After finally making her way into the state's top-10 at the end of the year, West Fargo's Hope Pringle proved worthy of her ranking at the season's biggest race.
Pringle, the No. 9 runner in Class A, earned All-State honors for the second straight year with a ninth-place run of 18:58.79 at the Class A Girls State Tournament Saturday, Oct. 27, in Jamestown.
Saturday was a strong cap to what was arguably an underappreciated season for the Packer junior, who despite strong finishes in multiple marquee events, failed to crack the top-10 rankings until the final poll of the year. It also marked a considerable improvement from last year's state race, where she took 20th in 19:47.29.
"I expected it to be fast..and it was what I expected it to be," Pringle said of the 2018 field. "The pace was definitely pushing me."
Packer Coach Brad Amundson knew Pringle would have to take an aggressive approach to be competitive, and praised her for sticking to the pre-race plan.
"We had discussed a race strategy and for the most part she kept to it," Amundson said. "The main thing is she never gave up and fought her way back from the mid-teens."
Joining Pringle at the medalist podium was West Fargo Sheyenne's Onnica Stansbury, who took 14th in 19:18.31.
Stansbury, who finished 31st at state in 2017, took All-State honors despite being less than 100 percent, as a bout of tendonitis in her foot cut significantly into her practice time.
"It's been really hard because I haven't been able to train with my team as much as I wanted to," said Stansbury, who spent most of that practice time on the stationary bike. "But I had to take it easy and prepare for state and take care of myself. I gave it my all and I ended the season really well. I'm really proud of myself."
Mustang Coach Troy Thorson says Stansbury's training habits have been impressive all season, and were a big reason for the jump she made during her sophomore season.
"I think there was a point this season where she made the choice to be committed and to put in some work and I think that's paid off for her," he said. "She's really come into her own this season."
On the team front, the Packers finished seventh while the Mustangs came in 13th.
West Fargo, which climbed as high as No. 2 in the Class A rankings this season, was dealt a major blow leading into state, when a stress fracture ended the season of Emily Hansen, one of its top runners.
Other Packer scorers were Kaelyn Berg (36th, 20:24.42), Clare Boldingh (45th, 20:32.29), Tess Oduor (67th, 21:07.33) and Lindsey Anderson (70th, 21:09.84).
For Sheyenne, Eden Smith was 38th in 20:25.17, Katrina Dietz 58th in 20:53.46, Olivia Heilman 80th in 21:20.49 and Mya Bruhschwein 106th in 21:55.27.
Fargo Davies finished with 66 points to easily win its third-consecutive team title. Grand Forks Central was a distant second with 118.
Medalist honors went to Meghan Ford of Jamestown, who ran a 17:56.82.