BISMARCK — Kindred’s latest North Dakota Class B state boys track championship was meant to be.
Destiny? Luck? Talent? All three played a role in the Vikings’ title run Saturday at the state meet.
Like a runner coming from behind down the stretch, Kindred surged late to score 71.5 points and win the title going away. New Town was second with 56 points, followed by Dickinson Trinity (54), Hillsboro-Central Valley (53) and Central Cass (42.5).
The scales tipped toward Kindred in the 200 meters.
“We knew the 200 was a race that would put us in the mix or take us out of the mix,” Kindred head coach Josh Allmaras said. “Kaden Kuntz (of Dickinson Trinity) going down is not the way we wanted to see it go.”
Kindred found the opening it needed in the 200 when top qualifier and defending state champion Kuntz was injured coming around the turn and collapsed onto the track. The Vikings’ Devonte Figueroa raced on to win in 22.85 seconds, leading a contingent of three Vikings onto the award stand.
Gunnar Braaten was third in a time of 23.09 and Dallas Brandt was seventh in 23.21. When the 200 ended, Kindred has closed within 47-46 of Trinity.
“I didn’t come here expecting to win, just to put some points on the board. I didn’t see what happened. When I finished, I was confused because I thought he would be a close second,” Figueroa said. “They said he hurt himself, so I started looking for him to see if he’s all right.”
The Vikings added more points down the stretch, including a third in the 1,600 relay and a second in the 400 relay. Gavin Keller then tied for fifth place in the high jump. Figueroa ran anchor on the winning 800 relay team where he was joined by Brandt, Alex Rossow and Braaten.
“I know it’s a cliché, but it really was a team effort,” Allmaras said.
Kindred’s last state title was 2014. It was third and second in the two previous years. Ironically, the Vikings were third and second, respectively, the past two years.
While Kindred’s team dominated, Edgeley-Kulm’s Isaac Huber was the standout individual.
The senior picked up where he left off Friday by adding the 3,200 and the 800 to his title in the 1,600. Huber said he thought for a time about chasing a state record in the 3,200, but with the 800 still looming he backed off some and finished in 9:27.89.
“I was going to go for a record today but we went off pace and I have the 800 left, so I decided to go for the win and I don’t feel bad about my decision,” Huber said. “It’s all good.”
After winning the 800 in 1:56.13, Huber took some time to look at the crowd.
“I choked up a little bit. My high school career is over. It’s all good now. I’m happy,” he said.
Central Cass’ Braeden Knutson ran away with the 300 hurdles in 39.70.
“In the prelims I didn’t run my fastest time, the weather affected me,” Knutson said. “I wanted to stay ahead of everyone. I knew being in lane six that I wouldn’t be able to see people, so I wanted to get ahead and never turn back.”
Knutson anchored Central Cass’ winning 400 relay, running with Junior Totay, Wes Koetz and Will Ellison.