Red River has a surprise winner in the javelin at state track
BISMARCK — Grand Forks Red River's javelin throwers had only one chance to make a statement at the North Daktoa state high school track meet Friday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
They made a statement. Boy, did they make a statement.
Led by surprising winner in senior Liam Ogren, four Red River throwers placed in the top six to account for 26 points. What can they do to improve on that performance on Saturday? Nothing.
The four throwers were qualified in only the javelin.
"It feels great. I want the best for all the guys on our team," Ogren said.
"Our goal was to have everybody place," added senior Seth Hanson. "This is our main event, where we excel."
Ogren wasn't the best Roughrider coming into the state meet. In fact, his 165-5 was the ninth-best qualifying mark and third-best among the teammates.
"I had a really good day," Ogren said.
On his second throw, Ogren unleashed his meet-winning 176-5 to best teammate Hanson by nearly six feet. "I knew I had it in me. I think it was the energy of the state track meet."
Ogren said he wasn't thrilled with the season prior to Friday. "I've been a little disappointed with the distances I've been throwing. Last year placing eighth, I was happy to place but I wanted more. I've dreamed about this for a thousand times, but it surprised me, coming in here ninth."
Hanson was second with a 170-11. He came in with a 183-0 qualifying mark, second-best in the state to Minot's Odin Nelson, who placed fifth.
Hanson said second place was bittersweet. "It's like kissing your sister," he said. "I would rather place first but I'm happy we all made the podium."
Both attributed the Riders' success to having the toughest competition in the state at practice every day. "We have a lot of competition between us and we use each other to help," Ogren said. "We're all friends, that's the main thing."
Junior Brett Klefstad took fourth place with a 168-4. His top qualifying mark was 172-5.
Senior Sam Schumacher bested his top qualifying mark of 164-2 by throwing 165-11 to take sixth place.
The group accounted for all of Red River's 26 points after the first day, leaving the Riders in fourth place behind Bismarck (41), Bismarck Century (32.5) and Fargo North (28).
In the girls' division, Red River is fourth with 18 points and Central tied for ninth with 10.
Red River's Shelby Frank won shot put with a toss of 41-5 and Cassidy Wilson was eighth. Frank came in with the top qualifying throw. "I average around 40 (feet) and the girl behind me throws 41, so I was kind of nervous," Frank said. "My warmups were pretty good and after that I felt confident."
Maggie Steffen was fourth in javelin and Kaylee Lancaster was seventh. Central was fourth in the 4x800 relay and Rachel Torrey and Mikayla Weiss were sixth and seventh in the 1,600.