Lillejord, Iverson top Jays

BISMARCK — Two Blue Jays combined for three state championships at the Class A state track and field meet on Saturday.

Andy Lillejord closed out his strong season with a first and one second to give the Jamestown High School senior two firsts, one second and a third on the weekend at the Bismarck Community Bowl.

Lillejord played a big part in the Jays’ impressive fifth-place finish as a team overall with 69.50 points. In fact at one point Saturday morning, they were in first place — even ahead of the big, bad Demons.

“We couldn’t have asked for much more out of our kids,” coach Ken Gardner said. “We had lots of (personal records) and some others that were really close.

“We talked all year about having the kids performing their best at the end of the season and they were able to do that at the state meet. It was an exciting day. The kids felt good about what they accomplished.”

Nikki Iverson, with still one year to go, highlighted the girls’ 10th-place finish with a victory in the triple jump. The JHS junior led after the prelims and then blew the field away on her second jump of the finals, soaring 36 feet, 6 and 1/2 inches, or nearly two feet farther than anybody else.

“It’s satisfying to end the year like this,” Iverson said. “I felt strong and relaxed. I guess it was my time.”

Tate Carlson overcame a tender hamstring late in the season to finish with a fourth-place run in the 110 hurdles in a PR of 15.77, finishing behind three studs in Grand Forks Red River’s Ryan Todhunter, who set a new state record of 14.26, Jordan Maurer (15.43) of Mandan and North Dakota State football recruit Brendan Jemison (15.57) of Fargo South.

The Slusser twins finished off their long, productive careers in blue and white with PRs.
Jordan placed sixth in the mile in 1:59.06. Justin shaved over 10 seconds off his previous best in the 3200, crossing seventh in a time of 9:45.25.

“All of our seniors performed well, both Friday and Saturday,” Gardner said. “There are a bunch of good leaders in there. They did a great job of showing by example what it takes to be successful.”

Ashley Mueller wrapped up her sophomore season with two placing efforts in the hurdle races, including as PR of 47.46 in a sixth-place finish in the 300. She was also eighth in the 100 (17.36).

Junior Kara Nygaard and promising eighth-grader Allison Allmer also had career bests in their respective events.

Nygaard cleared 5-2 for a solid sixth-place finish in the high jump. Allmer, meanwhile, trimmed nearly three seconds off her previous fastest 800 time, getting on the awards stand with a time of 2:21.40 for eighth