There are two ways for high school athletes to qualify for the annual state track and field meet.
One — hit a qualifying time or distance during the season. Two — get a top-six finish at the Eastern Dakota Conference regional meet.
Throughout the season, the Hi-Liners had no problems hitting qualifying times and have athletes already booked for eight events.
Saturday at the EDC Regional meet in Fargo, the team will likely get a few more.
“So many of the kids, they’ve worked hard and some of them have been so close to that time or distance,” Valley City coach Trevor Bakalar said. “Everybody that we have going to the EDC really has a shot at placing top eight or, obviously, we’d like to place top six.”
On the girls side, the team hopes to qualify some of its talented distance runners specifically Allyson Suhr and April Berntson in the mile.
In meets earlier this year with other EDC competition, both were able to place top eight in the event and Bakalar potentially seems them placing high enough to move on.
The distance runners could also make it in as part of the 4x400 or 4x800 relay teams, the latter of which narrowly missed state last year.
Though the boys won’t be running a 4x800, Bakalar said the boys 4x400 — likely to be run by Colin Naeseth, Dereck Durheim, Casey Englehard and Kyle Knutson —could also contend for a state spot.
“You’ve always got a chance in a relay,” Bakalar said.
He also said distance runner Nick Lee has an “outside chance” of making state in the two-mile, as do the sprint relay teams, which narrowly missed state last year.
He’s also expecting qualifiers from the field side.
For the boys, Bakalar said Durheim has consistently improved in the long jump throughout the year and could make state with a good meet.
“He’s been our personal record guru,” Bakalar said. “He’s always getting better and better.”
For the girls, Abby Brown and Bekah Peterson are already headed to state as sprinters, but could also qualify as jumpers.
“Triple jump is their strength and they way they’ve been jumping, if they can continue to jump that and improve just a little bit more then I really see them getting in there,” Bakalar said.
Tonya Van Dyke also could qualify as a thrower.
Bakalar said the field events are especially open for competition.
“That’s the crazy thing about some of those field events because it only takes one throw or one jump to do it,” he said. “The kids surprise themselves sometimes.”