Track and field: United North Central continues to build up numbers

The Warriors will be counting on depth to produce competitive teams.

United North Central Warrriors

The four athletes who are back after competing at last year’s Section 6A meet will be counted on to lead the United North Central boys and girls track and field teams this spring.

Graduation left the Warriors with 13 key spots to replace. Of that group, seven placed at last year’s section meet.

For the boys, Connor Korvela won the section title in the long jump and was the runner-up in the 800-meter run, capping off his senior season by placing third in the long jump and ninth in the 800 at the state Class A meet. Christian Johnson placed fourth in the 400 and Alec Aho took eighth in the high jump. Korvela, Johnson and Aho ran on the 4 x 400 relay team that placed sixth. Tyler Shepersky concluded his senior season by placing at state in the 100, 800 and 1,600 wheelchair races.

For the girls, Janie Tormanen took fourth in the 400 and 14th in the long jump, Gabby Hrdlicka was sixth in the 100 hurdles and Jenna Seibert finished 15th in the shot put.

Looking to lead the Warriors this spring are senior Teagen Lee, junior Casey Blixt and sophomore Riley Livingston for the boys and sophomore Anjalie Aho for the girls.


Lee was 12th in the 800 and rounded out the 4 x 200 relay team, Blixt finished 13th in the 100 and Livingston placed 15th in the 1,600 as the boys took 10th with 28 points at last year’s section meet. Aho took fourth in the 800 to lead the way for the girls, who finished 15th as a team with 13 points.

At the Subsection 6-22A meet, Blixt was sixth in the 100, Lee took ninth in the 800 and Livingston was 10th in the 1,600. Blixt also ran on the 4 x 200 relay team that placed sixth and finished 26th in the shot put.

The other boys returning after competing at last year’s subsection meet are seniors Xander Lincoln and Alex Treinen. Lincoln finished 23rd in the shot put and 24th in the discus while Treinen ran on the 4 x 200 relay unit.

Joining Aho, who placed fifth in the 800 and ran on the 4 x 400 relay team that finished eighth, from last year’s subsection team are seniors Avory Haman, Kendra Huhta, Julianna Lillquist, Elyse Ness and Janika VanOurkerk; juniors Brianna George and Sterling Tolleson; sophomores Arianna Grant, Ellie Ness and Mattea Smith; freshmen Hana Eitel, Cailynn Gaughan and Miley Westberg; and eighth graders Elsa Komppa and Emma Ness. Senior Eve Matson and sophomore Sofia Heltunen also return as letterwinners.

In the subsection running events, Emma Ness (15th) and VanOurkerk (27th) competed in the 100; Emma Ness (10th), Hutha (23rd) and Elyse Ness (28th) ran in the 200; Eitel was 24th in the 400; Westberg finished 12th in the 800; Komppa was 11th in the 1,600; and Haman took 19th in the 100 hurdles. In the field events, Lillquist took ninth in the shot put and 20th in the discus; Gaughan (13th), Grant (19th) and Huhta (20th) competed in the high jump; and Tolleson took 22nd in the long jump. Returning from the relays are Elyse Ness, Ellie Ness, Emma Ness and Haman in the 4 x 100 (eighth); Elyse Ness, Huhta, Gaughan and Eitel in the 4 x 200 (ninth); and Smith and Komppa in the 4 x 400 (eighth).

“I knew going into the 2022 season we would have to do some heavy recruiting to regain the 13 seniors we would be losing. The athletes this year have come through and brought a lot of new faces with them to practice. It's pretty early in the season to determine who will contribute on the varsity team for 2023. Weather has limited us so far this year with only a few practices under our belts. I feel that we have a few that can really bring some things to our team,” said UNC head coach Tom Smith, whose roster went from 42 athletes last season to 50 this spring. “We usually have a pretty good group of teams in our conference and someone always sneaks in that you don't expect to see among the top teams. Once we get a couple early indoor meets under our belts, we can see what we have to work with and can get athletes placed in the right events. With the addition of 20 plus new athletes, I think we will find we have a few areas we will be strong in. Right now it is pretty early to tell with that many new faces on our team, but we should have two solid teams. We have a tough section. We went from 29 teams down to 22 teams, but looking at the section as a whole, it got harder. Our goal is to get as many athletes to sections as we can.”


April 3 – at Concordia College, 5 p.m. April 11 – at Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational, 3:30 p.m. April 13 – at Pillager Invitational, 4 p.m. April 18 – United North Central Invitational at Sebeka, 4 p.m. April 20 – at Ottertail Central Invitational at Battle Lake, 4 p.m. April 25 – at Park Rapids Invitational, 4 p.m. April 27 – at Pillager Invitational, 4 p.m.

May 2 – United North Central Invitational at Sebeka, 4 p.m. May 4 – at Wadena-Deer Creek Invitational, 4 p.m. May 9 – at Pelican Rapids Invitational, 10 a.m. May 16 – Park Region Conference meet at Sebeka, 3:30 p.m. May 25 – Subsection 6-22A meet at Sebeka, 2 p.m.

June 1 – Section 6A meet at Fergus Falls, 11 a.m.

1982 Dawson-Boyd High School graduate
1987 Moorhead State University graduate
Sports reporter for Park Rapids Enterprise since 1987
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