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Davies' Deebom, West Fargo Sheyenne's Johnson, Bertsch earn East Region wins on Day 1 of state track & field

Deebom improved on a second-place finish in last year's long jump, while Johnson and Bertsch pulled upsets in the 3,200-final and pole vault

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Fargo Davies’ Cece Deebom competes in the Class A girls long jump during the North Dakota State Track & Field Meet on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Bismarck.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum
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BISMARCK — The North Dakota high school state track meet kicked off on Thursday with no shortage of excitement in Class A.

The East Region produced three winners Thursday at the MDU Resources Community Bowl on the campus of Bismarck Sate College, including one from Fargo Davies and two more from West Fargo Sheyenne.

In one of the first events of the day, Davies junior Cece Deebom improved on her second place finish in the girls long jump from a year ago, taking the victory this time around with a jump of 19 feet, 1 inch in the finals.

Over on the boys side, West Fargo Sheyenne senior Bradley Bertsch pulled a surprise victory in the pole vault — clearing 14 feet for a new personal best after entering the competition with the third-highest seed mark of 13-9.

On the track, Mustangs senior Caeden Johnson also pulled out a new personal best and won the 3,200-meter boys final with a 9:19.90. Sophomore teammate Aiden Johnson finished right behind him to make it a one-two finish for Sheyenne.

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Girls team scores after three Day 1 events have Bismarck Century on top of the leaderboard with 16 points, followed by Davies with 15 points and West Fargo with 12 points to round out the top three.

Four events were contested on the boys side Thursday, with Century leading the team totals with 47 points after Day 1, followed by Sheyenne with 30 points and Bismarck with 15 points.

Deebom avenges second place finish from a year ago

Deebom's leap of 19-1 did not top her personal best of 19-7 this season, but it was still good enough to edge Dickinson sophomore Jazmin Barry, who had a mark of 18-4.25.

Deebom also improved on last season's mark of 18-1. She was topped by her now-graduated teammate Ellen Donat last season.

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Fargo Davies' Cece Deebom competes in the Class A girls long jump during the North Dakota State Track & Field Meet on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Bismarck.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

That second place finish was stuck in the back of her mind for the last 365 days or so, with Deebom saying the only thought she had going into this weekend was earning a victory.

"I came here with the intention of getting first and I'm happy that I did," Deebom said. "I got second to my teammate last year, so I couldn't be mad about it and I was happy for her."

Deebom did say, however, that it's nice to be on top one year later.

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"It feels really good because I've come a long way," she said. "It's not my main event, but from where I started to where I've come now, it's been a pretty huge improvment. So I'm happy that I was able to do it this year."

With the long jump out of the way, Deebom can now shift focus to defending her state titles from last year in the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 100-meter hurdles.

"My expectation is to hopefully defend those titles and run the best I can this weekend," Deebom said. "We've been working really hard this year and I hope that the performances show that."

Bertsch vaults to victory

Seeds are just numbers. Just ask Bertsch.

The two competitors ranked above him going into the pole vault — Dickinson senior Jack Homiston and Legacy sophomore Adam Nychyporuk — were the only two Class A athletes in the state to clear 14 feet this season.

No problem for Bertsch, with his 14-0 clearaence topping both Homiston and Nychyporuk, who each recorded a 13-6 for third and fourth places. Bertsch edged Dickinson junior Benett Carlson, who finished second at 13-9.

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West Fargo Sheyenne's Bradley Bertsch competes in the Class A boys pole vault during the North Dakota State Track & Field Meet on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Bismarck.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

Bertsch took fourth in last year's pole vault and will now go out on top as a senior.

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"It just feels great," Bertsch said. "State, first place, PR, it feels really good. You always want to improve. I always had it in the back of my head a little bit that I had a shot this year, but I never thought I'd actually be here.

"It really just feels great. It does."

Johnson's go one-two for Mustangs

Bertsch's teammates over on the track paced the field in the boys 3,200-meter final, with Caeden Johnson finishing first place with a time of 9:19.90. Aiden Johnson clocked in just under two seconds behind him with a 9:21.04.

