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East Grand Forks Senior High throwers dominating

Luke Vonesh has been the top thrower on the East Grand Forks Senior High boys track team this spring. But in every practice, being the best is a challenge.

"Chase (Olderbak) will throw a big one and say, 'Farthest of the day,' '' Vonesh said. "Then Jhett (Pesch) and I will want to beat it.''

The trio of juniors is proving to be a big factor early in the track season. They combined for 41 points Thursday in the East Grand Forks Invitational, leading Senior High to the team title. The Green Wave scored 244 points to runner-up Crookston's 88.

The girls division was much closer, with Crookston scoring 127 points to edge Senior High by nine for the title.

Having three high-caliber throwers is an advantage.

"It pushes you,'' Olderbak said. "You always want to be better than the next guy. It's all friendly (competition). But you want to beat the guy who's ahead of you.''

For the second straight meet, Vonesh (49-foot-8) finished first in the shot put, Olderbak (44-4.5) second and Pesch (44-2) third.

For the second straight meet, all three were top-five finishers in the discus, Vonesh placing second (123-9), Olderbak fourth (115-11) and Pesch fifth (112-0).

"Luke and Chase are right where we expected them to be,'' Senior High throwing coach Mike Hedlund said. "And we expect them to be significantly better by the end of the season. They came on strong last year and had some success. Now they're juniors—that's when you expect them to improve because of physical development and the technique becomes so much better.

"Jhett was an unknown commodity. We knew he was a good athlete. But he hasn't thrown. We didn't know he'd do this well. His form is just starting to develop.''

Hedlund said Vonesh has the potential to throw the shot 50 feet, with Olberbak and Pesch possibly making the high 40s. He looks for the three to push 130 feet in the discus.

Hedlund has been coaching Green Wave throwers since 2000. "I can remember maybe two other seasons when we've had this many quality throwers,'' he said. "That they're all juniors makes it that much more unusual.''

Said Senior High head coach Kirk Misialek: "Those throwers are the meat of our team. We'll depend on them to score a lot of points.''

Senior High had one double winner in open events, as Bryce Kuznia won the triple and long jumps.

Aleece Durbin led Crookston to the girls title with top-two finishes in four open events. Durbin won the 100 hurdles and placed second in the 300 hurdles, triple jump and 100. Double winners in open events were Thompson's Izzy Shirek (high jump, 300 hurdles), Nelson County's Paige Haakenson (shot put, discus) and West Marshall's Abi McGlynn (200, triple jump).