Blue Jays crack into top-three, 'compete hard' at State meet

·14 min read

May 29—As Bernadette Belzer and Julia Skari were lining up in the blocks for the 300 meter hurdle finals at the 2022 State Track and Field Meet, Skari, a freshman for the Jamestown High School track and field team, turned to Belzer and gave one last piece of advice.

"Julia told me before the race 'make sure you lean,' and I LEANED," Belzer said with a laugh. "When I crossed the finish line, I just felt pure adrenaline and I didn't know what place I got, I just knew that I beat one person and got that podium."

Belzer wound up beating five people and her fourth-place finish, combined with Skari's third-place performance earned the Jays 11 of the team's 76 points. The Blue Jays wound up placing third out of the 20 Class A teams competing.

The Jays' boys team pulled together to produce 12 points to finish 15th.

Bismarck Century repeated as the Class A boys champs winning its sixth title in seven years while Fargo Davies' girls team pulled the upset off on Century to clinch its first state team title since 2019.

"We had eight girls total qualify to State and we end up third — it just speaks to the quality of our athletes that we have on the Jamestown track team right now," JHS co-head track and field coach Mike Dietz said.

The storybook ending began on Thursday when Blue Jay senior Annie Nabwe set a new personal, school, state and all-time record in the shot put, launching her shot 49 feet, 10 inches. The University of Minnesota track and field commit also took home titles in the discus and javelin.

Nabwe's final race of her final high school contest came on Saturday in the 100-meter dash.

Nabwe was competing right alongside her younger sister Yolanda, and both were a little jittery prior to the gun signaling the start of the race.

"I was shaking, I was like what if I false start?" Yolanda said. "It was like five seconds until the gun went off — I was so nervous.

"I didn't really have a plan — just in my head I was thinking okay, top-five and beat at least four people and we'll be good."

As soon as the gun sounded, the Nabwe sisters lept forward and cruised out to a hot start. Defending state champ, Cece Deebom held back the opening 30 meters, allowing the pair of sisters to pull ahead a bit, but the lead didn't last long as Deebom put on the jets for the last 50 to claim her second-straight state title, finishing the race in 12.15 seconds.

West Fargo's Jasmine Williams wound up taking second while Nabwe ended up third — beating out her sister one last time by a 0.02-second margin. Nabwe crossed the line at 12.53 seconds

"Obviously, Annie sets the tone for how she swept the throws and how she performed in the 100 but it's all the other girls too who stepped up and performed," Dietz said of why the Jays were successful through three days of competition

"They help each other out, they cheer each other on — they understand the team part even though it's an individual sport. We have girls who are competitive and great teammates at the same time. That's important."

While Nabwe's meet was complete by the time she finished with the 100, Yolanda's nerves were still busting as the junior had two more events to go — the 100 hurdles and the 4x100 meter relay.

After a touch-and-go qualifying round in the 100 hurdle prelims on Friday, Yolonda said she was very nervous heading into the finals.

Nervousness must agree with her.

The junior kept completely in control the entire straightaway, only losing out to Deebom on the last couple of hurdles. Yolanda finished in second place with a time of 15.11, 0.78 seconds behind Deebom.

"When we were halfway done, I was like, oh my gosh, there's more — there were so many hurdles — it was so long," Yolanda said. "I was terrified but when I crossed the finish line I was like, oh my gosh, I hope I didn't get third."

After wrapping up a successful individual day, Yolanda's attention turned to the 4x100 — a race she said she was in fact — not nervous about in the slightest.

"I feel like we're sitting in a pretty good position and even though our handoffs have been a little shakey, I feel really good about it," Yolanda said. "Our team is just awesome."

When the time came to show the rest of the state what they had in the 4x100 — the Blue Jays answered, sprinting their way to a third-place finish and racking up six more points for the Blue Jays.

"We literally just said we need to have fun because this is our last time doing this," Hunter Petersen, the Jays' No. 2 runner said.

Petersen is set to graduate Sunday but the Blue Jay senior had one more thing on her to-do list before she walks across the stage at the Jamestown Civic Center.

Petersen PR'd big time in the triple jump, with a jump that spanned 35 feet, 8 inches — placing her fourth. The senior was just 0.25 inches away from tying Cayla Sailer's third-place jump.

