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Top East Region athletes to watch for at state track this week

Action kicks off in Bismarck on Thursday and concludes Saturday

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Davies' Cece Deebom, center, wins the girls Class A 100 meters during the North Dakota state track meet on Saturday, May 29, 2021, in Bismarck. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor
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FARGO — It’s the biggest week of the year for North Dakota high school track and field teams, who will descend on the MDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck to run for glory at the state meet beginning today.

In Class A, Bismarck Century took both boys and girls team titles at last year’s event, with the Patriots boys now claiming the last three state titles. Century impressed again this season, with both its boys and girls teams winning the team titles at the West Region meet for the fourth straight season.

The West Fargo Sheyenne boys and Fargo Davies girls were the victors at last weekend’s East Region meet, with the Mustangs clinching the boys team title for the second year in a row while the Eagles won the girls division for the ninth time in the last 10 seasons.

Team scores, of course, are accumulated by the individuals competing in each event. If you’re a spectator heading to Bismarck this week or will be watching online, here are some of the top contenders from the Class A East Region to keep an eye on:

CLASS A BOYS

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West Fargo Sheyenne's Jackson Kuznia, from right, Ty Schlichting, and West Fargo's Carson Hegerle compete in the boys Class A 100 meters during the North Dakota state track meet on Saturday, May 29, 2021, in Bismarck. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

Carson Hegerle, senior, West Fargo Hegerle will be a threat in both the 100 and 200-meter field. The Packers senior came up just short in the 100 at last season’s state meet, finishing second to Bismarck Legacy’s Calob Larson by 0.17 seconds. He was bested again by Larson in the 200 final. With Larson graduated, these events are there for the taking for Hegerle. He holds the top time in the state in the 100 and third-best time in the 200.

Caeden Johnson, senior, West Fargo Sheyenne — Johnson will be competing in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 this weekend. The Mustangs senior finished seventh in last year’s 800 and was ninth in the 1,600. He last competed in the 3,200 in 2019, finishing 21st as a freshman.

Michael Nhial, senior, West Fargo Sheyenne — Nhial will compete in the high jump final for the first time and may be tough to beat. The Mustangs senior set a new personal best of 6 feet, 8 inches at the Eagle Relays on April 21. Bismarck Century’s Ryan Brynjolfson and Brooks Turner both come in behind Nhial with marks of 6-5.

Ethan Manock, junior, Wahpeton — Manock will compete in two field events this year: the javelin and discus throws. The Huskies junior finished third in last year’s discus final with a throw of 154-5 and set a new personal best this season. In the javelin event, Manock finished fourth last season with a throw of 167-4 and also achieved a new personal best this year.

CLASS A GIRLS

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Fargo Davies' Cece Deebom competes in the long jump at West Fargo Sheyenne on Thursday, April 22, 2021. David Samson / The Forum

Cece Deebom, junior, Fargo Davies — Deebom is competing in four individual events this week and will need to defend three of them, winning the 100 and 200 meters and the 100 hurdle finals a season ago. She set new personal bests in all three events this season and will also look to avenge a second-place finish in last year’s long jump final.

Jasmine Williams, senior, West Fargo — Williams will compete in three individual events this week: the 100, 200 and 400. The Packers senior finished fifth in the 100 last season and runner-up in 2019. She was bested by Deebom in the 200 a year ago and it will be her first time competing in the 400 final.

Kate Laqua, freshman, Fargo Davies — Laqua is competing in the 400, 300 hurdles and 1,600 relay this weekend. Laqua impressed as an eighth-grader in the 400 final last season, racing to a third-place finish with a time of 58.58. She also placed second a year ago in the 300 hurdles and holds the best time in the state this season. With last year’s hurdles champion graduated, the event could be hers for the taking.

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Elle Sondag, senior, Fargo North — Sondag will run the 1,600 and 3,200 distance races. She’s looking to improve on a ninth-place finish in last year’s 1,600, holding the second-best time in the state this season. She came home seventh place in last season’s 3,200 final and holds a state-leading personal best of 11:14.09 this year.

Axumite James, freshman, Fargo South — James will compete in the high jump and triple jump events this weekend. She set a new personal best at last week’s East Region meet with a height of 5 feet, 2 inches, good for the third-best height in the state. James will compete in the triple jump for the first time, bringing with her a personal best of 35-6 1/2, also set at last week’s regional meet.

Scout Woods, freshman, Wahpeton — Woods will compete in the shot put and discus events this weekend. She finished ninth as an eighth-grader in the shot put one year ago with a distance of 37-3. She now holds the third-best distance in the state this season with a personal best of 40-10 set at the Packer Relays. Woods finished fourth a season ago in the discus final with a throw of 121-7.

The state track meet kicks off Thursday at the MDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck. For more information, including heat and performance lists, visit the official state track meet website at activities.bismarckschools.org/2022/statesite/state22.htm.

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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