Dickinson Trinity had to settle for being second best in the Class B boys track and field state meet in 2017.
This year, the Titans were by far the best.
Trinity scored in 10 events at the MDU Resources Community Bowl over the weekend on the way to its first state championship since 2006. The Titans racked up 80 points -- 23 more than second-place Kindred. Hillsboro-Central Valley and New Town tallied 55.5 and 50, respectively. New Town had won the last three state titles.
Most of Trinity's point production came on Saturday, when the Titans scored 74 in nine events. Junior Kaden Kuntz led the way with victories in the 100 (10.99 seconds), 200 (22.36) and long jump (22 feet, 0.75 inches). Trinity's 1,600-meter team, consisting of Ethan Kudrna, Jayden Dolechek, Sean Volesky and Noah Sickler, also captured top honors (3:27.82).
Kuntz said he and his teammates knew from the start of the season that the 2018 Titans were capable of breaking the school's state championship drought.
"We really believed that we had the talent to make it happen. It was our goal to win and we worked really hard," said Kuntz, who also ran a leg on the second-place 800-meter relay team. "We wanted to put Trinity back on top after all these years, and we were able to do that."
Also contributing to Trinity's point total on Saturday were Sickler, second in the 400 and third in the 300-meter hurdles; Aric Knopik, third in the 110-meter hurdles and fourth in the 300 hurdles, and the 400-meter relay team, eighth.
On Friday, Knopik placed third in the high jump.
Trinity had 16 top-eight seeds in the state meet, and 11 of them scored points.
"Seeds and rankings don't mean anything in the state meet. You have to perform," Kuntz said. "But we had a lot of guys seeded in the top eight and most of them scored. We were ready to compete."
Isaac Huber of Edgeley-Kulm added two more state championships to his collection on Saturday after winning the 1,600 on Friday. The junior posted winning times of 9:40.43 in the 3,200 and 1:56.77 in the 800.
Huber breezed in the 3,200 on a blazing afternoon, finishing 12.64 seconds ahead of second-place Jaiven Hale of New Town. He said he tried to conserve some energy down the stretch for the upcoming 800, and it paid off. He trailed Jacob Rodin of Kenmare-Bowbells for most of the 800, but edged the senior at the line after a strong finish.
"I had a comfortable lead (in the 3,200), so I sort of let up a little bit on the final lap," he said. "I was thinking ahead to the 800. I knew I was going to need every ounce of energy I could get. I was behind (Rodin) most of the way, but with about 70 meters to go, I realized that I had a chance to catch him. I just gave it everything I had."
Earlier, Rodin was the first to finish in the 400, posting a winning time of 49.49 seconds.
Des Lacs-Burlington's Josh Knutson, the Class B boys senior athlete of the year, was a double-winner, taking top honors in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles (14.74 and 38.51 seconds, respectively). He edged Watford City's Connor Dennis by 0.04 seconds in the 300 hurdles.
Hillsboro-Central Valley picked up victories in the 400- and 800-meter relays (43.93 seconds and 1:29.39, respectively). Grant Skager, Hunter Hennings, Oscar Benson and Isaac Luithle set a new state record in the 800 relay, breaking the previous mark of 1:29.76, set last year by Des Lacs-Burlington. Skager, Luithle, Hennings and Ezra Longthorne carried the baton in the 400 relay.
Jackson Faller of Watford City saved his best throw for his last high school meet. The senior flung the discus a personal-best 162 feet, 9 inches to earn his first state championship. In the process, he broke Watford City's school record (158-8).
Faller's previous-best throw was a 158-1.
"This is definitely a dream come true," he said. "Awhile back I set a goal to break the school record. I got close a few times this year, but what a great day to finally do it."
Class B boys coach of the year honors went to Scott Grochow of Rugby.