ND State track viewers guide: Who's heading to Bismarck and who to keep an eye out for

Jack Williams
Devils Lake Journal
All six area teams will be participating in the 2021 NDHSAA State meet this upcoming weekend. Cora Badding, L/E/M (top left), James Tice, Devils Lake (top center), John Fischer, Benson County (top right), Garrett Syverson, Nelson County (bottom left), Kelsie Belquist, New Rockford-Sheyenne (bottom center), and Danielle Hagler, North Star (bottom right).

After a little under two months of competition, the North Dakota high school track and field season comes to its grand finale this weekend in Bismarck for the NDHSAA State Combined Class A and B Girls and Boys Track & Field Meet on May 28 and 29. 

Athletes from across North Dakota will conjoin in at the Community Bowl in hopes to be named the best in their event, or even multiple events. The lake region is sending over 20 athletes to the state capitol this weekend from all six area programs. While some are getting their first taste of state competition, others have a big chance of winning it all. 

With so many athletes competing and so much going on all at once, here is your guide on who from the lake region will be on the track, pole, pit, or runway this weekend, and which ones have the biggest chance of coming home with gold. 

Nelson County 

Devils Lake softball fell to Dickinson 34-0 on May 1 at Devils Lake High School. Langdon/Edmore/Munich, New Rockford-Sheyenne, Nelson County and North Star track teams competed at the Mariya Tate Memorial invite on May 1 at Rugby High School.

Competing: Garrett Syverson (300 meter hurdles, 800 meter run)

The Chargers are only sending one athlete to Bismarck, but junior Garrett Syverson has been a constant force throughout the region in hurdles all season. Syverson qualified in the Bob Zimney Lasy Chance meet in Grand Forks on May. 17 with a time of 42.42, standing as a personal record. 

His finish also put him in the top 10 rankings in the state in the 300 meter hurdles. His time was also two seconds faster than the NDHSAA Class B boys qualifying time. The Zimney meet was a popular one of the boys 300 meter hurdles as Thompson's Sam Roller and Grafton's Tommy Kern set personal records in the same event. Syverson also picked up at 800 meter dash qualification at the North Central Regional on May. 21. 

Syverson will be running at 11 a.m. (300 meters) and 3 p.m. (800 meter) on Saturday.

North Star 

Devils Lake softball fell to Dickinson 34-0 on May 1 at Devils Lake High School. Langdon/Edmore/Munich, New Rockford-Sheyenne, Nelson County and North Star track teams competed at the Mariya Tate Memorial invite on May 1 at Rugby High School.

Competing: Danielle Hagler (100 meter dash, long jump), Gracie Miller (100 meter dash), Hayden Halger (400 meter dash, 4x400 relay), Garrett Howard (4x400 relay), Grant Howard (4x400 relay), Jacob Thompson (4x400 relay). 

Who to watch for 

North Star junior Danielle Hagler has been an all-around weapon for the Bearcats on the basketball court, volleyball court, and now the track as she qualifies for the state meet for the second time in her career.

Returning to state in the 100-meter dash, Hagler qualified with a time of 12.91, a personal record, at the Ray McDaniel Memorial in Devils Lake on May. 10. In a tightly contested race, Hagler beat out Langdon/Edmore/Munich's Lexis Olson by 0.01 seconds for second place. It was a rare race in which spots one, two, and three all qualified for state. She also picked up another state qualification in the long jump at regionals on May 21. 

Senior Hayden Hagler will also be another interesting Bearcat to watch at state. He picked up qualification in the 400-meter dash at regional on May 21 but has ridden the qualification line in a handful of events this season. Don't be surprised if the senior pulls out a strong performance in the last track meet of his career. 

North Star state schedule 

Danielle Hagler: Friday - 9:45 (long jump), 12:30 p.m. (100 meter dash). 

Hayden Hagler: Saturday - 1:30 p.m. (400 meter dash), 4:00 p.m. (4x400 relay).

Gracie Miller: Friday - 12:30 p.m. (100 meter dash). 

4x400 boys relay team: Saturday - 4:00 p.m. 

New Rockford-Sheyenne 

Devils Lake softball fell to Dickinson 34-0 on May 1 at Devils Lake High School. Langdon/Edmore/Munich, New Rockford-Sheyenne, Nelson County and North Star track teams competed at the Mariya Tate Memorial invite on May 1 at Rugby High School.

Competing: Kelsie Belquist (100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 400 meter dash, 300 meter hurdles, long jump, triple jump), Chloe Heinz (3200 meter dash), Evan Ulrich (shot put). 

Who to watch for 

New Rockford-Sheyenne freshman Kelsie Belquist has had an extremely impressive showing in only her second season at the varsity level. She has not only set personal, meet, and school records, but has the most individual state qualifications out of any athlete in the lake region with six. 

