BISMARCK - Comfort was the key for first-time state champion Karter Gorney, who won Minot High School's first boys individual title since 2010 on Saturday.
Gorney cruised through the 100-meter dash in 10.85 seconds with relaxed shoulders and a smooth demeanor, which carried over to the anchor leg of the Magicians' title in the 400 relay in the Class A state meet at the Bismarck Community Bowl.
"I was really comfortable going in," the sophomore said. "I think having lane five is a good feeling. You feel like you're on top and halfway through I knew I had it down. I was relaxed and I didn't see anyone on my peripheral (vision) or the side of me and it felt good. It was quite a ride in."
Minot High School sophomore Karter Gorney runs the state meet 100-meter final at the Bismarck Community Bowl on Saturday. Gorney won the race in 10.85 seconds.
Gorney took eighth in the event as a freshman with raw speed. First-year sprinting coach Chauncy Hendershot saw a tight speedster early this season and implored Gorney to loosen up.
The point was taken and Gorney held seed after running a personal-best (10.78) as the top qualifier in Friday's preliminaries.
"He's a very coachable kid," Hendershot said. "He listens and I just kind of made him aware of the wasted energy in motion and it wasn't just me. It was our entire coaching staff focusing on him to relax.
"Even on some days when we're doing intervals, if he's jogging, he starts to get a tight-jogging form, coach (Aaron) Klingbeil would get after him a little bit."
Gorney was a part of 28 MHS points as the Magicians finished sixth overall with 39 points. Bismarck High won its 10th consecutive title with 190 points. West Fargo took second (108) and Bismarck Century was third (100).
"Our goal was to place fifth," said Klingbeil, MHS head coach. "We came up a little bit short and it's not any one particular event. I can't point to one event and (say) this is the one that broke us. There's some that, obviously, we would have liked to have done better."
The 400 relay could not have been better. After taking second to Fargo North in the 800 relay to start the day, the same lineup - junior Josh Pizzo, senior Dylan Jechort, junior Alex Yanosko and Gorney - beat top seed Fargo South in the shortest relay.
The Magicians finished in 43.16 seconds to beat the Bruins by .36 seconds.
"It feels great," Gorney said. "It feels good going out for Dylan. He's a senior and the main thing on my mind was just winning for him and then just winning for all of us and all our coaches that worked so hard to train us."
Pizzo returned to open the relay after a suspension prevented him from competing at last week's West Region meet.
"It was hard, you know, knowing that your friends, your teammates are there competing and you're not," Pizzo said.
He redeemed himself with a strong leg and kept pace with Fargo South senior Zach Prekel, who took second in the open 100. Jechort fell half a step behind Fargo South as he battled the wind on the back stretch.
Yanosko, who passed four opponents in the third leg of the 800 relay, powered through again to put Gorney in solid position.
"I think, honestly, (Yanosko's) the best curve runner I've ever seen," Gorney said. "Even though he isn't the fastest on the straightaways, I think he's the fastest curve runner and he makes up a lot of ground and he gets us what we get. Now we have first place."
Yanosko first realized the 400 relay team's potential when the team cracked 44 seconds early in the season.
"We were like eight tenths of a second off our school record and I was, like, 'We are gonna be something good this year because we're just gonna get faster and faster as time comes,' " said Yanosko, who took seventh in the long jump Saturday.
"That's kind of how it's been all year. Pizzo and Jechort, they get us close to our guy I'm a pretty good curve runner, so I eat up that curve and then I hand it off to Karter and he just takes it home."
Minot High girls
third in 4x400
The Minot High girls took ninth overall with 36 points and picked up six in the meet's final event, the 1600 relay. Bismarck Century won the meet with 177.5 points, Bismarck High was second (101) and West Fargo was third (89).
The Majettes took third in the event after Bismarck High was disqualified for an infraction. It was the last career race for seniors Loni Bryantt and Samantha Huether.
"It was absolutely exciting and a fun time to run the last race of the season with my team and we did so good," Huether said. "We went out there and ran our hearts out. It was just amazing to end the season with that."
Sophomore Madison Milbrath and freshman Kylie Alexander rounded out the 1600 team, which finished with its second-best time of the season in 4:06.35.
Milbrath took sixth in the 400, one spot ahead of sister Morgan Milbrath. It was the final race of the nine-time state champion's scholastic career, which ended with a hamstring injury and no senior titles. Morgan was honored as the Class A senior athlete of the year.
MHS junior Else Nelson was fifth in the shot put with a heave of 38 feet, seven inches. Sophomore Sophie Bengson and Alexander scored in the 300 hurdles, placing fourth and seventh, respectively.
"I think the girls did an excellent job," MHS coach Michelle Hoff said. "We just didn't have the events filled to make the place.
"Our throwers are all coming back and they did an excellent job here this year. Now we just gotta fill the gaps."