Minot High boys track and field coach Aaron Klingbeil was so busy running around the halls of the Minot State Dome Thursday that he didn't get much of an opportunity to see his team perform in its first meet of the season.
But the small dose Klingbeil managed to observe during the West Region Indoor meet made him feel good about where the Magicians stand early in the season. Minot finished third in the seven-team tournament with a team score of 85 points. Bismarck won the meet with 201.5 points, well ahead of second-place Century, which finished with 108.5 points.
"The WDA has quality teams," Klingbeil said. "Just watching who's in the mix and you see a little bit of the Bismarck schools. Basically, we're in for the season we expected, and it looks pretty good."
Minot High senior sprinter Josh Pizzo, center, competes in the 55-meter dash during the West Region Indoor meet Thursday at the Minot State Dome. Pizzo finished tied for fourth with a time of 6.48 seconds in the event.
The Magicians won two events and placed in the top five in seven others. Minot senior Ben Love claimed the 55-meter hurdles in 8.09 seconds, edging Century's Chance Unterscher by 0.03 seconds. Christian Steffan finished fourth for Minot with a time of 8.58.
Sophomore Karter Gorney and senior Josh Pizzo finished 3-4 in the 55 dash with times of 6.43 and 6.48, respectively.
"Sprints looked good, and we expected that, so they're doing their job," Klingbeil said. "We're hoping to do more, obviously, but today was a valuable learning experience. A couple of the guys that need to be there to support our banner guys definitely showed up today."
The Magicians got off to a fast start, winning the 960 relay - the meet's opening event - in 2:06.14. The team of Pizzo, Gorney, senior Kimani Benjamin and sophomore Myles Preskey topped Dickinson by 0.31. The 1,600 relay placed third behind Century and Dickinson, and the 3,200 relay was third behind Bismarck and St. Mary's.
"We have a good team," Benjamin said. "We have a good 4-by-4, good sprints, good distance. We have a good team all around."
In the field events, senior Anray Fiers and Preskey had the best showing for the Magicians. Fiers placed fourth in both the high jump and long jump, and Preskey finished third in the long jump. Fiers recorded a height of 5 feet, 8 inches in the high jump and a distance of 20-0 in the long jump. Preskey had a team-best 20-1.50 mark in the long jump.
"The jumps were a pleasant surprise," Klingbeil said. "I eluded to us hoping we'd have more in the jumps, and a couple guys we tried in that event took to it really well."
Sam Paszek and Joby Walter tied for fifth in the pole vault with heights of 10-6. Senior Ian Hyde's mark of 42-2 in the shot put was good for ninth.
"It was a test run," Minot senior Tre Kinchen said. "We got to see where we're at and, just like every other, we have to improve. I saw some kids from last year that really improved on our team and in the region."
Kinchen was fifth in the 400 dash and was the first leg of the 1,600 relay.
The Magicians head to Fargo on March 28 for the State Indoor Varsity 4 meet at North Dakota State University.
Mike Kraft covers Minot High, the Minot Minotauros and the Minot State men's club hockey team. Follow him on Twitter @MKraft23_MDN.