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Published May 29 2010

ND state track: South's Larson prevails in pole vault

BISMARCK – Brock Larson didn’t get the record.

However, the Fargo South junior still achieved his primary goal Friday at the Community Bowl.

Larson earned the Class A pole vault title for the second consecutive season with a height of 15 feet during the first day of the North Dakota state track and field meet.

“It felt really good. It was a good day for it – beautiful day,” said Larson, who no-heighted at last week’s East Region meet. “The competition was good, everyone did great. It just feels good to win it again.”

Expectations were high for Larson following his 15-7 vault at the East/West Classic a few weeks ago.

The state’s all-time best regular-season outdoor pole vault prior to Larson’s mark is believed to be 15-6 by South’s Joe Plencner (2005), Bismarck Century’s Kyle Herman (2000) and former Patriots standout Chad Ohly (1990).

Ohly set the overall state meet record of 15-3 in 1990 state meet.

Larson failed to clear 15-4 on three attempts.

“I was hoping to get it,” Larson said. “But I still have another year left. Maybe I can get it next year. It’s disappointing. But I still won, so that’s a good feeling.

“There is nothing to hang my head about.”

West Fargo’s Gehrig surprises at state

West Fargo senior Jameson Gehrig followed his East Region boys 1,600 meters title with a second-place finish at state.

Gehrig stayed with Bismarck senior Brandon Barnes for much of the race, but couldn’t overtake the Demons standout in the final 30 meters. Barnes won the race with a time of 4 minutes, 18.33 seconds.

Gehrig finished at 4:19:37.

“My goal was to try to stay up there as long as I could, right behind Barnes,” Gehrig said. “I just felt, coming around the last lap, I just got this feeling. I still felt good. I give it up to Brandon Barnes. He did a good job.”

Barnes, an Iowa State recruit, is expected to be one of the stars of this year’s state meet.

The senior ran a 1-minute, 51.21-second 800 earlier this season.

The overall state record in the 800 was set in 1996 by South’s Brian McCulley, who ran a 1:52.02.

Gehrig pushed shoulder-to-shoulder with Barnes several times. But Barnes found a new gear each time to thwart Gehrig’s efforts.

“I’m still happy with a second-place finish,” Gehrig said. “That’s an extremely good race for me. Especially since it’s only my second time every running it at state.”

Lachowitzer adds to cross country success

State cross country champion Tarin Lachowitzer of South carried her success over to the track.

The sophomore finished second in the girls 1,600 with a personal-best time of 5:14.70. Minot junior Brecca Wahlund won the event at 5:10.71. Shanley eighth-grader Alex Backlund was third at 5:16.71.

“I didn’t really know what I was doing, my body did it for me,” Lachowitzer said. “My body knew what I was supposed to do without thinking about it.”

Lachowitzer said a running camp this winter helped take her 1,600 race to another level this year.

She entered the season posting times similar to the stretch run of last track season, and has improved steadily at the end of the year.

Lachowitzer finished fifth in the 1,600 last year with a time of 5:17.83.

“The mile is my favorite race, so I’ve been working harder and harder to get it,” Lachowitzer said. “I really wanted to beat my PR that I ran last year at state so I was happy with that.”


Bismarck St. Mary’s junior John Welk set the boys 200 record with a run of 21.66 in the preliminaries. Former Bismarck High star Weston Dressler set the previous mark of 21.83 in 2004. Wahpeton’s Ryan Smith also eclipsed Dressler’s time with his second-place time of 21.71. … The Bismarck girls 400 relay set a new state meet record with a time of 48.76 in the preliminaries. The previous record of 48.88 was set by Mandan in 2003. … Fargo North’s Mia Lopez finished second in the girls shot put with a throw of 40 feet, 3 inches. The winner was Bismarck’s Katie Weigel with 41-4. … Bismarck leads the boys and girls team races heading into today’s final day.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heath Hotzler at (701) 241-5562