Automatic qualifiers ready for state
By Jarann Johnson
The Beulah Miners track team qualified for 11 events at this season’s Class B state track and field meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at the Bismarck Community Bowl. Four Miners automatically qualified for state before the postseason even started.
Joseph Dela Cruz, Joel Dela Cruz, Eric Schaper, and Abbey Schantz qualified for state during the regular season.
Beulah Miners Sprints Coach Cameron Brown is proud of both of his regular season state-qualifiers. Even though both Dela Cruz brothers qualified for state, it has been a bit of letdown season for Joel, the older brother.
Joel suffered an injury two weeks before the 2015 state track meet and has been struggling to regain his top form. Brown said Joel’s mechanics and form are strong, but that kids who competed in fall and winter sports were starting with higher fitness points.
“This year he wasn’t involved in any other sports. He wasn’t involved in cross-country, basketball, or football. So, he was behind other kids two seasons,” Brown said. “Those kids he’s racing against from Dickinson Trinity – they are basketball, hockey, and football. He just lost two-thirds of his year non-competitive. Even if you’re not good at it you should be staying active and keeping those muscles trained. It’s taken him all season to get back to where he needs to be because of that, I think of that.”
Joel acknowledges that he’s not at top form but said he is optimistic that he’ll get back there next year, during his senior season.
“I’m just not as quick as I was last year. I am trying to re-gain my third-fastest-kid-in-the-state form, but I think it’s too late and I’m going to have to wait to next year to get it done.” Joel said.
Joseph, the younger brother, has had a strong season and is tied for ninth best in the 100. Joseph’s best time in the 100 this season is 11.24 seconds.
Joseph didn’t qualify for the 100 or 200 last season but is qualified in both events this year. The turn-around from young up-and-coming sprinter to challenging for state-placing spots has been fast, but well earned.