Majettes seek first state title since 2008

It’s been a long five years.

Five years since Minot High’s last girls swimming and diving state championship.

That’s five years removed from the Majettes’ string of six straight state titles.

And five years since Minot finished first or second in 16 consecutive state meets.

Minot coach Dan Hinton believes his team is in a position to end that championship drought.

“It would mean a lot,” Hinton said. “Certainly winning isn’t everything; you want your team to have a fun season. But considering the tradition of winning that Minot has had, I know we would really like to get that title back to Minot.”

Last Saturday, the Majettes claimed their first West Region title since 2008.

They hope to duplicate that dry-spell-ending success at the state meet Friday and Saturday at the Hyslop Sports Center in Grand Forks.

The Majettes own the top seed in the 200-yard medley relay and the No. 2 seed in the 200 freestyle relay – events they won at the West Region meet.

Junior Francesca Walker-Rozo and sophomore Emily Hamel are seeded first and second in the 50 freestyle.

“It’s unusual for a team to have the top two seeds in the 50 free,” Hinton said. “I just have this feeling that we can maintain that, which is huge points.”

Minot boasts the second seed in two other individual events: senior Sarah Bogenrief in the 100 breaststroke and Walker-Rozo in the 100 butterfly.

Walker-Rozo enters the meet with the second-best qualifying time in her event, just one-hundredth of a second behind West Fargo’s Danica Dutt.

“That’s a race where we maintain or we inch out that No. 1 seed and take away some points from West Fargo,” Hinton said. “All in all, everybody’s got to do their job whether they’re the 16th seed or the 1 seed. Every point is going to count when it’s all said and done.”

West Fargo, who finished nine points ahead of Minot at the Jamestown Invitational on Nov. 2, is the favorite to win the event.

The Majettes have chipped away at the Packers’ stranglehold throughout the year, and Hamel said Minot has the firepower to close the gap altogether this weekend.

“We looked at some of their times and how they placed at EDC and we think we can pull it off,” Hamel said.

MHS has new defense for West Region tourney

Shh, don’t tell St. Mary’s but the Minot High volleyball team is changing its defensive structure.

Completely overhauling your defensive strategy is no small undertaking, especially this late in the season. But for the sixth-seeded Majettes (14-19), it might not hurt.

Minot coach Ellen Jebens declined to disclose the specifics of the new defense she hopes will yield positive results in the West Region tournament.

The Majettes open with No. 3-seeded St. Mary’s at 6:30 tonight in Jamestown.

“We lost to (St. Mary’s) twice, so we might as well try something different and see how it goes,” Jebens said. “We’re gonna try to get numbers up and get more diggers on the ball.”

Both of Minot’s losses to the Saints (20-9) came in sweeps. She said neither communication nor defense were necessarily the main issue in those defeats, but sometimes a fresh look simply pays dividends.

“I think the transition has been good,” senior defensive specialist MaKaila Anderson said. “We’re reacting really well to the new defense.”

Depending on its result, Minot will play the winner or loser of No. 2-seeded Century and seventh-seeded Williston.

The Majettes need to secure two wins in order to advance to the state tournament. Jebens said losing their first match isn’t exactly the end of the world.

“It’s not so important,” she said. “I mean, we’re gonna try and win that game, but the outcome of the first game won’t make or break us. We just gotta win two.”

Minot missed the state tournament last year, which stings a little more since it’s hosted at the MSU Dome.

Anderson said returning to state would more or less salvage what’s been an up-and-down season.

“I think it would mean everything to make it back,” Anderson said. “It was really frustrating last year.

“We haven’t had the best season (this year), but it’d mean everything for us and especially to be at home.”

Ryan Holmgren covers high school sports and general assignments. Follow him on Twitter @ryanholmgren.