"That is what pushed us over the edge," Dietz said. "We needed a big-time jump like that from Hunter."

Petersen found herself on the podium three times over the weekend. On Friday, Petersen pulled out a 5 foot, 1 inch performance in the high jump contest.

"I thought it was great because I jumped 5-01 on the first attempt and I've only jumped 5-01 one once this year and that was on the third attempt," Petersen said. "I was really happy about it."

What Dietz was happy about was the Jays' 4x400 meter relay team.

"That's my favorite relay and it was our best time of the year," Dietz said. "We ran really good, they just ran better and that's how it goes sometimes so I am thrilled with how our girls did."

The Blue Jays finished in seventh place, running a team PR of 4:13.30. Fargo Davies won the event, with their last runner crossing the line at 4:02.85.

"I think everyone can agree it's a love-hate relationship," Belzer, the anchor for the team, said. "But it's easier to love (the 4x400) when you have great teammates and you know that you can perform well — so I guess that's the only love aspect of it — the actual running part is the hate aspect.

"It was the last race of the year and we just had to give it our all because it was the last race on the last day of the last event so we just left everything out there," Belzer said. "We finished it out on a high note."

All four members of the 4x400 will be back for the Jays next season.

While the Blue Jay girls saw the most of the podium, the five Blue Jay boy state qualifiers also did their school justice.

Thomas Allmer added a trophy to his case, placing fourth in the discus, with a throw that cleared 157 feet, 6 inches of ground. Thomas Allmer put a new record on the books, setting a personal best of 50 feet, 6 inches in shot put, placing him fifth.

Preston Kroeber took sixth in the 300 hurdles, with a time of 40.69 seconds.

"We are not the biggest school there," Deitz said. "We know that we have to compete to the best of our ability. Preston personifies that mentality.

"I am really proud of all of our kids in our program. The mental toughness that these kids have developed over the years is going to serve them well whether it is in another sport or just later in life. Those are the lessons that sports teach you and I am really proud of how well our kids competed this year."

2022 State Track and Field Meet

Final team scores

Class A

Girls

1. Fargo Davies 137; 2. Bismarck Century 105; 3. Jamestown 76; 4. West Fargo 71; 5. Mandan 52; T6. Fargo North and Bismarck 38; 8. Dickinson 34; 9. Grand Forks Red River 33; 10. Minot 28; 11. Bismarck Legacy 24; 12. West Fargo Sheyenne 23; 13. Williston 22; 14. Fargo Shanley 14; 15. St. Mary's 13; 16. Watford City 11; 17. Wahpeton 8; T18. Devils Lake and Valley City 5; 20. Fargo South 4

Boys

1. Bismarck Century 118; 2. Bismarck 85; 3. West Fargo Sheyenne 75.5; T4. Fargo Davies and West Fargo 58; 6. Grand Forks Central 52; 7. Williston 46; 8. Grand Forks Red River 44; 9. Bismarck Legacy 41; 10. Fargo South 38; 11. Dickinson 25; 12. Mandan 23; 13. Wahpeton 19; 14. Minot 16; 15. Jamestown 12; T16. Devils Lake and St. Mary's 7; 18. Fargo Shanley 6; 19. Watford City 4; 20. Valley City 3.5; 21. Fargo North 3

Top-8 finishers

Girls

300 hurdles: 1. Kate Laqua, FD, 44.68; 2. Jazmin Barry, DHS, 45.33; 3. Julia Skari, JHS, 45.41; 4. Bernadette Belzer, JHS, 46.91; 5. Morgan Sheldon, MAN, 47.07; 6. Aspen Eslinger, LEG, 47.07; 7. Anna Rader, BC, 47.16; 8. Jane Donat, FD, 47.19.

100: 1. Cece Deebom, FD, 12.15; 2. Jasmine Williams, WF, 12.41; 3. Annie Nabwe, JHS, 12.53; 4. Yolanda Nabwe, JHS, 12.55; 5. Michelle Gee, WF, 6, Faith Brown, MIN, 12.64; 7. Kia Ray, WFS, 12.76; 8. MaLiah Burke, MIN, 12.76.

4x200: 1. Davies 1:43.52; 2. Century 1:43.95; 3. Minot 1:44.51; 4. Shanley 1:46.32; 5. WF Sheyenne 1:46.46; 6. Bismarck 1:46.47; 7. West Fargo 1:47.00; 8. Legacy 1:47.37.

Pole vault: 1. Emma Briggs, WFS, 11-00; 2. Emily Ash, DHS, 10:09; 3. Jolee Dahl, WF, 10-09; 4. Onya Kretchman, FD, 10-06; 5. Madison Berger, LEG, 10:03; 6. Brynlie Thueson, BC, 10-03; 7. Rachel Dunlop, BC, 10-03; 8. Kaitlyn Barbarick, WIL, 9-09.

400: 1. Erin Palmer, BC, 54.91; 2. Jasmine Williams, WF, 56.77; 3. Katie Laqua, FD, 56.95; 4. Jazmin Barry, DHS, 59.16; 5. Mesiku Hakim, SHAN, 59.71; 6. Emily Mattern, MIN, 59.86; 7. Autumn Ketterling, BC, 1:00.17; 8. Mariah Burian, FD, 1:01.29.

100 hurdles: 1. Cece Deebom, FD, 14.33; 2. Y. Nabwe, JHS, 15.11; 3. Morgan Sheldon, MAN, 15.30; 4. Anna Rader, BC, 15.49; 5. Sam Gustafson, WF, 16.06; 6. Linnea Axtman, FD, 16.09; 7. Hope Stein, BC, 16.25; 8. Sanie Gayflor, FD, 16.30.

200: 1. Cece Deebom, FD, 24.41; 2. Jasmine Williams, WF, 24.95; 3. Erin Palmer, BC, 25.12; 4. Jazmin Barry, DHS, 25.16; 5. Michelle Gee, WF, 25.75; 6. Kate Laqua, FD, 25.85; 7. Eden Fridley, BC, 25.95; 8. Faith Brown, MIN, 26.23.

800; 1. Erin Palmer, BC, 2:15.87; 2. Acey Elkins, MAN, 2:17.26; 3. Jocelyn Schiller, RR, 2:18.35; 4. Hailey Bjerke, FD, 2:18.82; 5. Anna Lien, FN, 2:19.65; 6. Greta Goven, VC, 2:20.68; 7. Lauren Dosch, RR, 2:21.12; 8. Eva Selensky, SM, 2:21.29.

4x100: 1. West Fargo, 48.96; 2. Minot 49.05; 3. Jamestown 49.35; 4. Davies 49.88; 5. Bismarck 50.54; 6. Mandan 50.71; 7. Century 50.81; 8. WF Sheyenne 50.93.

4x400: 1. Davies 4:02.85; 2. Fargo North 4:03.55; 3. Century 4:05.37; 4. Devils Lake 4:11.27; 5. Mandan 4:11.36; 6. Red River 4:11.40; 7. Jamestown 4:13.30; 8. Shanley 4:14.11.

Triple jump: 1. Hope Stein, BC, 37-00.50; 2. Onya Kretchman, FD, 36-07; 3. Cayla Sailer, FD, 35-08.25; 4. Hunter Petersen, JHS, 35-08; 5. Axumite (Wren) James, FS, 35-02.50; 6. Breena Sand, LEG, 35-01; 7. Haley Conklin, MIN, 34-07.50; 8. Gracyn Brennan, BC, 34-07.

Boys

Javelin: 1. Ethan Manock, WAH, 180-01; 2. Logan Arason, RR, 179-03; 3. Eli Hayes, FD, 175-10; 4. Hunter Odden, WF, 172-08; 5. Preston Lemar, BHS, 167-05; 6. Aaron Grubb, MAN, 161-05; 7. Brenden Palmer, MAN, 157-02; 8. Ethan Stotz, BHS, 155-04.

Triple jump: 1. Golden Deebom, FD, 45-04.50; 2. Anthony Brown, MIN, 44-00; 3. Ty Allen, BHS, 43-10; 4. Michael Nihal, WFS, 43-09.75; 5. Dylan Beyl, WFS, 42-11.75; 6. Simon Haug, RR, 42-10.50; 7. Brett Lacombe, LEG, 42-10.50; 8. Grayson Schaeffer, MIN, 42-10.25.

300 hurdles: 1. Carter Elde, GFC, 38.94; 2. Lukas Heydt, RR, 39.57; 3. Drew Henriksen, BHS, 39.82; 4. Aiden Bryce Volk, DL, 40.14; 5. Jeran McNichols, BHS, 40.24; 6. Preston Kroeber, JHS, 40.69; 7. Josh Beil, FD, 40.88; 8. Isaac Birnbaum, WFS, 41.00.

100: 1. Carson Hegerle, WF, 10.91; 2. Dawson Hawkinson, BHS, 11.11; 3. John Gores, SHAN, 11.17; 4. Oscar White, WFS, 11.21; 5. Quentin Lewis, DHS, 11.22; 6. Nathan Mathern, LEG, 11.24; 7. Jackson Greff, FD, 11.29; 8. Talen Farland, LEG, 11.35.

4x200: 1. Fargo South 1:28.09; 2. West Fargo 1:28.42; 3. WF Sheyenne 1:29.69; 4. Davies 1:29.79; 5. Bismarck 1:29.80; 6. Williston 1:30.92; 7. Watford City 1:31.17; 8. Red River 1:31.37.

400: 1. Austin Zulu, FS, 49.00; 2. Carter Elde, GFC, 41.11; 3. Jordan Edwards, FD, 49.31; 4. Justin Zulu, FS, 49.62; 5. Dawson Hawkinson, BHS, 49.70; 6. Isaac Felchle, SM, 50.03; 7. Parker Nelson, WF, 50.49; 8. Joseph Eberle, SM, 50.67.

High jump: 1. Ryan Brynjolfson, BC, 6-04; 2. Will Mickelson, MAN, 6-03; 3. Angel Lopez, GFC, 6-03; 4. Hudsen Sheldon, MAN, 6-02; 5. Jean Irumva, WF, 6-00; 6. Aiden Jacobson, VC, 6-00; 7. Cedric Taylor, WF, 6-00; 8. Michael Nhial, WFS, 6-00.

110: 1. Carter Eldee, GFC, 14.65; 2. Ryan Brynjolfson, BC, 14.81; 3. Brooks Turner, BC, 15.00; 4. Dominick Giggee, MAN, 15.23; 5. Steven Edwards, WF, 15.37; 6. Trey Knoke, FN, 15.41; 7. Lukas Heydt, RR, 15.42; 8. Nate Anderson, BC, 15.61.

200: 1. Carson Hegerle, WF, 21.61; 2. Quentin Lewis, DHS, 22.16; 3. Drew Kelsch, BC, 22.34; 4. Oscar White, WFS, 22.35; 5. Nathan Mathern, LEG, 22.39; 6. Justin Zulu, FS, 22.51; 7. Wyatt Mutzenberger, GFC, 22.64; 8. Talen Farland, LEG, 22.64.

800: 1. Ethan Moe, WIL, 1:54.09; 2. Chance Bowlinger, BC, 1:54.53; 3. Quinn Roehl, GFC, 1:54.70; 4. Brady Korsmo, BHS, 1:55.02; 5. Caeden Johnson, WFS, 1:55.09; 6. Regan Bosch, FD, 1:55.67; 7. Drew Rempher, FD, 1:55.73; 8. Jonah Dafoe, RR, 1:55.83.

4x100: 1. Legacy 42.34; 2. Bismarck 42.73; 3. West Fargo 42.90; 4. Century 42.94; 5. WF Sheyenne 43.04; 6. Davies 43.51; 7. Watford City 43.70; 8. Red River 44.08.

4x400: 1. Fargo South 3:19.12; 2. Century 3:21.72; 3. Williston 3:24.78; 4. Grand Forks Central 3:25.82; 5. Bismarck 3:26.57; 6. Davies 3:27.08; 7. Legacy 3:27.23; 8. WF Sheyenne 3:28.34.

NDHSCA Class A Girls Track and Field Senior Athlete of the Year

Erin Palmer, Bismarck Century

NDHSCA Class A Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year

Rory Beil, Fargo Davies

NDHSCA Class A Boys Track and Field Senior Athlete of the Year

Dawson Hawkinson, Bismarck High

NDHSCA Class A Boys Track and Field Coach of the Year

Jordan Aus, West Fargo Sheyenne