NDAPSSA non-school/ Dakota awards

Shelby Frank became just the fourth athlete in North Dakota high school track history this spring to win four consecutive Class A state girls discus titles.

The Grand Forks Red River High School senior-to-be has dominated the sport not only in-state, but nationally.

Last July, Frank won the discus title in the age 15-16 division for the second consecutive year at the USA Track and Field Junior Olympics in Greensboro, N.C. That accomplishment has earned Frank the North Dakota non-school athlete of the year award, as selected by the North Dakota Associated Press Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Frank had a winning throw of 157 feet, 8 inches to beat the field by more than 13 feet. Frank’s throw would have been good for second place in the 17-18 age group, only a foot behind the winner. Frank also finished fifth in the shot put in her age group.

“The summer Junior Olympics meets can be hit or miss as far as the level of competition,” said Lee Baker, who coaches Grand Forks discus throwers. “Shelby has had really good competition the last two summers.

“Winning four straight high school discus titles, and winning it as an eighth-grader, those performances are pretty crazy. But what she’s done in national meets is equally impressive.”

Frank, who has thrown a personal-record 169-1 this summer, is tied with Grand Forks throwing legends Patti Purpur and Dani Parkos and Erika Schroeder of Bismarck Century as the only throwers to win the A discus title four straight seasons.

“Shelby hasn’t had that huge bomb yet, a throw in the upper 170s,” Baker said. “But it’s definitely there for her to do. She’s kept her drive. She’s kept working and improving. I have no idea how good she can be.”

Other finalists for the non-school athlete award are: Jake Faircloth, West Fargo American Legion baseball; Donny Schatz, racing.

Non-school coach: Brady Schwab, Thompson American Legion baseball.

Schwab’s Thompson team won its second consecutive Class B American Legion baseball championship last summer. His fundamentally-sound team dominated the opposition in all phases of the game in the postseason.

Schwab’s team went 9-0 in the region and state tournaments. Thompson outscored its opponents 91-15, out-hit its opponents 95-36 and committed just eight errors in the nine games.

Thompson shut out four opponents in the postseason and only once allowed more than three runs in a game.

Other finalist: Wade Regier, Minot State hockey.

Non-school team: Minot State University men’s hockey.

The Beavers entered the ACHA Division 1 national tournament in March as the No. 6 seed. They ended up winning the program’s second national title.

The Beavers beat No. 3 seed and defending national champion Adrian College in the national quarterfinals, No. 1 seed Lindenwood University in the semifinals and No. 5 seed Iowa State 3-1 in the championship.

That capped a season-closing 16-1 run for Minot State. The Beavers finished 34-8-1, after starting the year 6-6, then going 28-2-1 the rest of the way.

Other finalists: Fargo Little League baseball, West Fargo American Legion baseball.

Dakota award: Hannah Stewart, Minot.

Stewart was a part of a very successful University of Iowa women’s basketball team.

The Dakota Award is given to a North Dakota native who excels in sports outside of the state.

As a senior this winter, Stewart started all 36 games for a Hawkeyes team that won the Big 10 tournament. The team’s season ended with a loss in the NCAA Elite Eight to eventual national champion Baylor.

Stewart, a standout at Bishop Ryan Catholic School, was third on the Hawkeyes in scoring (11.1 ppg), second in rebounding (6.7 rpg), averaged 2.3 assists and shot 56 percent from the field. She was named to the Big 10 All-Tournament team.

Stewart recently signed a professional contract to play with a team in Australia.

Other finalists: Britta Curl, Bismarck, Wisconsin women’s hockey; Amy Olson, Oxbow, LPGA golfer.

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