Brothers Brent and Brian Sorensen are creatures of the same habits. When it comes to track the pair run almost identical patterns, from the way they warm up to the way they cross the finish line. But now the younger sibling can finally have his name one place higher in the school record books. Brian, who graduated in 2008, set the 400-meter dash record for Hazen High School during his senior season as he crossed the finish line in 50.13 seconds. Last Saturday, with near perfect sprinting conditions, Brent thrust his chest over the finish line one-tenth of a second faster than his brother to set a new standard for Bison sprinters. The new record to beat in the 400 is 50.03.
The first year Leland Opp was the head track and field coach in Hazen he learned a tough lesson as the Bison took second in the region in 1990. He didn’t care much for the taste of defeat. Nineteen years later, Opp hasn’t been reminded of that day as the Lady Bison claimed their 19th Region 5 team championship last Saturday.
Weather and injuries have plagued the already worn nerves of the Beulah-Hazen baseball team this spring. Their greatest enemy however, has not been the team in the different colored jerseys, but that elusive strike zone. With a depleted pitching staff of mostly first-timers, the Miners haven’t found much consistency in the strike column.
Beulah-Hazen baseball coach Bob Koch may not have read the novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” recently but the title might have had a short residence in the back of his mind. In the Miners two contests this week, two separate teams showed up at the field, strangely wearing the same jerseys.
The Hazen Bison boys’ track team kicked off a busy and balmy week of competition last Tuesday at home sweet home, enjoying spring temperatures in the mid-60s while taking part in the Beulah Miner Classic at the Hazen Bison Track and Field Complex. In a competitive field versus teams both inside and outside Region 5, the Bison staked their claim to fourth place overall with 78 points, finishing behind Beulah, Linton and Dickinson Trinity.
It was a long winter. Harsh temperatures and blowing snow caused the rescheduling and cancellations of numerous games in numerous sports this past winter, keeping teams, coaches and athletic directors on edge.
Turning boys into men can often be accomplished through a competitive sport. The boys diligently work to improve their skills … and also show off their pride. Boys as young as seventh grade were honored Monday night at the yearly boys basketball potluck and award ceremony at Hazen High School. Head coach Randy Johnson proudly acknowledged his young men, some of which he might not see for awhile after graduation. Five senior basketball players will leave HHS as letter winners after a tough 14-8 season. Their eligibility to become letter winners was through playing at every varsity game, showing up for all practices and acting as an upstanding student off the court. Seniors present at the award ceremony were Clay Brinkman, Jordan Cieslak, Chad Marshall and Tad Ploium. Joe Westman, also a senior letter winner, was not present.
"That is progress and we are going to have more of it!" That was the theme of the night as Hazen head coach Leland Opp congratulated his team on an "exceptional season" at the banquet Sunday night but reinforced that there was still more to come from the Bison basketball players. But in order to have an exceptional team you need exceptional players. Opp started off the awards portion of the banquet explaining just how to develop such exceptional players. His advice was for all the athletes, younger or older, to take part in Steve Ziegler's accelerated training program.
A possible new era in high school boys and girls basketball as well as volleyball could be on the horizon as the North Dakota High School Activities Association introduced its new three-class system proposal last month. Under the three-division plan, schools with nine through 12 enrollments of 400 or greater would be Class AA, the next 32 schools less than 400 would be Class A and the remaining schools would be Class B. Both Hazen and Beulah would be pitted in Class A according to the projected numbers. Although the idea of a three-class system is not new, both Hazen Athletic Director Brad Foss and Beulah Athletic Director Mitch Lunde see potential in the new system. The drop in enrollments is causing such a discrepancy between large schools and smaller schools inevitably causing change in athletic dynamics in North Dakota. The current situation leaves small towns, such as Center-Stanton with 78 students competing against towns such as Valley City at 381. Valley City would move into Class B under the current system next year. "To say that 400 is the right number or where anyone belongs is tough to decide but what this plan does is maybe put these smaller enrollment schools in an opportunity to compete for a State championship," Lunde explained. Beulah, Hazen and the schools in the middle don't have a place to go. With current seventh through 10th grade enrollments Beulah at 262 and Hazen at 244 are too small for the true Class A division. On the other hand being toward the top of a smaller enrollment division may not be a good fit either.