Heading to the Community Bowl, Belquist leads the state in the 400 meter dash (58.70) and the 300 meter hurdles (44.61). In her other four qualifying events, she still ranks inside the top seven in the 100 meters (3rd 12.41), 200 meters (2nd 25.78), triple jump (3rd 35' 10"), and long jump (7th 17' 4"). Even late in the season, she is still finding ways to break personal records. 

As a seventh grader, Belquist qualified for four events, three individual, in the state meet, seeing her highest finish coming in the 400 meter dash in sixth place. This season she has tacked on the 100 and 200-meter dashes along with the long jump, to the 400 meters, 300-meter hurdles, and triple jump from 2019. 

More:New Rockford-Sheyenne's Kelsie Belquist is taking North Dakota by storm as a freshman

New Rockford-Sheyenne state schedule: 

Kelsie Belquist: Friday -  9:45 a.m. (300 meter hurdles), 9:45 a.m. (long jump),12:30 p.m. (100 meter dash), 2:45 p.m. (200 meter dash), 1:15 p.m. (400 meter dash). Saturday - 1:00 p.m. (triple jump). 

Chlor Heinz: Saturday - 12:00 p.m. (3200 meter run)

Evan Ulrich: 1:00 p.m. (shot put).

Benson County 

Langdon/Edmore/Munich, North Star, Benson County, Nelson County and Devils Lake track and field teams competed in the Langdon Invitational on April 22 at Langdon Area High School.

Competing: John Fischer (pole vault), Keely Arnston (800 meter dash, 1600 meter run, 3200 meter run, 4x800 relay), Aubrey Kenner (4x800 relay), Quinn Neppl (4x800 relay, 800 meter run, 1600 meter run), Macyn Olson (800 meter run), Wyatt Hakanson (800 meter run, 1600 meter run), Ben Ellingson (4x800 relay), Logan Maddock (4x800 relay), Wyatt Hakanson (4x800 relay), Cole Wentz (4x800 relay), Ella Fossen (pole vault), Pagine Jones (4x800 relay), Kinsey Arnston (4x800 relay), McKenna Tollerud (4x800 relay). 

Who to watch for:

Benson County bulked up its roster big time at the North Central Region on May. 21, adding six more events to its original four prior to the meet. In addition, the Wildcats have a chance to crown a state champion this weekend. 

Senior John Fischer is currently has a nine and a half inch lead ahead of second place in the state leaderboard on pole vault, picking up a career best and Leeds record height of 14' 3.5" at the CNDC outdoor meet. Even his first place regional finish of 13' 6" at the North Central Regional would still be high enough to tie Beulah's Eli Barbot career best for first place. 

Fischer has raised the bar throughout the season and is looking to top his past finish at state on the pole of 12' 0", which was good enough for second place in 2019. He has already jumped more than two feet ahead of that height and over a foot of his past career best of 13' 0". This being the last meet of his career, Fischer will be leaving everything out there. 

On the track, junior Keely Arnston will be one to watch for the Wildcats as she has picked up a handful of qualifications in the 1600 meter run, 3200 meter run, and one of two 4x800 relay teams. She picked up the mid-distance qualifications in the 3200 on May 2 at the Howard Wood Relays, with a time of 11:57.82, and in the 1600 meter run at the North Central Regional, with a time of 5:26.31. 

Arnston has not just qualified for her two individual events but is ranked in the top five in both in the state. She is another athlete for Benson County that has a chance of leaving with a state champion crown. 

More:Benson County's John Fischer is setting the bar high in his final season as a Wildcat

Benson County state schedule: 

John Fischer: Friday - 9:45 a.m. (pole vault) 

Ella Fossen: Friday - 1:45 (pole vault) 

4x800 boys - Friday - 5:00 p.m. 

4x800 girls  - Friday - 5:00 p.m. 

1600 meter run - Friday - 11:30 a.m. 

800 meter run - Saturday - 3:00 p.m. 

3200 meter run - Saturday - 12:00 p.m. 

Langdon/Edmore/Munich 

Track and field teams from Devils Lake, Langdon/Edmore/Munich, and North Star competed at the Ray McDaniel Memorial on May 10 at Devils Lake High School.

Competing: Tucker Regner (pole vault), Lexis Olson (100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 300 meter hurdles, 400 meter dash), Heather Okeson (discus), Meredith Romfo (javelin), Alexa Schneider (pole vault), Cora Badding (long jump, triple jump). Rebekah Wells (100 meter hurdles), Marlee Hetletved (100 meter hurdles). 

Who to watch for 

The Cardinals are bringing a very deep girls line up to Bismarck this upcoming weekend, seeing athletes young and old pushing towards the top of the standings. One of those standouts is senior Lexis Olson, more specifically in the 300 meter hurdles. She has been in back and forth this season with NR-S' Belquist for state control of the event, seeing her in second right now with a time of 47.10. She is also ranked in the top eight in the 400 with a time of 1:01.44. She should deliver an exciting performance in both events.