Caeden Johnson had the second-fastest seed time going into the event behind Fargo North's Owen Sondag, who had the best time in the state this season with a 9:18.35 but did not finish the race.

Caeden last ran the 3,200 as a freshman, and said it was nice to do it again as a senior and win.

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West Fargo Sheyenne's Caeden Johnson, right, leads Aiden Johnson to the finish in the Class A boys 3200-meter run during the North Dakota State Track & Field Meet on Thursday, May 26, 2022, in Bismarck.
Michael Vosburg/The Forum

"Going into my senior season, there was just a lot of work behind this," he said. "There's a lot of behind-the-scenes that nobody else has really seen, so I'm glad that all that work just really paid off."

Day 2 of the North Dakota high school state track meet begins Friday with field events beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Class A boys

Friday, May 26

Top eight individuals

Pole vault - finals

1. Bertsch, West Fargo Sheyenne, 14-0; 2. Carlson, Dickinson, 13-9; 3. Nychporuk, Legacy, 13-6; 4. Homiston, Dickinson, 13-6; 5. Wardner, Bismarck, 13-3; 6. Reinke, Minot, 13-3; 7. Meyer, Century, 13-0; 8. Withuski, Wahpeton, 13-0

Shot put - finals

1. Burckhard, Century, 55-9; 2. Schweigert, Century, 54-1; 3. Edland, Century, 42-4.5; 4. Walz, Century, 51-1; 5. Allmer, Jamestown, 50-6; 6. Vliem, Davies, 50-4; 7. Schmit, Century, 49-8.5; 8. Kirkeby, West Fargo Sheyenne, 49-7

Long jump - finals

1. Bjornjolfson, Century 22-9; 2. Schreiner, Davies, 22-1.25; 3. Lacombe, Legacy, 21-7.5; 4. Schroeder, Bismarck 21-5; 5. St. Roman, Williston, 12-4; 6. Felchle, St. Mary’s, 12-3; 7. Schaeffer, Minot, 21-2.25; 8. Schlichting, West Fargo Sheyenne, 21-1.5

3,200 - finals

1. C. Johnson, West Fargo Sheyenne, 9:19.90; 2. A. Johnson, West Fargo Sheyenne, 9:21.04; 3. Korsmo, Bismarck, 9:23.83; 4. Askim, Williston, 9:23.91; 5. House, Century, 9:24.72; 6. McHenry, Red River, 9:25.49; 7. Goss, Devils Lake, 9:28.75; 8. Roehl, Central, 9:31.96

Class A girls

Friday, May 26

Top eight individuals

Long jump - finals

1. Deebom, Davies, 19-1; 2. Barry, Dickinson, 18-4.25; 3. Stein, Century, 17-4; 4. Rader, Century, 17-4; 5. Kretchman, Davies, 17-3.5; 6. Volk, Legacy, 17-2.5; 7. Gill, Bismarck, 17-0; 8. Lindbo, Mandan, 16-10.5

Shot put - finals

1. Nawbe, Jamestown, 49-10; 2. Schnell, West Fargo, 41-8; 3. Schenck, West Fargo Sheyenne, 41-1; 4. Fletcher, Century, 39-11; 5. Woods, Wahpeton, 39-10; 6. Moton, West Fargo, 39-7.5; 7. Selensky, Legacy, 38-2; 8. Stockmoe, Shanley, 37-9

3,200 - finals

1. Lovgren, Willison, 11:08.99; 2. Ogle, Watford City, 11:18.62; 3. Weigel, Bismarck, 11:28.00; 4. Sondag, North, 11:31.84; 5. Elkins, Mandan, 11:40.49; 6. Bernhardt, Shanley, 11:44.17; 7. Berg, Valley City, 11:47.83; 8. Steckler, Davies, 11:48.85

Ryan Spitza joined The Forum in December 2021 as a sports reporter. He grew up in Marquette, Mich., a city of 20,000 on the southern shore of Lake Superior. He majored in multimedia journalism and minored in public relations at Northern Michigan University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in May 2019. While attending college, Spitza gained real-world experience covering high school and college athletics for both The Mining Journal and The North Wind.

Spitza can be reached at 701-451-5613 or rspitza@forumcomm.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryspitza.
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