LARIMORE, N.D. -- Twice this season, Malori Pletcher had cleared the bar at 5 feet, 1 inch. The next level up, however, had proven to be an insurmountable barrier.
The Langdon-Edmore-Munich freshman soared over the bar at 5-1, then cleared 5-3 to win the high jump at the North Dakota Class B Northeast Region high school track meet.
"I was hoping to make 5-3,'' Pletcher said. "I almost did it in a meet in Devils Lake. It usually takes me three attempts to make 5-1, but I got it on my first try. This was the best I've performed this year.''
That could be said of a lot of Cardinals as they ended their program’s title drought in the girls division of the regional meet. Langdon-Edmore-Munich scored 132 points to beat runner-up Thompson by 25.
"We were hoping to sneak in and win,'' junior distance runner Elise Ramberg said. "We wanted other teams to push us. And a lot of our girls did really well. I think a lot of things we did exceeded our expectations.
"But we knew we could do this.''
The region title was the first since the Cardinals won back-to-back in 2012-13, their first two seasons assigned to the region. That was followed by four straight seasons as runner-up to Hillsboro-Central Valley, before Langdon-Edmore-Munich dropped to fourth place last season.
Pletcher's success early in the meet was a stepping stone.
"Malori definitely went above and beyond,'' L-E-M coach Jane Hart said. "She's a competitor. She had a huge performance and set the tone for the day.
"We did better than I expected when I looked at things ahead of time. I knew Thompson was capable of getting a lot of first places with their athletes. I thought we could get two, maybe three.''
Instead, the Cardinals won five events.
In addition to Pletcher, L-E-M received firsts from Ramberg (3,200), Lexis Olson (300 hurdles), Alexa Schneider (pole vault) and the 4x100 relay team consisting of Rebekah Wells, Raelyn Klindt, Hallie Jabs and McKenna Schneider.
Olson also had a big scoring day with second-place finishes in the 100 and 200 and a fourth in the 400. Ramberg added a second in the 1,600.
The Cardinals had top-four placers in 12 of the 19 events.
"Some of our firsts were because of where other coaches put their people,'' Hart said. "But we really performed well. Depth is what allowed us to fill out our lineup with good kids in so many different events. And, in most areas, the girls performed well.
"There were a few places where we fell some. But we picked up those points in other areas. The kids really picked each other up today.''
Hillsboro-Central Valley, led by double open winners Isaac Luithle (100, 200) and Kaden Pastian (shot put, discus), repeated as champion in the boys division. The Burros had 167 points to runner-up Thompson's 97.