Leaping To New Heights

Wildfire places five athletes at state track meet

The Mott-Regent Wildfire had a big presence at the 2017 North Dakota State Track Meet. The team took 10 athletes in grades ninth through 12th to the MDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck on May 26 and 27.

(L to R) Cody Perkins, Brady Wegh, and Hunter Crist compete in the 110 meter hurdle preliminary race. (Herald Photo by Cole Benz)

Led by senior Brady Wegh, the Wildfire boys placed eighth overall as a team with 30 points in the Class B boys division of the competition.

Weigh qualified in eight events throughout the season, but tournament rules only allow an athlete to compete in four. His top performance was in the 110 meter hurdles, where he took first place in the final race of his career. He won by a small margin, taking the top spot by just .05 seconds. In a bit of irony, he lost out on a first-place finish last year to the person he beat out this year, Joshua Knutson of Des Lacs Burlington/Lewis and Clark, by just .02 seconds. Wegh told the Herald that the difference in the race was that Knutson got a little high on one of the hurdles, allowing Wegh to take the lead, that he never gave up.

“[Knutson] is a good guy, fun to race,” he said.

Wegh also placed in the other three events he participated in too, including the long jump (four points), the triple jump (six points), and the 300 meter hurdles (three points).

“It was great being able to place in all my events,” he said. “Last of the year, I won it, so I’m pretty happy to go out with a bang.”

Wegh was quick to recognize his teammates though, and specifically mentioned the other two Wildfire runners he ran with in the 110 meter hurdle finals, Cody Perkins and Hunter Crist. He called it an incredible experience to run with two other teammates in the final race after the trio placed 1-2-3 in the event at the regional meet in Beach the weekend before.

“I think that really boosted our confidence,” he said. “Going in with three out of the nine, from Mott, is pretty unreasonable if you think about it.”

Perkins also told the Herald that it felt good to place in the event, especially qualifying so late in the season in Beach at the last meet of the season. He said he just kept working at the event al year and cut time before he finally qualified.

“Our coaches really just kicked our butts to get us [to qualify],” Perkins said.

Wegh was in constant contact with his other members of the Mott-Regent team throughout the meet.

“We’ve got a good group of kids this year,” he said after his final race. “We had fun.”

Wegh will run the 110 hurdles and participate in the triple jump next year at DSU, along with playing wide receiver for the football team.

Leading the girls team, who placed 29th with seven points, was senior Ellie Messmer. Messmer qualified in the long jump, triple jump, and the javelin. Messmer placed third overall in the javelin event with a throwing distance of 127-feet, 3-inches. Third placed earned her team six points.

Getting that final point was first-time state qualifier, and freshman, Morgan Hertz.

Hertz qualified and placed in the 300 meter hurdles. She also qualified late in the season.

“I improved a lot this year,” she said. “When I started out this year I didn’t even think I was going to state qualify.”

Every meet she kept cutting time, and kept improving her form as she continued to get acclimated to the event.

She galled her experience in the final race good, but also a little nerve racking. Hertz credits her 8th-place finish to her coaches, and her upperclass teammates—who gave her constant encouragement—with her success.

Others who qualified for the meet from Mott-Regent were Sean Hearts (400 meter relay, and 800 meter relay), Amber Patton (19th place in Discus), Hunter Koepplin (11th place in discus), and Josh Wallace (24th place in long jump, 19th place in the 300 meter hurdles, and the 800 meter relay).

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