A couple of days ago we bid farewell to 2017 -- a very good year for many area Class B athletes and teams.
Here are some of the highlights.
Lisbon won the Class B individual state tournament, while Hettinger-Scranton claimed the dual state tournament with a thrilling 31-30 victory over the Broncos. The dual was decided in the 14th and final match. At 106 pounds, seventh-grader Conner Andress edged Caleb Nielsen 4-3 to give the Night Hawks the victory.
Two Hettinger-Scranton wrestlers won individual championships – Kyle Burwick at 120 and Cale Schalesky at 132. It was Burwick’s third state title and Schalesky’s second. Both wrestlers are juniors this season and are off to impressive starts. Burwick captured top honors in the 120-pound weight class at the Rumble on the Red last week.
New Salem-Almont also had two state champions – Clay Gerhardt at 106 and Chauncey Dittus at 126.
Garrett Jangula of Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter claimed the 138-pound title, and Jeremy Leintz of Beulah-Hazen made his final high school match a memorable one, defeating Coy Awender of Oakes 2-1 in the 113-pound final. Leintz finished with a school-record 200 victories.
Grant County ended Shiloh Christian’s string of three consecutive state tournament appearances with a 49-34 victory over the Skyhawks in the Region 5 championship game. Taylor Roehl capped off an outstanding region tournament with a game-high 28 points. She totaled 66 points in three tournament games.
The Coyotes went on to place fourth in the state tournament. They defeated No. 3-seeded Park River-Fordville-Lankin 43-39 in the quarterfinals. Roehl was named to the all-state second team.
Glen Ullin-Hebron qualified for the state tournament for the first time as a co-op, winning the Region 7 championship.
Watford City, led by first-team all-state selection Mackenzie Sparby, captured the Region 8 crown. Watford City and Glen Ullin-Hebron placed sixth and eighth, respectively, in the state tournament.
Kindred won its first girls basketball state championship, defeating top-seeded North Star 49-42. The Vikings finished 26-0.
Two of the biggest surprises I’ve seen in Region 5 tournament play took place in March. Solen and Shiloh Christian were expected by many to play for the Region 5 championship, but both teams were derailed in the semifinals.
Solen was beaten by Turtle Lake-Mercer-McClusky 48-43, while Shiloh fell to Washburn 55-53. Washburn’s Koby Hansen scored the go-ahead points with 13 seconds remaining to end Shiloh’s streak of two straight region championships.
In the championship game, TLMM led by 20 points early in the fourth quarter, but Washburn rallied to take a 48-47 lead with 12 seconds remaining. However, TLMM’s Trey Klain netted three of four free-throw attempts in the final 2.6 seconds to send the Trojans to the state tournament, where they finished eighth.
In a thrilling state championship game, Kyle Henningsgard sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from the right baseline to give Hillsboro-Central Valley a 63-60 victory over defending champion Four Winds-Minnewaukan.
Shiloh qualified for the state tournament for the first time since 2010. The Skyhawks defeated Beulah in the second Region 8 championship game and went on to place sixth in the final eight.
Park River-Fordville-Lankin won the state championship.
Mikey Morris of Beulah, Jeremy Leintz of Hazen and Karson Backer of Washburn-Wilton-Center-Stanton were named to the all-state team.
Watford City took third, Heart River fifth, and Wilton-Wing sixth in the state tournament. Kindred-Richland claimed the state title.
The all-state first team included Karlee Arnold and McKenna Weisenburger of Wilton-Wing, Kamryn Grimes and Mikka Haugeberg of Watford City, and Abby Kessel of Heart River.
Track and field
Hazen won its third consecutive state title, scoring 78 points and finishing 16 tallies ahead of second-place Hillsboro-Central Valley. Grace Zimmerman captured individual titles in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and added a second-place finish in the 400. Hazen’s 400-, 800- and 1,600-meter relay teams also finished first.
Kari Wolfe of Harvey-Wells County set a new Class B state record in the javelin with a throw of 144 feet, 2 inches.
Taylor Roehl of Grant County-Flasher started competing in the triple jump in 2017, and wound up winning a state championship.
