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GIRLS TRACK: Roughrider Sophmore will attempt repeat win with the javelin

This javelin thing wasn’t a love-at-first-sight sport for Hannah Arason.

At the behest of her coaches, Arason took up the javelin as an eighth-grader. She put in some practice time and, as the Grand Forks Red River sophomore recalls, had about a 70-foot throw in her first meet.

Arason was ready to make that her last meet throwing the javelin.

“I actually hated (the javelin) at first,” Arason said. “It didn’t really come fast or naturally for me. After my first meet, I said I was going to quit. I wanted to be done with it. But my coaches made me stick with it. And it started to come a lot easier.

“I’m glad they made me stick with it.”

The coaches knew best.

Arason went on to place fifth at the Class A state track meet as a javelin rookie. Now she’ll attempt to be a repeat champion when the state track meet is held this weekend in Bismarck.

Arason won state with a throw of 139 feet, 3 inches last season. She set a personal record this season with a toss of 140-7. No other Class A thrower has surpassed 125 feet.

All this in an event in which, had it not been for her coaches, Arason would have quit.

“We do that with kids sometimes,” Red River coach Tracey Heisler said. “I guess it’s the teacher in us. We see the potential in kids. We have to try to foster it. We just have to get kids to stay with an event until they experience some success.

“Hannah is just a very gifted athlete. She could be a good long jumper or run the hurdles. From the very beginning, Tanner (throwing coach Tim Tandeski) said Hannah could be a good thrower. She had great snap in her wrists.”

In addition to winning the javelin last season, Arason tied for third place in the high jump. She takes the top seed into state with a season-best jump of 5-foot-5. And out of the picture is Fargo North’s Kira Larson, who set the state high jump record as a senior last season.

“She was a good role model,” Arason said. “We were friends. We’d talk and she’d help me at meets. But I want my turn at winning, too, and I didn’t see anyone beating her.”

Arason admits to feeling some pressure being the defending javelin champion. But it hasn’t fazed her.

“Hannah’s a competitor,” Heisler said. “She’s faced that all year, the expectations on her because she’s the defending champion. And she’s handled it very well.”

Four to watch

Here are four other local athletes to watch at the Class A girls track meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday in Bismarck:

  •  Karly Ackley, GF Central: The freshman is coming off an East Region meet in which she set the record in the 3,200. Ackley is seeded third in the 3,200 (10:59.30) and fourth in the 1,600 (5:13.77). She placed sixth in the 3,200 last season.
  •  Bailee Enlow, Red River: The sophomore is tied for the No. 6 seed in the pole vault, one of eight athletes who are sitting with a 9-foot-3 best. What Enlow also has is consistency; she’s cleared 9-3 in four meets, including last week’s East Region.
  •  Kya Glenn, Red River: The junior figures to be one of the contenders in the race for the triple-jump title. Glenn has a season-best leap of 36 feet, 5 1/2 inches — half an inch shy of the mark of No. 1 seed Shelby Arman of Bismarck.
  •  Ashley Rone, Red River: The junior is coming off a sweep of the sprints at the East Region meet. Rone is seeded first in the 400 (season-best time of 57.35 seconds), second in the 200 (25.43) and fourth in the 100 (12.58). She was a top-five placer in all three events last season.