Going out a champion

BISMARCK – It was well worth the wait for Watford City senior pole vaulter McKayla Haugeberg to claim her third consecutive Class B state title Friday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

Haugeberg had to wait nearly two hours before successfully completing her first vault at nine feet, three inches. An hour later, Haugeberg was a champion again with a winning height of 10 feet, nine inches.

She finished with a new school-record vault of 11-03, besting her old mark of 11 feet set earlier this year. She won last year’s state title with a vault of 10-09.

“It wasn’t my best vaulting day, but it feels good to repeat three times now,” Haugeberg said.

The senior’s quest for a three-peat wasn’t easy and it was nearly derailed by an unlikely challenger in Fargo Oak Grove freshman Brittany Dixon. After Dixon vaulted a personal-best 10-06 on her second attempt, Haugeberg faced what could have been her final career vault.

“I was a little nervous,” Haugeberg said. “I was disappointed in my first two attempts because I could have made those easily. I guess my competitive side came out.”

Haugeberg shook off some rare nerves and cleared the bar on her third attempt with a few inches to spare.

“She was a little bit frazzled there,” Watford City pole vaulting coach David Gumke said. “She was a little worried about it. I just told her, ‘Calm down. You can do it,’ and she came through like she’s always done. She’s a competitor.”

Dixon’s upset bid ended when she touched the bar just enough to cause it to fall on her final attempt at 10-09. Prior to Friday, Dixon’s top vault was 10 feet.

“I was just surprised I made it this far,” Dixon said.

The wind – gusting up to 30 mph – gave several vaulters trouble. Watford City seventh-grader Mikka Haugeberg and Rugby junior Kayla Voeller recorded a no height and 11 of the 17 competitors were eliminated before the older Haugeberg sister attempted her first vault.

Haugeberg’s typical sparring partner -Dickinson Trinity senior McKenzie Kostelecky – placed third with a vault of 10 feet. Beulah’s Nicole Schramm finished fourth, Bottineau’s Maria Diepolder placed seventh and Carrington’s Haley Wolfe was eighth.

Haugeberg finished fifth in the long jump with a jump of 16-11.50 to close out her first day in Bismarck. Haugeberg competes in the javelin and 1600-meter relay today.