April 26, 2017 2:00 pm
By Tom Mix
NDHSAA Media Specialist
VALLEY CITY, N.D. – It may not look like it outside at the moment, but the NDHSAA prep track and field season is in full swing.
Several prep athletes are off to strong starts including Hillsboro/Central Valley junior Gracie Wright who holds top times in three individual events in the Class B girls division. Wright, the defending state champion in the 400 meters, holds top times early on this spring in the 200 meters (26.14 seconds), 400 (59.19) and the 800 (2:20.49).
Wright also has competed on the Burros’ 4x400 and 4x800 meter relay teams that hold top qualifying times in the Class B girls division this spring. A year ago at the state meet in Bismarck, Hillsboro/Central Valley’s 4x400 meter relay team posted a Class B girls state record time of 4:02.21.
Legacy senior Brandon Lewis holds top times in three individual events (100 meters, long jump and triple jump) and runs on the Sabers’ 4x100 meter relay team, which holds the top time in the Class A boys division (42.63). In the individual events, Lewis holds a time of 10.80 in the 100 and marks off 23 feet, 2 inches in the long jump and 44-11.5 in the triple jump. Lewis was runner up in the long jump at state a year ago.
In Class A girls, Bismarck High senior Cara Haussler is excelling in the sprinting events. Haussler holds top times in the 100 (12.09), 200 (25.26) and the 400 (57.59).
In Class B boys, Des Lacs-Burlington junior Josh Knutson returns as one of the top hurdlers in the state. Knutson, state champion in the 110-meter hurdles and runner up in the 300 meter hurdles, already holds top times in both events this spring. Knutson’s top time in the 110-meter hurdles is 15.30 and 40.34 in the 300. Knutson also is part of the Lakers’ 4x100 and 4x200 relays that have the top qualifying times in the Class B boys division. The Lakers’ relays have been successful in recent years posting a Class B boys state record at state a year ago in the 4x100 relay.
This week’s NDHSAA Media Spotlight is a prep sports column written by Hillsboro-Banner staffer Cory Erickson, who also coaches the Hillsboro/Central Valley softball team.
Erickson writes how Hillsboro/Central Valley softball players took it upon themselves to extend and act of kindness to a player in the opposing dugout during a recent game.
The player was Kindred/Richland catcher Olivia Miller, who had recently lost her mother, Stacey.
A game was played and Kindred/Richland won 13-3, but sportsmanship also shined.
Devils Lake boys hoops standout Mertens commits to NDSU
Devils Lake senior Jake Mertens verbally committed this week to North Dakota State to play on the men’s basketball team as a preferred walk-on.
Other schools Mertens considered were Minot State and University of Mary in Bismarck.
Mertens is a three-time All-State selection including being a first-team pick as a junior and senior. He averaged 19.8 points, 6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game his seniors season with the Firebirds. Mertens holds the school record for career assists with 463 and ranks second in career scoring with 1,495 points.
Fargo North girls soccer sits atop the EDC standings
The Fargo North girls soccer team is 3-0-1 overall and in Eastern Dakota Conference play this spring.
The Spartans have collected three straight wins against Fargo Davies, West Fargo and Grand Forks Red River after opening the season with a 3-3 tie with West Fargo Sheyenne.
North won the 2015 NDHSAA state championship and features a deep roster capable of scoring a lot of goals. The senior class is made up four athletes led by standout forward Molly Sarafolean, who is committed to play soccer at Minnesota State-Mankato.
North travels to play Bismarck Legacy and Bismarck Century on Saturday, April 29 in a East-West Crossover series and hosts Fargo Shanley-Oak Grove on Tuesday, May 2.
Shanley-Oak Grove (2-0-1, 2-0-1 EDC) and West Fargo Sheyenne (3-1-1, 2-0-1 EDC) are tied for second in the EDC standings with seven points each.
Got a NDHSAA Prep Notebook News Item or a Feature Story tip for Media Specialist Tom Mix? Email him with the details at firstname.lastname@example.org