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GIRLS TRACK: Hillsboro-Central Valley runner comes back strong after knee surgery

Rachel Dryburgh

After major knee surgery, a long rehabilitation process and a year away from track, Rachel Dryburgh was apprehensive about how she could perform this spring.

“At the beginning of the season, Rachel would ask if we thought she’d be as fast as she was before the injury,” Hillsboro-Central Valley girls high school track coach Heidi Eckart said. “We told her to be patient; that it takes time.

“When you ask her about it now, she says, ‘What knee surgery?’ ”

The four-inch scar on her right knee is a reminder of the injury and subsequent surgery. But Dryburgh didn’t just come back as good as she was before the injury.

She’s come back better.

At the state meet in Bismarck this weekend, Dryburgh plans to compete in the 200, 400 and 300 hurdles, as well as the 4x400 relay. The senior is seeded second in the 300 hurdles (season-best time of 45.64 seconds), third in the 200 (26.04) and fourth in the 400 (59.58).

In all three open events, Dryburgh’s times are better than they were in 2012 going into the state meet.

“That actually does surprise me,” Dryburgh said. “I didn’t know (at the start of the season) how I’d be able to do.”

Said Eckart: “She’ll bring home some pretty high places from state. I don’t think it will be a surprise if she wins some events. But she’ll have stiff competition in all of them.”

Dryburgh suffered the injury in a basketball game during her junior year, when she was attending Grafton High School. At Grafton, she was a three-time placer at the state track meet as a freshman and a four-time placer as a sophomore. Her best showing was a runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles.

The surgery was followed by a seven-month rehab program, a transfer to Hillsboro and successful senior volleyball and basketball seasons with the Burros. Dryburgh has shed the knee brace she wore during the volleyball and basketball seasons.

“It was a long rehab process. There was a lot of physical therapy,” Dryburgh said. “But there wasn’t any point being sad about it. There’s nothing I could do about what happened.

“I completely forget about (the injury) now. It’s been a special season. I figured (at the season’s start) that whatever happens happens. I just wanted to enjoy track again. I feel like my hard work in rehab has paid off.”

Five to watch

Here are five other area athletes to watch at the Class B girls state track meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday in Bismarck:

  •  Jocelyn Dinius, Langdon-Munich: The sophomore, who qualified for state in seven open events, will compete in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles and pole vault. The sophomore is a top-seven seed in all four events, led by a No. 3 in the 100 and tied for No. 3 in the vault.
  •  Amber Hunsaker, Thompson: While Carrington figures to dominate in the throwing events, Hunsaker is a top-eight seed in the javelin (fifth), shot put (seventh) and discus (eighth).
  •  Shaice Marx, Thompson: The sophomore is seeded fourth in the 300 hurdles and seventh in the 400. Marx placed fourth in the 300 hurdles last season.
  •  Ashley Perez, Nelson County: The sophomore was runner-up in the 1,600 and 3,200 last season and is a former state cross country champion. Perez is seeded sixth in the 1,600 and eighth in the 3,200.
  •  Annika Rotvold, Hillsboro-Central Valley: After placing in one open event last season (seventh, 1,600), the junior carries the second-fastest times in the 800 and 1,600 into the state meet.

Top qualifiers

Here are the top seeds and local top-8 seeds in individual events at the North Dakota Class B girls state track meet, to be held Friday and Saturday in Bismarck.

100 — 1. Gabby Grommesh, Central Cass, 12.24; 3. Jocelyn Dinius, Langdon-Munich, 12.44

200 — 1. Grommesh, CC, 25.44; 3. Rachel Dryburgh, Hillsboro-Central Valley, 26.04; 6. Dinius, L-M, 26.44; 7. Beatrice Kjelland, Park River/Fordville-Lankin, 26.64

400 — 1. Alexis Woods, Parshall, 56.71; 4. Dryburgh, H-CV, 59.58; 7. Shaice Marx, Thompson, 1:00.94

800 — 1. Asha Smith, Watford City, 2:19.04; 2. Annika Rotvold, H-CV, 2:19.71

1,600 — 1. Smith, WC, 5:00.71; 2. Rotvold, H-CV, 5:15.24; 6. Ashley Perez, Nelson County, 5:27.54; 8. Averi Olson, Thompson, 5:28.54

3,200 — 1. Smith, WC, 11:20.75; 2. Rotvold, H-CV, 11:47.24; 3. Olson, Thompson, 11:59.54; 6. Mackenzie Holkesvig, Hatton-Northwood, 12:04.04; 9. Perez, NC, 12:08.64

100 hurdles — 1. Abbey Honeyman, Mott-Regent, 15.12; 5. Madison Hetletved, Langdon-Munich, 16.34; 7. Dinius, L-M, 16.44; 8. Courtney Bubach, Benson County, 16.65

300 hurdles — 1. Dakota Wood, Hazen, 45.35; 2. Dryburgh, H-CV, 45.64; 4. Marx, Thompson, 47.54

High jump — 1. Vanessa Johnson, Northern Cass, 5-9; 2. Lexy Wittmayer, Rolette-Wolford, 5-8; 7. (tie) Lisa Cosley, Pembina Co. North, and Elaina Swartz, PR/FL, 5-1

Long jump — 1. Megan Johnson, Maple Valley-Enderlin, 18-6; 4. Bubach, BC, 17-10; 5. Kylie Pastian, H-CV, 17-7 1/4

Triple jump — 1. Ricki Lindley, WC, 36-11; 5. Bubach, BC, 35-5

Shot put — 1. Kayla Hochhalter, Carrington, 42-2; 7. Amber Hunsaker, Thompson, 36-10

Discus — 1. Bailey Retzlaff, Carrington, 134-6; 8. Hunsaker, Thompson, 107-3

Javelin — 1. Hochhalter, Carrington, 153-0; 5. Hunsaker, Thompson, 123-3; 7. Katie Bohn, PR/F-L, 121-1

Pole vault — 1. (tie) Nicole Schramm, Beulah, and Brittany Dixon, Oak Grove, 10-0; 3. (tie) Dinius, L-M, 9-6; 5. (tie) Jalyn Larson, Drayton/Valley-Edinburg, 9-0

Area returning state individual placers

100 — 4. Jocelyn Dinius, Langdon-Munich

200 — 7. Dinius, Langdon-Munich

1,600 — 2. Ashley Perez, Nelson County; 7. Annika Rotvold, Hillsboro-Central Valley; 8. Madison Gapp, Langdon-Munich

3,200 — 2. Perez, Nelson County; 5. Gapp, Langdon-Munich; 8. Claire Brien, Northern Lights

100 hurdles — 5. Madison Hetletved, Langdon-Munich

300 hurdles — 4. Shaice Marx, Thompson; 5. Jadin Carlson, Griggs Co. Central

High jump — 3. Lexy Wittmayer, Rolette-Wolford.

Long jump — 3. Kylie Pastian, Hillsboro-CV

Pole vault — 5. Dinius, Langdon-Munich