The New Town boys won for the third straight year, scoring 85 points in only four events. The Eagles finished first in all four – 800 (Ryan Wheeling), 1,600 (Wheeling), 3,200 (Jalen Chase), and the 3,200-meter relay. Chase set a new Class B record in the 3,200 with a time of 9:23.31.
Des Lacs-Burlington turned in a state record time of 1:29.76 in the 800-meter relay.
Brady Wegh of Mott-Regent was the first to finish in the 110-meter hurdles (15.50 seconds)
Emily St. Aubin of South Border captured Class B medalist honors for the second consecutive year, finishing with a two-day total of 155. She shot a 75 on the final day at Bismarck’s Tom O’Leary Golf Course.
Fargo Oak Grove, however, bested defending state champion South Border, 722-734, for the title.
In the boys tournament, Tioga – led by medalist Mitchell Fifer -- topped Heart River 650-663 in the team race.
Shiloh Christian and New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin provided local fans with two of the most exciting 9-man football games of the season.
In the regular-season finale, New Salem-AGU outlasted the Skyhawks 36-34 to win the Region 5 championship. Braden Zuroff scored three touchdowns on plays covering 237 yards, and quarterback Evan Henke passed for 222 yards and rushed for another 106.
The two teams met again in the playoff semifinals, and this time, Shiloh prevailed 35-30. On what would be their last possession of the game, the Holsteins drove 70-plus yards to the Shiloh 10-yard line, but Skyhawks linebacker Canaan Fagerland intercepted Henke in the end zone with under a minute remaining to end the threat.
Fagerland also excelled on offense, carrying 48 times for 297 yards and five touchdowns.
The Skyhawks went on to lose to Wyndmere-Lidgerwood 60-26 in Shiloh’s second Dakota Bowl appearance.
St. Mary’s isn’t Class B, but I do cover the Class AA beat and the Saints won their second consecutive title with a 31-12 victory over Fargo Shanley. Shanley defeated the Saints 17-14 during the regular season, but St. Mary’s was dominant in the title game.
Quarterback Cole Gendreau closed out an outstanding high school career throwing for 1,573 yards and rushing for 425 in his senior season.
The Class AA all-state first team included QB Cole Gendreau, wide receiver Luke Kambeitz, defensive lineman Joseph Richter, linebacker Mason Sipes, and defensive backs John Nordberg and Dylan Gross of St. Mary’s, and defensive linemen Jaydn Ewing and Jackson Faller, and linebacker Jarek Hogue of Watford City.
Running back Mikey Morris and defensive lineman Dillon Schramm were among the Class A first-team all-state picks. The 9-man first team included RB Canaan Fagerland, OL Austin Hartman and DL Bartholomew Ogbu of Shiloh Christian; QB Evan Henke of New Salem-Almont-Glen Ullin; QB Jamison Fettig and RB Nathan Weigel of Napoleon-Gackle-Streeter; LB Josh Wallace of Mott-Regent-New England, and DL Lance Weiser of Linton-Hazelton-Moffit-Braddock.
The New Town Boys and the Hillsboro-Central Valley girls continued their dominance of North Dakota Class B cross country. New Town extended its string of state championships to six, while Hillsboro-CV claimed its seventh consecutive title. The Watford City girls took second behind the efforts of sisters Kayla, Hayley and Jaelyn Ogle, who finished second, seventh and eighth, respectively.
New Town’s Jaiven Hale took top individual honors in boys, while Hillsboro-CV’s Reagan Baesler was the first to finish in the girls race for the second straight year.
LaMoure-Litchville-Marion, led by veterans Anna Holen and Jackie Meiklejohn, rolled to its third consecutive state championship.
Shiloh Christian advanced to the state tournament for the second time in program history, outlasting Center-Stanton 3-2 in the Region 5 championship match. The Skyhawks finished eighth.
Watford City earned its first state tournament berth since 2003 by winning the Region 8 title. The Wolves finished sixth.
First-team all-state selections included Abby Hintz of Center-Stanton, Raquel Doll of Hazen, Mikka Haugeberg of Watford City, and Taylor Sabinash of Medina-Pingree-Buchanan.