West Fargo boasts bounty of state titles
Team trophies may have been out of reach for West Fargo track and field, but individuals managed to make some noise during the North Dakota Class A State Tournament last weekend in Bismarck.
In total, the Packers brought home five titles, including four individual efforts and one team relay. Coach Darin McKinnon was honored with a State Boys Coach of the Year honor, as well.
The team winner for the boys was Bismarck with 220 points. Bismarck Century earned the girls title with 129 points.
The West Fargo boys team finished with 83 total points, good enough for fifth place overall. It was a slight decrease from last year when they finished in third place with 90 points. The West Fargo girls team improved from last year's eighth-place finish, however, after accumulating more than 78 points for fourth.
Spurring the Packers along were strong showings by several athletes.
Jaime Heinen struck gold not once, but twice, in the two-day stretch. On Friday, the junior finished first in the long jump with a leap of just over 23 feet. A day later, Heinen also took the title in the triple jump, clearing 43 feet, 11.5 inches to best second place by more than nine inches.
The remainder of West Fargo's titles were gleaned by the girls team.
Alissa Mears squeaked ahead in the 800 meters to take the championship with a time of 2 minutes, 18.94 seconds - a half second faster than the runner-up position. Mears also was named North Dakota Class A Senior Athlete of the Year, a merit that mirrored the same distinction from a week before at the conference meet.
Christina Bruenjes successfully defended her triple jump title by landing a 37 foot, 6-inch leap. The effort was two inches shorter than last year's winning jump, but still nearly 10 inches further than second-place Kara Schott of Fargo South.
On Friday, the West Fargo 3,200-meter relay team consisting of Brooke Grooters, Christine Baltezore, Keana Karnopp and Mears pushed to a 9:35.43 first-place finish, beating out second-place Bismarck by more than three seconds.
Another top competitor was Amanda Levin, who placed second in the 100-, 200- and 400-meters behind defending state champ Morgan Milbrath of Minot. She also ran a leg with the second-place 800-meter relay team, alongside Bryce Langerud, Courtney Suppa and Mears.
For the second year a row, West Fargo's Shane Siverson was runner-up in the 100 meters despite running it more than a half second faster than in 2011. Fargo North's DeSean Thompson just edged the senior's time of 11.05 seconds. Packers Chaz Gunderson and Alex Spacek also finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the event.
Siverson was fourth in the 200-meters, as well, and ran the anchor leg with the 400-meter relay team. He and Alex Spacek, Chaz Gunderson and Heinen finished in 43.33 seconds for second place, just behind Bismarck's effort of 42.92-seconds.
Jordan Bishoff took second place in the high jump after clearing 6 feet, 4 inches. Heinen was four inches short of that to take sixth.
On the field side, West Fargo's Caleb Mattila hit 185-feet even for third place in the javelin.
Kaley Stotz did well in the pole vault for the Packers, too, reaching an even 10 feet for sixth place overall.