Seniors Willson, Jacob lead Hi-Liner sprinters

Entering her senior season, Valley City High School sprinter Molly Willson knew that her older sister, Morgen, was quite the athlete during her time at VCHS.
What Molly didn’t realize, though, was that Morgen held the school record in the 200 meter dash.
“I didn’t know she held the record until this year,” Molly said.
So when she found out, she made it her goal to make the record her own, a task she hopes to achieve by the end of the season.
Willson is among the top sprinters on the Valley City girls team, along with senior Jenna Jacob, freshmen Abby Brown and Bekah Peterson and 8th grader Brienne Roehrich, all of whom hope to make an impact at the state meet.
Tuesday at the William Jansen Invitational, Valley City’s last home track meet of the season, Valley City coach Trevor Bakalar said the Hi-Liner girls qualified their 4x200 relay team of Peterson, Roehrich, Jacob and Willson for the state meet.
Full results were not available at press time, but will be posted at Wednesday evening.
The 4x200 team is the fourth state event for Willson and Jacob, who have qualified individually in the 100 and 200 meter dashes, and with Roehrich and Brown on the 4x100 team.
For Willson, it’s all about the 200 and breaking her sister’s time of 26.14, set in 2004.
“It’s a good goal to have,” Bakalar said. “Get in the record books and be the school leader.”
So far, Willson’s gotten her time in the 200 down to 26.65 seconds, though she didn’t run the 200 Tuesday. It leaves her just over a second behind her sister.
“She’s got a pretty fast time, so it’ll be a challenge but I think I can get it,” she said.
Bakalar said it’s an achievable goal that will likely happen as a result of the team’s late season work. For the sprinters, it’s largely about conditioning.
“A lot of it is just being able to carry speed through the whole race,” Bakalar said. “She’s got the speed to do it, obviously but she needs some of that endurance.”
Willson is merely the tip of the iceberg on the team.
For each race that Willson runs, Jacob comes in shortly after.
Bakalar called it “friendly competition”, with the two girls constantly bringing out the best in each other.
Bakalar said in previous years, it was Jacob that was the front-runner early in the season and Willson made her strides later. This year, he said, it’s been the opposite.
“They really do work well together,” he said.
The team also has the youth from Roehrich, Peterson and Brown, who have helped fill in holes left by athletes missing from last year.
“They’re all right around that same speed, so it’s nice to be able to interchange some of those girls, if we need to, especially going into state,” he said.
Bakalar said he expects both the sprint relay teams and the sprinters to place at state, possibly on the higher end.
“You never know what could happen,” he said. “You’ve gotta run the race.”