Trinity tracksters already lining up for start to 2024 season

Mar. 21—DICKINSON — Every year in North Dakota, the beginning of track and field season is a struggle, what-with the intermittent cold weather, the falling snow and the disagreeable weather-changes. But Southwest North Dakota teams get their start, anyhow, whether it's in the gymnasium or the weight room or taking each chance they get if the region gets to enjoy a lucky, pre-spring thaw.

Trinity High School is no different, and the teams already have begun — with a couple-three days of fortunate outdoor running — to gain their wind and develop the endurance that is essential for the stiff-competition that awaits.

Boys head coach Jonathan Krause and first-year girls coach Tim Baustian have plans in place for both squads, and with a top-flight team of returning athletes — some of whom earned spots in the state meet last year as juniors — the senior-laden team is seeking even more success in 2024 and getting an early jump on the competition.

"We started practice on Feb. 26, and so we're officially at least three weeks through," girls head coach Tim Baustian said.

"We've gotten a couple of good ones outside, on Monday (March 18) we were able to get out there, but it was pretty windy," Krause said. "It was a pretty nice day there and whenever we can we try to go outside, even if it's 25 or 30 degrees, it's just better for your lungs."

Among those returning state-qualified standouts are Helena Pavek, Melissa Zach, Serenity Pavlicek, Kate Glaser, Bella Kovash, Anna Clifton, Annabel Scheeler, Jersey Erie, Elly McAvoy, Harper Skaare and Delaney Deschamp on the girls team and Jake and Gage Glaser, Colton Christenson, Luke and Jake Shobe, Rigo Lopez, Joel Thorson and Taylor LaQua.

With that stout a roster, it's easy to see why Krause and Baustian see good things for the Titans' track teams' immediate future and why it was so important to hit-the-ground-running with the first meet — which was scheduled for March 26 in Bowman County for the "Early Bird" — being canceled, but the schedule bearing down on every Division B team with little time to lose.

"We got everybody back, finally, and basketball didn't go terribly long into the season, so we got those girls reintegrated after a little break — they don't get a break because volleyball overlaps with basketball and basketball overlaps with track — so the important thing was to give those people rest," Baustian said. "That's where we're at: We're in-shape and healthy and that's really the big thing."

Krause echoed those sentiments, saying, "We're really excited on the boys side, like coach Baustian said, we just got everyone back this week and swimmers just came back after their season and basketball's kind of getting back. But we're just really excited about what we've got going on and a lot of great upperclassmen leading us."

Among the area Division B meets on the calendar (weather permitting) will be the April 2nd, 6th and 9th meets in Bowman County — the first two being invitationals and the third being the "Booster" meet — with the Watford City Early Bird taking place on the 16th, Dakotah Bank Relays on the 20th, the Glendive Shriners Invitational on the 26th, Harold Severson Invite on the 27th and the Dickinson JV/V Invite rounding out the rapid April schedule. In May, the second Watford City Invite awaits on the 3rd with the Hollinger Classic in Bowman on the 7th and the May 10 Bill Kelly Twilight Invitational finishing off the current slate of events.

"I think our 'buy-in' right now is absolutely amazing, attitude's amazing, energy's amazing, effort's amazing and we don't have any complaints," Krause said. "We're on a really good path right now and we're excited."

Baustian added, "We're seeing some great marks right now. The throws, running, distance, there's some great stuff happening."

But it's not just important to build on the skills of the abundant top-tier runners and throwers at THS, and instead stride further on that success by encouraging younger participants to develop their running styles and capabilities even from elementary school onwards. It's a luxury that Trinity has over other some area schools and with student-athletics being so important to the Titans' traditions it's a way to keep the ball rolling well into the 2025 season and beyond.

"That's what's going to be the key this year: Utilizing our senior athletes and their leadership and their skills," Baustian said. "But we're also ushering in that next generation because there's a lot of younger kids and they're going to be learning and absorbing and figuring out how to compete and become leaders."

Krause added, "We have a lot of great returners, but a lot of great freshmen."

Meanwhile, the teams are stacked, with 22 athletes on the boys team and 27 girls waiting for the starting gun, so with such heavy competition from the super-competitive Bowman County and Killdeer teams on the horizon, the Titans will be working hard for the next month or so to keep-up-with or race past their peers wearing different-colored jerseys on meet days.

"We love track season and we love that it's here and coach Krause is right on that: Kids are buying in and we're going to have some really awesome results this year, I think, as a result of that," Baustian said.

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