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Webster finds her niche with arm

BISMARCK -- Alex Webster was recruited as a runner. But the Rolette-Wolford junior found her niche with her arm, not her legs. Webster, in her second season competing in track and field, won the javelin championship Saturday at the North Dakota C...

BISMARCK -- Alex Webster was recruited as a runner. But the Rolette-Wolford junior found her niche with her arm, not her legs.

Webster, in her second season competing in track and field, won the javelin championship Saturday at the North Dakota Class B girls high school track meet.

Webster was one of four individuals from the area to claim titles, joining Adrienne Thomas (100 and 400) of Park River Area, Lindsay Anderson of Benson County (800 and 3,200 to go along with the 1,600 she won Friday) and Rolette-Wolford teammate Kristyn Nelson (100 hurdles).

Webster was a state qualifier in the javelin last season, but didn't place.

"I only started track last year," Webster said. "They wanted somebody to run on the relay team, so they got me to go out. I needed another event, so I chose to try the javelin."

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She was only the No. 6 seed entering the state meet with a season-best throw of 123 feet, 8 inches. But she won with a personal-record throw of 128-9, beating runner-up Kayla Rummel of Dickinson Trinity (119-8) by more than nine feet.

"This hasn't set in," Webster said of the state title. "I was looking to place here. I thought about winning, but I wasn't set on it."

Nelson has had previous success at state. The senior climbed the hurdles ladder, finishing third at state as a sophomore and second last year, then winning with a time of 15.04 seconds. She led the race almost from start to finish.

"I was always slow at the start, one of the last ones out of the blocks, in the past," said Nelson, who has signed to compete at the University of Mary in track next season. "I worked a lot on my starts. That really made a difference."

She was a triple-placer Saturday, finishing fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 300 hurdles. But winning the 100 hurdles "was my goal, my only goal," said Nelson, who lost only one 100 hurdles race all season.

Thomas bounced back from a clerical disappointment to repeat as state champion in the 100 and 400.

The senior also won the 200 last season, but couldn't compete in the event because Park River Area coach Donna Galloway accidentally was late in registering the events in which Thomas would compete at state. By rules, therefore, she had to compete in the first four events held at state in which she'd qualified, in this case the long jump, high jump, 100 and 400.

"The competition is great here," Thomas said. "But I know I could have taken (the 200). It's a tough pill to swallow. I wanted to show that I wasn't going to let that setback keep me from using my full potential."

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Thomas won the 100 in 12.12 seconds -- surpassing the state record, but not getting the record because it was wind-aided. She ran a :57.17 in the 400, giving her five state championships in only two seasons of varsity track.

"I felt I had a lot to prove, to show that (last season) was no fluke," Thomas said. "I felt some pressure. But having that target on your back definitely helped me. You don't get complacent."

Anderson made a habit of winning. She swept the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 for the second straight season and finished her career with 11 individual state titles, as well as running on three winning relays.

Anderson ran a 2:19.36 in the 800 compared to a 2:22.95 by runner-up Jess Schanilec of Minto-Midway. Anderson, who plans to run at the University of Iowa next season, had an 11:05.90 in the 3,200, with New Town's Shanice Lambert placing second at 11:49.86.

"I'm kind of sad," Anderson said of her final state meet. "I love the state track meet. But I'm also excited for college."

As she accepted her final state award, the public address announcer rattled off the number of state titles won by Anderson. "It doesn't get old. I'm so thrilled every time," Anderson said of the championships.

Other area top-four placers Saturday included:

Katie Gruman, Griggs County Central, second in the shot put; Kali Hook, Griggs County Central, third in the shot put; Shelby Krueger, Hope-Page/Finley-Sharon, third in the 100 and fourth in the 200; Maddi Lamb, Nelson County, fourth in the 400; Kiley Coles, Hillsboro, fourth in both the 800 and 3,200; Tenielle Klubben, Griggs County Central, third in the 3,200; Beth Jochim, Griggs County Central, fourth in the triple jump; Langdon-Munich, second in the 4x200 relay; and Griggs County Central, third in the 4x400 relay.

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Benson County came up short in its bid for a repeat state championship. Bowman County won the title with 62 points, followed by Rugby with 51 and Griggs County Central tying Benson County, each with 50.

DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to gdevillers@

gfherald.com.

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