Carrington girls repeat as state champs

BISMARCK – The Carrington girls track and field team had the rest of the Class B field right where it wanted it entering the final day of the state meet.

Leading Watford City by four points entering Saturday, the Cardinals amassed 84 points in the final 14 events to finish with with a team score of 113, winning their second consecutive state title Saturday at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

“The main thing on Friday was to be in the upper 20s and move into as many finals as we could,” said Carrington coach Greg Hoeckle, who was named Class B girls coach of the year. “We were sitting great coming into today and that’s all you could ask for.”

Senior Josey Page capped off her career with state titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes and served as the final leg of the 400 relay team that also took first. Page held off Kindred sophomore Alexandra Erickson by .08 seconds, posting a time of 25.19.

The 100 was even closer. Page and Central Cass’ Gabby Grommesh crossed the finish line in a dead heat. Even the video replay wasn’t conclusive.

The video board initially put up matching times for the two sprinters before an extra decimal showed Page to be the winner. Her time of 12.407 was one one-thousandth of a second faster than Grommesh’s.

“I saw the replay on the TV and I still thought she had won,” said Page, the Class B girls senior athlete of the year. “I was just thinking ‘Come on, please, please’ and then I saw we had the same times and I thought ‘What’s going to happen?’ “

The Cardinals closed out the meet strong with their final title of the weekend, winning the 400 relay in 50.77. The team of senior Hannah Lipetzky, juniors Jacey Engelhorn and Madison Wendel and Page bested Hazen’s relay team by .31.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Wendel said. “We work so hard every single day to get to these points and I’m just glad to be on this team with everyone.”

Carrington had plenty of other contributors to the school’s eighth track and field state title, and it wasn’t just on the track. A day removed from winning the discuss toss, junior Kayla Hochhalter posted 14 total points for the Cardinals in the shot put and javelin. Hochhalter placed second in the shot put with a throw of 41 feet, 2.50 inches and third in the javelin at 135-01.

Senior Carly Copenhaver contributed three points with a sixth-place finish in the shot put at 35-09.

“Any time you can be on top, it’s always a successful year,” Hoeckle said. “We have such great depth with distance, sprinting, throwing. Any time you can score over 100 points at a state meet, that’s a huge day.”

Back on the track, eighth-grader Ashley Neumiller placed third in the 3200 with a time of 11:52.78. She also cracked the top five in the 1600 on Friday, finishing fourth at 5:23.92. Neumiller ran the final leg of the 3200 relay, helping the Cardinals to a second-place finish with a time of 10:09.53.

Senior Maartje VanBedaf closed out her final state meet with a third-place finish in the 300 hurdles and also posted a fourth-best time in the 400 at 1:00.18.

“We have really hard workers and dedication from all the teammates,” Lipetzky said. “It’s just awesome.”

Carrington finished 61 points clear of second-place Hazen and 63 points in front of Watford City, which finished third. Rugby placed seventh with 32 points.

“We have a really strong track and field and not a lot of teams can say that,” Engelhorn said. “I’m really proud of everybody.”