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Boys’, girls’ track teams prepare for season
March 24, 2017

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Track season has begun, with practices being held mostly inside due to weather and street conditions.

With snow and ice still covering both the ground and the track, basic and fundamental exercises have been the main focus of the season so far.

Boys' coach Scott Grochow is looking for his younger team members, especially the 10 who went to the state meet last season, to continue to step up to fill the place of the five state scorers who graduated last year.

John Mueller, Jacob Blessum, Kade Leier, and Cade Heilman are seniors who are expected to perform well and return to state this year.

Junior Kaden Jaeger is back this year, as he was the second leading scorer last year. Junior Dustin Herold is also a top contender for this season.

Sophomores Nathan Livedalen and Kevin Vetsch and Freshmen Dawson Schepp and Keith Vetsch are also ones to look out for on the boys' team.

"[These guys] have got to lead us," Grochow said. "It will be interesting to see what these guys do and how they come along this season."

Girls' coach Bill Jansen is also working with a young team this season. With only three seniors on the roster, who are either injured or most likely going to participate as student managers, Jansen is looking to his younger team members to step up.

Juniors Sara Stier, Tristin Lunde, Maddie Uhlenkamp and Dessa Denich are back this season, after having either qualified or placed in the state meet last year in their respective categories.

Sophomores Maria Blessum and Anni Stier, who placed at state last season, are back this season. Sophomores Karsyn Hager and Emily Salwey, state qualifiers last year, are also returning this year.

Freshmen Kristina Brossart and Ellie Duchscherer, and eighth grader Brooke Blessum are returning top contenders for the girls, as well.

"We want to build on what we did at the state tournament last year," Jansen said. "The kids we have this year are young but experienced. We're looking to gain higher places at the state meet and of course, our first goal, is to win the region."

Grochow and Jansen are hoping to move practices outside in early April, as soon as the weather and street conditions allow. While some exercises can be done inside, it is more difficult to train distance runners, high jumpers, long jumpers and pole-vaulters inside. However, it is too cold for sprinters and jumpers to practice outside right now.

"We make do with what we've got, but I'm hoping for nice weather and to get the track cleared off soon," Jansen said.

"We're looking forward to getting outside and seeing what we can do and who has gotten faster and stronger," Grochow said.

Although Grochow and Jansen are named the boys and girls coaches, respectively, they coach by event, not gender.

"We have a really good tradition here, and what makes us unique is that we coach together," Grochow said. "It's really a tribute to our kids. They work out together and cheer each other on. They're willing to work hard, try different things, and they have always been receptive of whatever we have asked them to do."

According to Jansen, this season's quality team members cover all areas of track and field, including throwers, sprinters, hurdlers, distance runners, middle distance runners and jumpers.

"This year is about quality, not quantity," Jansen said. "We want to do well as a team and give everyone something to focus on and contribute to the team."

The first official meet of the season will be held Friday, April 7, at the Minot State University Dome.

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