Lana Krack hasn't lost to a Class B opponent in either of the two longest races in high school track this season.
That doesn't mean wins have been easy for the Thompson High School senior. On the contrary -- strong competition has brought out the best in Krack, who will attempt to defend her 2018 state titles this weekend when Bismarck hosts the North Dakota Class A-B combined state meet.
Krack has the fastest qualifying times in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. It is a qualifying list dominated by Krack and her fellow distance runners from the Northeast Region.
"The good thing about having the competition in our region is it brings out good times,'' said Krack, who won the 1,600 and 3,200 state titles last season. "You never going into a meet 100 percent knowing you're going to win.
"It's great. It's a lot easier to run the distances when you have somebody running in front of or with you. Having that competition makes me run my best times. You need that competition to push yourself.''
The top eight-seeded distance runners from the Northeast Region include:
800: 1. Krack (2:21.06 best time); 2. Reagan Baesler, Hillsboro-Central Valley (2:21.14); 4. Jensyn Zink, Hillsboro-Central Valley (2:25.70);
1,600: 1. Krack (5:08.06); 2. Elise Ramberg, Langdon-Edmore-Munich (5:19.78); 4. Jenna Soine, Hatton-Northwood (5:31.58); 6. Anna Strand, Mayville-Portland-CG (5:32.16); 7. Baesler (5:32.41);
3,200: 1. Krack (10:52.65); 2. Ramberg (11:21.80); 3. Carlee Sieben, Grafton (11:57.70); 4. Soine (11:59.02); 8. Strand 12:04.06).
"It's a very deep group of distance runners in our region,'' Thompson coach Jeremy Anderson said. "Going into every meet, every girl knows she has to run a good race. It's a challenge.''
That domination isn't new.
Last year, four of the top seven finishers in each of the three open distance races were from the Northeast. In 2017, the region had four of the top six in the 1,600 and 3,200 and three of the top eight in the 800.
Anderson said a big reason for that is the runners' feeding off of each other's success. That includes the Hillsboro-Central Valley cross country team, which has won eight straight Class B state titles.
"The kids see the success of others and I think it drives them to work even harder,'' Anderson said.
"These are kids who had success in cross country. They run in the fall right through the winter and it carries over into track in the spring. Running is a year-round commitment. That's made a big difference.''
And Krack leads the way.
"Lana has been really consistent,'' Anderson said. "It gets difficult to keep getting PRs (personal records) after you hit a certain level. But she's hit significant PRs in the 3,200 and 800 this spring and she's run really good times in the 1,600. She's been consistently good.''
Five to watch
In addition to all the distance runners, here are five other area athletes to watch at the Class B girls state track meet.
Paige Haakenson, Nelson County: The senior enters state with the longest shot put in Class B (40-3). She was runner-up in the shot last season. Haakenson also is seeded second in the discus.
Lexis Olson, Langdon-Edmore-Munich: The sophomore has top-eight seeds in the 200 (eighth) and the 300 hurdles (fourth). She's coming off a regional in which she beat top-seeded Izzy Shirek of Thompson in the 300 hurdles.
Malori Pletcher, Langdon-Edmore-Munich: The freshman cleared a personal-record 5-foot-3 in the high jump in the regional meet -- a height that ties her for the best in Class B this spring.
Elizabeth Schanilec, Midway-Minto: The sophomore won the 100, 200 and 400 at the Northeast Region, including a 26.44 time in the 200 that gives her the No. 2 seed at state.
Izzy Shirek, Thompson: The senior has the state's fastest times in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles as well as being ranked third in the high jump. Shirek placed in all three events last season -- third in the 100s, tied for fourth in the high jump and seventh in the 300s.