CLASS B TRACK AND FIELD: Weight training class pays off

The choice for Beatrice Kjelland came down to strength training or North Dakota studies. Neither class especially appealed to the Park River High School freshman.

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Beatrice Kjelland

The choice for Beatrice Kjelland came down to strength training or North Dakota studies. Neither class especially appealed to the Park River High School freshman.

“I don’t really like to go up to the weight room,’’ Kjelland said. “It’s not something I enjoy doing. But it was either taking that or a North Dakota studies class.

“I figured I’d rather be in the weight room. I was thinking it would help with basketball. It wasn’t track season yet, so I wasn’t thinking about that.’’

The benefits of weight training have paid off on the track, however. Kjelland goes into Friday’s Class B Northeast Region track meet in Larimore as one of the dominant sprinters in the state.

According to state meet qualifier lists at the North Dakota High School Activities Association, Kjelland has the two fastest Class B times and five of the top six times in the state in the 100 this spring. She also has the two fastest times reported in Class B in the 200 in the state.


“I usually did the least amount of reps we had to do in class,’’ Kjelland said. “But I think it’s made a big difference. I felt a lot stronger after taking that class.’’

Kjelland’s performances have taken the Aggies by surprise.

A year ago, she finished seventh at state in the 100 and didn’t place in the 200. In the 2013 state meet, she was a qualifier in the 100 by virtue of a third-place finish in the region meet, not by meeting time standards.

“Beatrice has always been fast, but this year she’s really blossomed,’’ Park River Area coach Angie Solseng said. “She’s really worked on her running form and on getting out of the starting blocks. She’s gotten stronger. She’s put it all together.

“I thought she would be a very good runner, that she could be in the mix for one of the top four or five spots at state. But to be this good? To be honest, no, I didn’t see it coming. She’s been a bit of a surprise.’’

Kjelland admits she didn’t anticipate being atop the qualifiers lists when practices began. For her, it’s a mixed bag. On the one hand, “there’s a target on your back. I don’t like that. But (the times) make me feel good about myself,’’ she said.

Kjelland’s times stand out. Her physical stature doesn’t.

“I’m the shortest girl on our track team,’’ the 5-foot-2 freshman said. “In races, the other girls usually are taller than me. But I don’t get nervous about that. I’m not sure (height) is a big factor in races.’’


Strength is a big factor. Kjelland still doesn’t enjoy weight lifting. “But I’m kind of grateful for that class now,’’ she said.

There are no guarantees in track, especially in the short races where a split second can make a big difference. But Kjelland has performed consistently, running state qualifying times in the 100 and 200 every time she’s run them.

“Who knows what will happen at state,’’ Solseng said. “Her being a freshman, I don’t know if Beatrice understands the magnitude of what she’s doing. She just likes to go out and compete.’’

Kjelland is one of several athletes who have state-best performances who will be competing in the Northeast Region meet Friday. Others include:

  •  Dylan Boura, Grafton-St. Thomas: The senior has the best Class B boys times in the 110 and 300 hurdles races;
  •  Aaron Sletten, Larimore: The senior has the state’s best throw in the javelin, an event in which he was runner-up at last season’s Class B state meet;
  •  Jake Peterson, Larimore: The senior has the best Class B pole vault, an event in which he was also state runner-up last spring;
  •  Gracie Wright, Hillsboro-Central Valley: The freshman has the four fastest times in the state in the 800, as reported to the NDHSAA;
  •  Amber Hunsaker, Thompson: The senior has the top four throws in the javelin and six of the top seven this spring. She’s defending region champion in all three throwing events.
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