielle Hagler is our lone 2019 State Track Meet qualifier who placed in both the 100 M (7th place) and Long Jump (4th place)."

Goals for this season: 

"We are realistic that every athlete is not going to place at a meet, so they work to get better and improve at each and every meet."

Langdon/Edmore/Munich boys track and field 

Head coach: Rich Olson 

Next meet:  April 12 at Gerrells Invite (at Devils Lake) 

On returning back to the track: 

"Without a 2020 season to look back on it will be a different feeling this year. We look forward to learning about what potential our team has, as well as, the teams around us. Mostly we look forward to the competition ahead and the opportunities to improve!"

What the Cardinals are looking forward to this season:

"We are excited for our athletes that missed out on a year of training last season. We are excited to see the improvements they can make. We are also excited about our younger athletes that have tested and performed well in practice. We look forward to seeing the potential of our Junior High Team."

Returning standouts:

"It's hard to list anyone without last season too look back at. We have no returning state qualifiers on our roster."

Goals for this season: 

"To learn allot about Track and Field. To show improvement and be performing our best at the end of the season."

Jack Williams covers Lake Region sports and general news for the Devils Lake Journal. Contact him via email at JGWilliams1@gannett.com, or on Twitter @jackgwilliams, or phone at 701-662-2127.