In the field, both Medereth Romfo and Heather Okeson have put together some dominant performances on javelin and discus this season. Romfo, who is a freshman, currently ranks eighth in the state in the event with a throwing distance of 116' 1". Okeson is 10th in North Dakota in the discus with a distance of 113' 11". In the triple jump, freshman Cora Badding ranks fourth in North Dakota with a distance of 35' 9.5", also chasing Belquist. 

L/E/M had a healthy boost at regionals as well adding four more events to their overall qualifications. 

L/E/M state schedule:

Lexis Olson: Friday - 9:45 a.m. (300 meter hurdles), 12:30 p.m. (100 meter dash), 2:45 p.m. (200 meter dash), 1:30 p.m. (400 meter dash). 

Heather Okeson: Friday - 11:45 a.m. (discus)

Medereth Romfo: Saturday - 11:00 a.m. (javelin)

Tucker Regner: Friday - 9:45 a.m. (pole vault) 

Alexa Schneider: Friday - 1:45 (pole vault) 

Rebekah Wells, Marlee Hetletved: Saturday - 2:00 p.m. (high hurdles) 

Devils Lake 

Track and field teams from Devils Lake, Langdon/Edmore/Munich, and North Star competed at the Ray McDaniel Memorial on May 10 at Devils Lake High School.

Competing: Annika McCarthy (100 meter dash, 200 meter dash, 4x200 relay, 4x400 relay, 4x100 relay), Gabby Tangedal (100 meter dash, 4x200 relay, 4x400 relay, 200 meter dash, 4x100 relay, 4x800 relay), Kiya McLaurin (4x200 relay, 4x400 relay), Ramsey Brown (4x400 relay, 4x800 relay, high jump), Erica Nelson (shot put, discus), Isabella Tangedal (4x200 relay, 4x100 relay), James Tice (shot put), Brady Goss (3200 meter run), Cabryn Fritel (4x100 relay), Gabrielle McLaurin (4x800 relay), Kayla Britsch (4x800 relay), Colton Schneider (javelin).

Who to watch for

Devils Lake is bringing a heavy team to state but stands out in the region as the squad to bring the most relay teams to Bismarck. The Firebirds girls team will be sending quads to race in the 4x200, 4x400, 4x100, and 4x800, seeing Annika McCarthy and Gabby Tangedal owning at least three of the four races. 

The 4x400 is the peak relay for the Firebirds as they rank 11th in the state with a time of 4:14. The 4x800 also sees them seeded at 13th in the state 10:08.01. McCarthy and Tangedal will not just be playing major pieces in the relay, but are competing as individuals as well.

Both will be going head to head in the short distance in the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash. McCarthy is currently 18th in the state (12.87) in the 100 meters and Tangedal is 24th (13.13). In the 200 meter, McCarthy is 14th (26.50) and Tangedal is 20th (26.68). 

In the field, Erica Nelson and Ramsey Brown are staying competitive in grabbing the state crown in their respective events. Nelson is ranked sixth in Class A in shot put, throwing for a career-best distance of 38' 6 on May. 10. Brown is fourth in the state at high jump, jumping at a career high height of 5' 1" also on May. 10. Also in shot put, James Tice, is just outside the top 10, throwing at a distance of 49' 7.25". 

Devils Lake may not be the largest school competing in Class A, but they are bringing some heavyweights to Bismarck this weekend. 

Devils Lake state schedule: 

Annika McCarthy, Gabby Tangedal: Friday - 12:30 p.m. (100 meter), Saturday - 2:30 (200 meter)

Ramsey Brown: Friday - 11:45 a.m. (high jump)

Erica Nelson: Saturday - 3:00 p.m. (shot put), Friday - 11:45 a.m. (discus) 

James Tice: Saturday - 11:00 a.m. (shot put)

Brady Goss: Saturday - 12:00 p.m. (3200 meter) 

Colton Schneider: Saturday - 1:00 p.m. (javelin) 

4x100 relay: Saturday - 3:30 p.m. 

4x200 relay: Saturday - 11:30 a.m. 

4x400 relay: Saturday - 4:00 p.m.

4x800 relay: Friday - 3:30 p.m. 

What to know as a spectator

Class A&B girls state meet: Friday, May 28 starting at 8:45 a.m.

Class A&B boys state meet Saturday, May 29 starting at 9:00 a.m. 

See the official meet schedule below for event start times. 

Adult Ticket Prices: 

Daily: $15.00*

Two-Day Wristband: $25.00*

* - Venue Tax not included

Student Ticket Prices:

Daily: $5.00*

Two-Day Wristband: $10.00*

* - Venue Tax not included

Pre-sale (state meet wristbands only) will be Thursday, May 27, 5:00-7:30 p.m. at the Community Bowl North Ticket Booth. Ticket booths open at 7:30 a.m. on Friday, May 28, and Saturday, May 29. 

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.