State Class A track and field: RR, GFC fair well on first day
BISMARCK -- Friday was just like any other day at pole vaulting practice for Kari Novotny and Ashley Zeitvogel. Well -- except for a few things. They were wearing their track uniforms, Novotny of Grand Forks Central and Zeitvogel of Grand Forks R...
BISMARCK -- Friday was just like any other day at pole vaulting practice for Kari Novotny and Ashley Zeitvogel.
Well -- except for a few things. They were wearing their track uniforms, Novotny of Grand Forks Central and Zeitvogel of Grand Forks Red River. And they were competing against each other for a state title.
The Grand Forks vaulters finished second and third here in the opening day of the North Dakota Class A high school track meet. Bismarck's Megan Meyer won the vault, clearing 10 feet, 9 inches. Novotny and Zeitvogel tied for second at 10-6, with Novotny getting second on a tiebreaker.
"Normally, seeing a Red River jersey would make me thirsty (for blood)," Novotny said. "But we've practiced together. We've developed our skills together. It makes it easier when we're both out there."
Said Zeitvogel: "I don't think of her as a competitor."
The top three vaulters finished in the exact order they were seeded entering the meet. But neither Grand Forks vaulter was totally pleased with her performance. Novotny, the defending state champion, missed her season-best vault by six inches. Zeitvogel was shy of per season best by three inches.
"We're a little frustrated with it," Zeitvogel said. "We felt we could have done better. We didn't hit our PRs."
Novotny agreed. "It would have been nice if we'd been jumping well. But I really haven't all year. I only made my PR once all spring."
And, while they matched each other in height here Friday, beating each other is something they just accept because they've vaulted against each other all spring. "We won't hold a grudge if the other one wins," Zeitvogel said.
Adds Novotny: "We really can't, because we always see each other the next day in practice. And we're good friends."
Storstad finishes second
Novotny wasn't the only Grand Forks performer who came up short in a bid to repeat as a state champion.
Grand Forks Red River senior Megan Storstad was defending champion in the javelin. But she dropped down one notch, finishing second behind Bismarck High's Kaitlyn Sturlaugson. Storstad had a best throw of 123 feet, while Sturlaugson won with a 126-0 toss.
Storstad's throw was a season best for the UND-bound senior, and also surpassed the winning throw of 121-5 she had in the 2008 state meet.
"Obviously, first would have been better than second," said Storstad, who entered state seeded fourth. "But I'm happy with what I did. I threw longer than last year at state and had my best throw this year. It's nice to go out on a high note."
Good start for Todhunter
Ryan Todhunter didn't get any places Friday. But he set himself up for today's finals -- what he calls the test.
The Red River senior had the top preliminary times in the 110 hurdles and 300 hurdles, and is seeded third in the open 100 and fifth in the open 200. His time of 14.38 seconds in the 110 hurdles was just shy of the state record of :14.36 set by Grand Forks Central's Ryan Chappell in 2005.
"I felt like I was a little slow in the 110s," Todhunter said. "But I qualified for the finals in everything I'm entered.
"I don't know about winning all four; that might be impractical to expect. But I know I can win both hurdles. There's no more waiting. It's the peak of the season now, when you can see the finished product. (Today) will be more of a fun day than a stressful day."
Red River also takes the top seeds into today's 4x100 and 4x200 boys relay teams.
In the team race, Bismarck has opened up a big lead in the Class A girls division with 77 points after Friday's competition, West Fargo is second at 28, followed by Minot and Red River tied for third at 21. Central has eight points.
Bismarck holds a narrow 44.5-41.5 lead over second-place Jamestown in the boys field, with Red River tied for sixth with 11 points and Central with three points. Grand Forks' big scorer in the boys division Friday was Red River's Jake Malm, who finished third in the javelin.
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