N.D. CLASS A STATE TRACK: A rare combination
BISMARCK -- First and foremost, Paul Shafer considers himself a distance runner. But the Grand Forks Central junior has developed some unusual options on the track. Shafer was a third-place finisher in both the triple jump and the 1,600 here Frid...
BISMARCK -- First and foremost, Paul Shafer considers himself a distance runner.
But the Grand Forks Central junior has developed some unusual options on the track.
Shafer was a third-place finisher in both the triple jump and the 1,600 here Friday in the opening day of the North Dakota Class A high school track and field meet.
"I still consider myself a distance runner first," said Shafer, who only began triple jumping last season. "But since I got third in both today, I guess the triple jump is catching up."
Shafer was the only distance runner to place in the triple jump; he was the only triple jumper to place in an open distance event. That combination of events isn't commonplace.
"I've never had a kid who did those two events," Central coach Sean Allan said. "I've asked other coaches and they've never heard of that combination, either. It is usually kids with different frames and muscle development doing those different events. The triple jumpers are usually sprinter types.
"But we wanted to get Paul into another event. He's long and strong. And he's a very good athlete. He probably doesn't get to work on the triple jump as much as other guys, what with his speed drills and distance runs. And he has to keep his legs fresh."
Shafer ran a 4:25.69 in the 1,600, an event won by Bismarck's Jake Leingang (4:19.24). In the triple jump, Shafer hit a personal-record leap of 43 feet, 2.5 inches on his final attempt, allowing him to jump up a few places. He also anchored the Knights' 4x800 relay team that finished fifth.
"Coach must have seen that I was built for the triple jump, tall and lanky," Shafer said. "And I was definitely excited to try it. It's a fun event, and a challenge."
Two Riders second
Grand Forks Red River had a pair of runner-up finishes Friday.
In the boys high jump, Kellen Plutowski matched his personal record of 6-4, finishing two inches below the winning leap of Bismarck's Kendall Kautz.
"I'm beyond just happy getting second," Plutowski said. "I've been inconsistent this year. I've no-heighted at a few meets this year. But today, I felt great.
"But at the end, I think the higher height got to me. I had some self-doubts when the bar went up that high, and high jumping is such a mental game."
Red River junior Colie Sabol was the top Grand Forks girls placer Friday. She set a personal record in the triple jump with a leap of 35 feet, 8.75 inches and finished second. West Fargo's Christina Bruenjes went 37-8 to win.
While Bruenjes was a repeat champion, Sabol made a huge leap up in the standings from a year ago.
"My goal was second, but I really wasn't expecting it," Sabol said. "Last year, I was seeded last amongst all the girls in the triple jump and long jump at state. I just wanted to get on the (placers') podium this year.
"I came up a little short of my goal of 36 feet. But I'm so excited to get second."
Bismarck, which is going for its ninth consecutive boys state title, has 57 points to set the pace going into Saturday's final competition. Both Grand Forks schools are in the top five -- West Fargo (39) is second, followed by Bismarck Century (25), Central (20) and Red River (19).
Bismarck Century has 41.5 points to lead the girls' A field. Bismarck (27), with West Fargo (19.5), Fargo Davies (18) and Red River (17.5) rounding out the top five.