CLIPBOARD: Red River's Arvidson opens track career with long-jump win, state qualification

Mack Arvidson had never competed in the long jump in a high school track meet. He'd never gone out for high school track before. Baseball has been his thing in the spring.

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Mack Arvidson had never competed in the long jump in a high school track meet. He'd never gone out for high school track before. Baseball has been his thing in the spring.

But on Tuesday, the Grand Forks Red River senior opened his prep track career by not only winning the long jump at the Grand Forks Sertoma meet, but also qualifying for the Class A state meet.

"It was a surprise,'' Red River coach Bob Zimney said. "But we definitely saw that potential during the basketball season. People who have seen Mack in basketball know what an exceptional athlete he is.''

Arvidson had a winning jump of 20 feet, 5ยฝ inches. Going into the weekend, only three North Dakota Class A athletes had recorded longer jumps this spring.

That performance came with limited practices for Arvidson, who led Red River to the Class A boys basketball state title this winter. After basketball season, he was gone on a family vacation. And he's a dual-sport athlete in the spring, when most of his practice time is with the baseball team, not with Red River jumping coach Tim Delmore.


"I think Mack and coach Delmore had about 20 minutes of time before the meet working on fundamentals,'' Zimney said.

"Certainly, he should be able to improve his distances as he works on his technique.''

Central expands role

of distance runners

Paul Shafer made his initial mark on the Grand Forks Central boys track team as a distance runner. The senior is still one of the top distance runners in the state, but he also has developed into one of the top triple jumpers in North Dakota.

A few seasons ago, that may not have happened. But Central coach Sean Allan began diversifying his distance runners a few years ago.

"We'd never done it in the past,'' Allan said. "But when this group of senior distance runners were freshmen, we saw it was a special group of athletes.

"Distance runners can only do two open events in a meet. We needed them doing more events, to get more points, so we had them trying different things.''


So now Shafer is a triple jumper. Alex Torrey joined the program as a distance runner, but tried the pole vault and that has become his primary event. Tom Fisher also vaults.

"It's actually a nice break for the runners, trying to do something different,'' Allan said. "And it helps the team. Paul would do eight events in a meet if he could. He likes to try different things. Tom has done the pole vault, triple jump, high jump and he could be good at the javelin or 300 hurdles.

"Now we have young distance runners who have seen the success these seniors have and they want to try the technique events, too.''

Central has had a tradition of excellent distance runners. Does Allan regret not using standout runners in the field events in the past?

"Looking back, you wonder about how some of our distance runners would have done,'' Allan said. "They were good athletes. You'd have to assume they could have done well in the field events, too. I'm just glad we did try it now.''

Wickersham comes back strong

Brandi Wickersham missed the 2011 fastpitch softball season after suffering a major knee injury late in the 2010-11 basketball season. The long layoff apparently hasn't hurt the senior's hitting ability.

Wickersham has 10 hits in 26 at-bats for East Grand Forks Senior High's 2-5 team, driving in five runs. Her .385 average paces the team.


"Brandi wasn't one of our top hitters before the injury," Senior High coach Heidi Spicer said. "She made contact, but she didn't hit the ball hard. And she hadn't seen a pitch for two years when we got going this spring. She's been a pleasant surprise.

"Brandi has improved so much since her sophomore season, it's like night and day. She's hitting the ball sharply, mostly line drives. She's older and stronger."


Grand Forks Red River senior Zach Winkler has signed a letter of intent to compete in football at North Dakota State College of Science.

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

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