Minot looks to speed, experience

They weren’t the numbers Minot High track and field coaches Michelle Hoff and Aaron Klingbeil envisioned.

Combine their boys and girls teams’ turnout -coupled roughly around 120 bodies – and it’s visibly down from years past.

But Minot, which opens its season on Saturday at North Dakota State’s indoor facility, doesn’t mind fielding a thinner herd. If anything, it prefers it.

“A little less quantity, but a lot more quality,” said Klingbeil, who leads the boys team. “We don’t have as many (athletes out), but the kids we do have are the right ones and that makes it a bit easier on the coaches.”

Senior speedster and NDSU-bound Morgan Milbrath has especially made things easier.

Milbrath, who already has nine state titles to her name, won state titles in the 100, 200 and 400-meter sprints as well as the 300-meter hurdles last spring.

She’ll spearhead a girls team that returns 11 state qualifiers and grip of medalists who aren’t oblivious of their team’s identity.

“We’re definitely a sprint team,” said Hoff, the seventh-year girls coach. “We’re definitely in that 200-meter to 400-meter range. That’s where we train the most.”

The Majettes placed third at the Class A state meet in 2012, behind the efforts of Milbrath and then-seniors Jayd Eggart (throws) and Jamie VanderVorste (middle distance).

Now this spring Samantha Huether (100 hurdles, 800-meter run) will look to build off of her sixth and seventh-place finishes at state.

Sophomore Sophie Bengson also returns after placing sixth and seventh in the 100 and 300 hurdles.

“Our numbers are a little down, but I think we have just the right amount,” Hoff said. “Right now it’s a matter of just plugging in the younger girls and seeing what we have.”

The return of sprinters Loni Bryantt, Sierra Duttenhefer and Madison Milbrath will help boost relays such as the 4×400, which placed second a year ago.

Minot’s boys will have experienced and capable relays, too.

The Magicians, who placed seventh in the 4×100 and eighth in the 4×2, return each of their legs in Karter Gorney, Alex Yanosko, Kimani Benjamin and Dylan Jechort.

Yanosko, a state medalist in the long jump and triple jump, is expected to have a banner junior season.

“He’s looking really good in the jumps,” Klingbeil said of Yanosko, who is also Minot’s quarterback. “A lot of our guys have matured from where they were a year ago.”

As a freshman, Gorney took seventh in the 100 and Benjamin qualified in the 400.

Klingbeil noted big strides in distance runner Andrew Beach.

“He’s looking like he could qualify for state right now,” Klingbeil said.

Both coaches noted Bismarck and Bismarck Century as the preseason favorites.