Area Male Athlete: Pillager's Delong is strong in early track season
Wesley DeLong knows where he’s going.
It’s just a matter of how fast he will get there.
The Pillager Huskies’ senior will likely become a member of the North Dakota State University track and field team next season.
So this year he’s hoping to leave his mark as a member of a successful Huskies team.
“My goals this year are more based on our team goals,” said the two-time state meet place finisher. “This year from last year we only lost three guys that helped score points on our section team. So far this year we’ve done very well. We have a possible chance of placing well at True Team state and the state meet as long as we get some guys healthy.”
DeLong is in healthy form so far this season.
He distanced himself from the field in the long jump with a winning 20-foot-1 effort in the Little Amik meet April 3 at Bemidji. He also won the 400 dash with a 53.53.
Sandwiching those feats was his participation in Pillager’s winning 4x800 relay with Matt Neururer, Devin Strack and Josh Warren and the winning 4x400 relay with Jacob Weizenneger, Warren and Strack.
Two days later in the Pierz Invite, DeLong teamed with Weizenneger, Travis Richards and Strack to break Pillager’s 4x200 relay record with a time of 1:32.95.
DeLong also won the 200 dash with a 23.20 time and finished second in the long jump.
“(Pillager head boys track coach Jim) Bentson (who is on active duty in Iraq) has gotten a call from a couple of colleges wondering if Wesley is a 200-400 guy or a 400-800 guy and so that’s why we put him in the 200 and 4x2,” said assistant coach Ann Hutchison. “We wanted to see how he would do in the 200 so we put him in the 4x200 as well and they ended up breaking the school record. That was pretty exciting. We’ll keep that team together for a couple more times and see what happens.”
DeLong’s strength has been the 400.
In last year’s Class 1A state meet, DeLong finished fourth in the 400 dash with a time of 50.23. His prelims time was 50.03. He also helped Pillager’s 4x400 relay to a fifth-place 3:30.83. Strack and Neururer are also back from that team that also featured the graduated Sean Nokken.
As a sophomore, DeLong finished seventh in the 400 dash and seventh in the 800 run.
“I was happy with my times last year as I beat my PR by a little bit in the prelims,” said DeLong. “I was happy about moving up into fourth from seventh place. I was happy about state last year and I have one more year. Forty-nine seconds is still on my list.
“Our 4x400 relay has three of the four back. It’s a big thing. Our main goal for state is to place high as a team and to do that you have to have relays down there.”
DeLong’s personal goal is to have a successful season in support of his head coach Bentson. The Huskies’ fiery leader will return in late April after a year on duty.
“He left for Kuwait right before sections last year,” DeLong said. “It was hard to lose your head coach going into sections and state.
“I have a very good relationship with Mr. Bentson. He calls me in the mornings to see how things are going. We dedicated our year to him and made our track shirts in his honor with his troop number on it. We’re very excited to get him back.”
Other notable performances:
Baseball: Michael Holthaus, Little Falls, went 3-4 with a double against Pierz.
Logan Meyer, Pierz, went 3-4 with a double and RBI against Little Falls.
Track and field: Brian Huber, Staples-Motley, won the long and high jumps and was second in the 55-meter dash at the Heart O’Lakes Conference indoor meet at Moorhead.
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.