Right on track

BISMARCK – There weren’t many points to be claimed on Friday, the first day of the Class A state track and field tournament at the Bismarck Community Bowl for both the Minot High boys and girls teams, but they both feel like they’re set up well for the final day.

Minot qualified nine individuals and four relays through preliminaries between the two teams. The Majettes had three hurdlers advance to today’s finals. Sophomore Kylie Alexander advanced with a time of 16.32 seconds, finishing fourth in the preliminaries in the 100-meter hurdles. Alexander and junior Sophie Bengson advanced in the 300 hurdles. Sophomore Madison Milbrath advanced in the 400.

The Majettes’ 400 and 800 relays advanced out of the prelimaries, although the 400 relay flirted with disaster, finishing out of the top three in their heat. But their time of 50.42 was good enough to seed them seventh in today’s final.

“Day one was pretty good,” Majettes coach Disa Salander said. “Our hurdlers were strong again. Our relays were pretty good. We had some handoff issues on our 4×2 and our 4×1, we just have to finish.”

The Magicians had five individuals and two relays get through preliminaries. Both junior Karter Gorney and senior Josh Pizzo advanced in the 100. Gorney, who is the defending state champion in the 100, placed third in 11.09. Pizzo ran his best 100 of the season, finishing in 11.22 to grab seventh. Gorney also took third in the 200 prelims.

“Pizzo has really had a really great year in terms of performing under pressure,” Magicians coach Aaron Klingbeil said.

With temperatures in the upper 80s and the heat index on the track only adding to the heat, advancing to the finals was more important to most athletes than winning their respective heat.

“The biggest thing is you want to drink a lot of water,” Gorney said. “If it’s a longer race you don’t give it your all. You just try to get into the finals. You don’t want to hurt yourself getting into the finals.”

Senior Kimani Benjamin advanced in the 400, Ben Love did the same in the 110 hurdles and both the 400 and 800 relays had little trouble in their heats. Pizzo, Gorney, sophomore Myles Preskey and senior Tre Kinchen had the fastest time in the 400 relay, finishing in 43.11.

“In other years, we’re come in in better shape on paper than we did this year and had rough years,” Klingbeil said. “This year, we came in a little weaker on paper, but so far we’re doing well. We’re set up good for day two and we got points we didn’t expect on day one.”

Milbrath saves

best for last

It was a rare site for Minot sophomore Madison Milbrath when she stepped onto the track at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

For the first time in her high school career, her sister, Morgan Milbrath, wasn’t there beside her to offer words of encouragement. Even without her older sister, a current member of the North Dakota State track and field team, Milbrath still had a large cheering section among her teammates and the rest of the field.

“It was strange because I’m used to having her there beside me in the state track meet, but I think I did pretty well without her, too, because I had all my friends from other teams cheering me on, as well as my teammates,” Milbrath said.

Without her sister running by her side, Milbrath turned in her best performance in the 400, qualifying for the finals in a time of 59.65. She placed eighth in the preliminaries, finishing just 0.63 in front of the first runner left out. It was her best time of the season. Her top time entering the meet was 1:00.19.

“I saw some of the girls passing me and I thought the chance was lost, but I fought as hard as I could and I guess I snagged it by time,” Milbrath said.

Milbrath will be the only Majette running in any of the three dash events.

Rabe finds

self on podium

If Minot junior Allison Rabe had to guess which two out of the three Majettes would have been on the podium following the girls shot put, she wouldn’t have thought she’d be one of the two.

But she was, grabbing eighth place with a personal-best toss of 36 feet, 3 inches. Her longest throw entering the state meet was 35-7, behind teammates Else Nelson and MacKenzie Gleason.

“My coaches have been really supportive and letting me know that I can do this and I just started believing it,” Rabe said.

The Majettes didn’t fare as well as they hoped as a whole, with throwing events being their bread and butter. Nelson, who had the fifth-best throw coming in, finished seventh with a toss of 37-7. Gleason advanced to the final round, but didn’t make it on the podium after placing ninth.

“Our shot put struggled a little bit, but we got a girl (on the podium) that wasn’t expected to get in so that’s always exciting,” Salander said. “Just to get her up there and see that she can do it is just awesome.”

West Fargo’s Keely Walker won the state title with a final toss of 43 feet, edging Century’s Kelsie Hall by 5 inches. The Patriots claimed the 2-6 spots, followed by Minot at seven and eight.

“We did really well,” Rabe said. “We’ve been working hard all season. We had lots of improvement throughout the year and we just ended on a good note.”

Mike Kraft covers Minot High athletics and general

assignment. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft24_MDN.