Area prep notebook: Grafton faces rebuilding in three-peat bid
Grafton's first sampling of track without Reilly Mathiason went well. The sprint standout participated in only one open event in last season's Region 2 boys track meet. Grafton still won the meet with 106.5 points. Now Mathiason and region champi...
Grafton's first sampling of track without Reilly Mathiason went well.
The sprint standout participated in only one open event in last season's Region 2 boys track meet. Grafton still won the meet with 106.5 points.
Now Mathiason and region champion pole vaulter Jared Monsebroten are among the graduation losses the Spoilers will have to replace as the two-time defending region champions begin the season.
"We've talked to the kids about how, even though we lost standouts like Jared, Reilly and Bryce (Brady, another sprinter), we can make up those points with our depth," Grafton coach Mike Dietz said. "We won the region last year with our depth on the track. I'm hoping we have that again, but I don't know yet.
"If we do win the region again, it will be with our overall depth. We have good runners and jumpers, some good young pole vaulters and, hopefully, some throwers who can score. There is potential."
The Spoilers aren't without proven quality. Michael McCrudden was runner-up in the 200 and 400 and finished third in the 100 at the regional last year. John LeClerc is defending region champion in the 110 hurdles and made the finals at state. Dietz said LeClerc could play an expanded role in the hurdles and sprints after being slowed by illness last season. Zach Burns also is expected to be a scorer in the hurdles and jumping events.
In addition, football and basketball standout Cody Dravland is competing in track.
"I'm expecting a lot out of LeClerc and McCrudden," Dietz said. "And we got out Dravland, who is an outstanding athlete. He can run, jump, throw -- we just have to find what events he's best at."
Mathiason, a three-time placer in the sprints at the Class B state meet, was the Spoilers' big point producer the past few seasons. Now Dietz is looking to build around some proven veterans, some promising young athletes and some inexperienced quality athletes.
"We'll still be strong in the sprints," Dietz said. "We have a couple of guys with the potential to score big points, and we also have good depth.
"It will be an interesting year. I think we'll still be solid."
Fabian leaves Rams in good shape
Jill Helgeson is finding that she's stepped into a solid situation as the first-year boys track coach at Roseau.
Helgeson was an assistant to Dan Fabian for one season. When Fabian won a seat in the Minnesota House of Representatives in last November's elections, he took a leave of absence from the head track coaching position he'd held for more than 30 seasons. Helgeson took over as the head coach.
The Rams are two-time defending champions in the Minnesota Section 8A boys meet.
"Dan left the program in great shape," Helgeson said. "We really do have some excellent athletes. He trained them well; hopefully, he trained me well. Now the challenge is to carry on the torch in our program."
Helgeson has several building blocks. Leading the veterans is Wade Kerner, who was state runner-up in the 400 last spring. "That's a nice place to start," Helgeson said. "Wade is motivated to win it all this year. He'll win the 200 and 400 in most meets and run a strong leg on relays. And our pole vaulters are strong."
Sam Gross, Ryan Leverington and Dylan Gjovik placed second, tied for third and fifth, respectively, in the vault in the 8A meet last spring. In addition, Jesse Eastman returns as defending section triple jump champion. Helgeson also looks for sprinter Trevor Johnson and jumper Alex Anderson to be good scorers.
Gross already has set a Roseau record with a vault of 13 feet, 1 inch this spring.
Helgeson isn't sure who goes into the season as the 8A boys favorite.
"Who knows?" she said. "I wouldn't put us there yet. But (winning a third straight section title) is definitely achievable."
Justin Klein has been named girls basketball coach at Devils Lake High School. Klein was an assistant to Scott Privratsky, who resigned after this past season. . . . Patti Aanenson of Larimore has been named the North Dakota Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association's North Dakota Class B athletic administrator of the year. Mike Callahan of Minnewaukan was recipient of the NDIAAA's award of merit, while former Mayville-Portland-Clifford-Galesburg athletic director Del Kessler was inducted into the NDIAAA hall of fame. . . . Bagley-Fosston senior Analisa Huschle was named most valuable female athlete at the Paul Bunyan Invitational track meet in Bemidji. Bemidji's Alex Schoneberger was named male MVP. . . . Former Fordville-Lankin/Park River all-stater Katie Ralston has signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Valley City State University. Ralston played at Lake Region State College the past two seasons. . . . Martin Wind, an all-stater at Cass Lake-Bena High School, will play basketball at Northland Community and Technical College in Thief River Falls next season after playing his freshman season at Bismarck State. . . . Gus Kueber, who led Lake Region State College in scoring this past season, has signed a letter of intent to play for Mayville State next season. Kueber, a former Dakota Prairie standout, averaged 12.2 points and 6.3 rebounds for the Royals.
DeVillers reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1128; (800) 477-6572, ext. 128; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .