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Mandan's Leingang opens season with javelin record
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Mandan's Leingang opens season with javelin record

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Bismarck's Lindey Gullickson prepares to throw the shot during the BPS Girls Invite on Friday at the Bowl.

 Mandan senior Taylor Leingang raised the bar at the Bismarck Public Schools Girls Invitational track meet April 9, and she's neither a high jumper nor pole vaulter.

 Leingang, fourth in the state as a javelin thrower as a sophomore, exceeded all her season goals in her first throw of the season at Bismarck State College.

 She lofted the spear 139 feet in her first preliminary attempt. Thus she achieved her primary goal of qualifying for the state meet and her secondary goal of breaking the Mandan school record of 131 feet. On her toss in the prelims she fired the javelin 144-1 to eclipse the 17-year-old meet record by four feet and an inch.

 Her previous best was 127-9 as a sophomore. Her junior year, like so many other things, was wiped out due to coronavirus considerations.

 Leingang was the only record-setter on a cool, blustery day at the Bowl. Winds gusted to more than 40 mph and temperatures peaked in the upper 50s. Leingang wasn't complaining, though.

 "There was a pretty heavy tailwind (for javelin throwers)," she observed. "Right away I was a little worried, because when it's cold and windy your muscles tighten up.

 "But the sun came out and it was nice. Some days the wind is in your favor, and this was one of those days for me."

 Having not thrown in competition for almost two years, Leingang began the day wondering what might be in the offing.

 "I went in not knowing what the day was going to hold. ... In that (first throw) I qualified for the state meet and I thought 'let's just see where this is going to go,'" she said. "I surprised myself a little bit with it."

 Leingang said when she was younger she was trying to decide whether to compete in track or play third base on the softball team. Her mother, Twila, helped tip the scales in favor of track. 

 Her mother, then known as Twila Wolf, was a two-time state javelin champion for Bismarck High School in 1986 and 1987.

 Leingang also took a turn in the shot put and relays on Friday. She anchored the Braves' fifth-place 400 relay team and placed eighth in the shot put.

 "I started the shot put this year. ... I was six inches away from qualifying (in the shot put) today. I was hoping today would be the day," she said. 

 Junior Hope Stein and freshman Eden Fridley of Century were the meet's only double winners. Stein took first in the final two events of the day before a nearly empty stadium. She won the triple jump by more than two feet with a leap of 36-11 and cleared 5-1 in the high jump. Both efforts met state meet qualifying standards. She added a fourth-place finish in the 100 hurdles to her day's performance.

 Fridley leaped 17-2 to win the long jump and ran a 26.17 for first place in the 200. In addition, she anchored the winning 400 relay team and claimed third in the 100.

 Century also got firsts from reigning state champion Erin Palmer in the 800, Emily Goldade in the 300 hurdles and the 1,600 relay team.

 The other 11 first-place awards were split among seven teams.

 Legacy's Paige Davis won the pole vault and the Saber 800 relay came home first.

 Winning for the BHS Demons were Lindey Gullickson in the shot put and Jilee Golus in the 1,600.

Watford City's Hayley Ogle and Annie Dennis won successive events, Ogle in the 400 and Dennis in the 100 hurdles.

 Williston's distance runners won twice. Eleni Lovgren won the 3,200 and the Coyotes prevailed in the 3,200 relay.

 Leingang, Minot's MaLiah Burke and Kiera Oukrop of St. Mary's claimed the other first-place finishes. Burke won the 100 and Oukrop placed first in the discus.

 Golus, a senior, won the 1,600 with an amazing surge to edge Legacy's Jadyn Guidinger at the finish line. Her burst in the last 80 meters wiped out Guidinger's 15-meter lead.

 "I usually have quite a bit of a kick at the end. I use it a lot to shoot for a qualifying time. ... I like to stay close in the pack at the beginning. I know if I can keep it close that kick is there," said Golus, who was one of four qualifiers in the race.

 "I usually make my move in the last 200 meters. I believe in myself and when everyone around me is cheering me on I can go for it," Golus added.

 By logging eight first-place finishes, Century pulled away from the pack to win the meet by 62 points. The Patriots tallied 178.2 points. Runner-up Bismarck scored 116.2 points. Mandan prevailed in a tightly knotted battle for third with 87 points. Minot and Legacy followed with 85.2 and 84.2, respectively.

 Century claimed three firsts in the jumps, two in the relays two in open running events and one in the hurdles. 

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