Josh Darwin

Josh Darwin, far right, accomplished his goal of becoming a North Dakota state champion on Friday, May 24.

After finishing second at the North Dakota State Track Meet the past two years and third as a freshman, Josh Darwin went out in style in his fourth trip to state.

The senior high jumper kept this season’s undefeated streak intact, clearing 6-feet-6-inches on his first attempt for the state title on Friday, May 24 in Bismarck.

“It’s been a long time coming. It was a big relief once I made 6-6 with no misses and then I kind of knew then that I won it,” Darwin said. “That was a big load off my back, that’s for sure.”

Darwin’s jumping coach throughout his high school career has been Pete Erickson. The Wahpeton leaper knew he had to take his coach’s advice to get the coveted title, because Erickson won state in 1986.

“It’s been fun watching Josh over the last four years,” Erickson said. “This year he was a little bit more focused.”

Prior to clearing 6-feet-6-inches, Darwin cleared three other heights without scratching. The weather wasn’t ideal, but the Huskie senior cleared 6-feet-7-inches last year at the EDC Meet in similar conditions.

“The rain and wind could not break Josh’s focus and concentration. It was his best jumping day all season,” Wahpeton coach Lary Lasch said. “He works very hard at his craft and is a well-deserved champion.”

Along with his coaches, Darwin thanked Athletic Trainer Shantell Schutt and his parents.

“I couldn’t have done it without all of them,” Darwin said. “I owe it all to them.”

Darwin will continue to raise the bar as a member of the North Dakota State University track team next season. He’s one of two seniors that will be departing this year for the boys and girls’ teams. Plenty of participants at this year’s state meet will look to get back to Bismarck next season.

“We had a young team at the state meet this year and they competed very well,” Lasch said. “To be at the state meet in Class A track and field is quite an accomplishment. Overall it was great experience and Wahpeton was well represented.”

Other Wahpeton Participants

The boys 4x800 relay team of Corbin Cornelius, Gus Lasch, Colin Samuels and Jared Bartels ran a 8:33.87 to place 13th. The boys ran splits of 2:07.5, 2:12.0, 2:10.0, and 2:04.5, respectively.

The girls 4x200 team of Bailey Bernstein, Jordyn Kahler, Emily DeVries, and Madgalena Benton placed 18th, 2:00.17. A fumbled baton pass cost them some time, but they can all return next year and gained valuable experience.

Kobe Thimjon placed 14th in the discus with a toss of 127-feet-1-inch.

DeVries placed 14th in the 300-meter hurdles, clocked at 50.35.

Isaac Wohlers finished 12th in the pole vault clearing 11-feet-6-inches.

Darwin also competed in the triple jump where his 41-feet-4-inches effort placed him 11th.

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