LARIMORE, N.D. -- Last season, Isaac Luithle ran legs on Hillsboro-Central Valley 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams that won championships at the North Dakota Class B state meet. He anchored the 4x200 team that not only won, but set a state meet record.
On Friday, Luithle excelled on his own.
The junior extended the Burros' claim to having the fastest runner in the Northeast Region high school track meet. Luithle won the 100 in a time of 11.41 seconds, narrowly edging runner-up Jayden Laxdal (11.44) of Pembina County North.
"I knew there was good competition here,'' Luithle said. "I used that competition to push myself. It was a neck-and-neck race.''
Luithle followed former teammate Grant Skager as the region's 100 champion. Prior to that, ex-Burro Shandon Toenies won the race in back-to-back seasons. With Luithle also winning the 200, that trio of sprinters has combined to win the 200 four straight seasons in the regional.
Luithle moved up from finishes of second in the 200 and third in the 100 at the region meet last season.
"Isaac's always been fast,'' H-CV coach Tony Guttormson said. "With his open times in the past, we thought he’d get our team more points by running him more in relays. But this year he's run more open races.
"He put a lot of time into his running in the offseason. He's really worked on his starts. He's improved significantly. We knew he had a shot at winning. You don’t assume it will happen; there are other good runners in the region. But we felt he had a good chance.''
Luithle wasn't just a relay runner in the past.
He also finished fifth in the 200 at last year's Class B state meet, a race in which he had the state's third-fastest time entering Friday's regional.
"Running the open events gives me a chance to prove what I can do,'' Luithle said. "But I also love running on relays.
"Shandon and Grant taught me a lot. They were great runners and teammates. I wanted to keep our tradition going.''
Luithle still isn’t quite at the times run by his Skager and Toenies in the 100. But, given the work ethic of Luithle and the time he puts into running in the offseason, Guttormson isn’t dismissing the possibility that he could meet or exceed their times.
“They were tremendous runners,’’ Guttormson said. “But I think Luther will keep improving. His junior season has been pretty impressive. I think his senior season will be impressive, too.’’