GGF NOTEBOOK: Red River Roughriders eye bid at region track title

When Grand Forks Red River has had its full boys track lineup, only once in six outdoor meets this season has an East Region opponent defeated the Roughriders.


When Grand Forks Red River has had its full boys track lineup, only once in six outdoor meets this season has an East Region opponent defeated the Roughriders.

That means very little to Roughriders coach Jeff Bakke heading into the East Region meet, to be held Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. at West Fargo. The top six finishers in each event, as well as all entrants who meet state-qualifying standards, advance to next week's state meet in Bismarck.

"It's a testimonial to our depth and our quality so far,'' Bakke said. "But we don't put a lot of stock into what's happened so far. A lot can happen at the regional. It's definitely happened before, teams that win all year long and then get beat at the regional.

"You never know (in regular season) who has its whole team at meets. Everybody is looking at strategy now, where to put the athletes so they can get the most points.''

Bakke looks for the Riders, Fargo Davies (the lone region team to beat a full-strength Red River team this spring), West Fargo and Fargo South as the primary title contenders.


"Whoever wins, I don't think it will be by much,'' Bakke said. "Everyone has an area of strength. Whoever shows a little more depth will probably win.''

Red River's big points have come in three events.

In the 110 hurdles, the Riders' Peter Wysocki, Mo Kamara and Tyler Enerson have the region's three best times entering this week. In the javelin, Daniel Pierce, Ty Ogren and Liam Ogren rank 1-2-3, respectively, in the region. In the triple jump, Devon Pope has the longest jump in the region while teammate Carlos Horcacitas is ranked third.

The Riders also have had strong performances consistently from distance runners Ty Boucher and Ben Hutchison.

"Those are our biggest events on paper, and they've been consistent all season,'' Bakke said.


Finney a big favorite

There is no such thing as a sure thing in sports. But Grand Forks Central pole vaulter Grace Finney is close at the East Region meet.


Finney, the defending state champion, hasn't lost to a North Dakota opponent this season. She's cleared 10 feet, 3 inches in five meets, with a season-best vault of 11-3. The next best vaulter in the East Region is Red River' Bailee Enlow, with a 9-9 best.

"As long as Grace does what she knows how to do, what she's been doing, she should do well,'' Central coach Eric Polries said. "She's vaulting her best right now.''

Central also has the defending 1,600 and 3,200 region champion in Karly Ackley. The junior has the region's best times in both races this season. "Her times are very similar to last year when she won,'' Polries said.

Ackley also has done well in the 800. Polries said it hasn't been decided yet which races she'll run. If the junior doesn't run the 3,200, Polries looks for the Knights' Alexis Roehl to be a top contender in the race.


Rider girls eye trophy run

Fargo Davies is the favorite in the girls division of the East Region track meet. Grand Forks Red River coach Tracey Heisler is look for her team to bid for a top-three team trophy.

"That would be a good accomplishment for us,'' Heisler said. "I don't anticipate that we'll win a lot of events. We'll need placers in every event.''


Red River currently has top seeds in Mackenzie Severson in the 200, Hannah Arason in the high jump and defending state champion Grace Emineth in the long jump.

The Riders are strong in the throwing events, led by Arason in the javelin and Shelby Frank in the discus.

"We have a lot of quality athletes and a lot of good depth there,'' Heisler said. "Our javelin throwers have probably been our most consistent throwers.''


Knights eye qualifiers

Grand Forks Central boys track coach Sean Allan doesn't look for his team to contend for the team title at the regional.

"We just don't have the depth,'' Allan said. "Our main goal is to qualify more boys for the state meet and improve the seeds of the guys who have already qualified.''

Based on the state qualifiers' list on the North Dakota High School Activities Association, Central won't have a No. 1 seed at the regional. That doesn't mean Central won't have contenders.


"I think David Hettich will have a good chance winning in the 800 and Sam Cherilus will contend in the triple jump,'' Allan said. "And our 4x200 relay (Alex Grove, Izaiah Reynolds, Cherilus and Zane Miller) has the third-fastest time in the state.''

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