STATE A TRACK: Red River's Steffen captures second long jump title in three years

BISMARCK -- Hadley Steffen hasn't spent a lot of time looking back on the 2012 state track meet. That's because she didn't get a lot of satisfaction from it.

Red River's Hadley Steffen makes a jump
Grand Forks Red River jumper Hadley Steffen competes during the long jump finals at the state track and field meet Saturday in Bismarck.

BISMARCK -- Hadley Steffen hasn't spent a lot of time looking back on the 2012 state track meet. That's because she didn't get a lot of satisfaction from it.

"I do not like second place," the Grand Forks Red River High School senior said.

On Saturday, Steffen was back on top. She captured her second championship in the long jump in the past three seasons on the final day of the North Dakota Class A girls state meet.

Steffen was one of two Grand Forks athletes to win titles Saturday. Teammate Hannah Arason won the javelin.

Steffen was a top-three finisher in the long jump four straight seasons. She won the title as a sophomore, but slipped to second last season.


"I put in a lot of hard work to get back to first place," Steffen said. "Having the feeling of that first-place trophy again, that pushed me."

The senior entered the meet seeded second behind Fargo South's Emma Schalow. Steffen cleared a season-best 18 feet, 5¼ inches for the winning jump, with Schalow finishing second. It was only the fourth outdoor meet of the season for Steffen, who has been slowed by a leg injury.

"I felt healthy this weekend," Steffen said. "I'd been resting the leg all week. And not having the top seed took the pressure off."

Arason also came into the javelin with the No. 2 seed. She's made a smooth transition from softball to javelin thrower. The freshman set a personal record with a winning throw of 139 feet, 3 inches.

Arason is only in her second season of throwing the javelin, placing fifth at state in 2012. But she's not a novice thrower.

"I was in the softball throw in Hershey's (youth track meets) and won state in that," Arason said. "That kind of led me to the javelin. It's kind of the same throwing motion as softball.

"I was hoping to get a PR. When I let the 139-footer go, it felt really good."

Arason took the lead on her first throw with a 127-footer and never gave up the lead. Before her winning throw, Arason also had a 133-footer. The runner-up was West Fargo eighth-grader Akealy Moton (123-10).


For the athletes, the state meet is about more than just championships. Personal records also are prominent.

Red River sophomore sprinter Ashley Rone had a few stellar performances in finishing second in the 200 (25.35 seconds), third in the 100 (12.34) and fourth in the 400 (1:00.31). Rone set school records in both the 100 and 200 this weekend.

"I wanted to place high," Rone said. "But for me it's about the PRs. I wanted to see how hard I could push myself.

"Breaking two school records, that's pretty awesome."

Grand Forks Central's top points Saturday came from fourth-place finishes by its 4x800 relay team and Katarina Reller in the shot put. Reller was Central's big scorer with 15 points after winning the discus title Friday.

Other Grand Forks individual placers Saturday included:

Central: Karly Ackley, 3,200, sixth.

Red River: Vanessa Bakken, long jump, seventh; Elli Strand, javelin, seventh; Ellie Ripplinger, javelin, eighth.


Bismarck Century won the team title with 177.5 points, followed by Bismarck (101), West Fargo (89) and Red River (57.5). Central finished 11th with 23 points.

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