Recently I had the pleasure of joining more than 9,000 fellow track and field fans at the 2018 State Track Meet. Hosted at the MDU Resources Community Bowl in Bismarck, talented meet organizers meticulously crammed 1,284 athletes competing in 20 events — 13 running and seven field events — into two sunny, steamy days of preliminary heats and finals competitions.

Watching North Dakota’s state track championships it is like watching a well-rehearsed, complex musical performance with hundreds of moving parts. At any given moment there are athletes throwing javelins, leaping into long jump pits and flying 14 feet into the air to clear a pole vault bar; there are athletes sprinting around the track and others going through an elaborate series of warmup exercises on the infield; and there are more than 200 highly-skilled meet volunteers simultaneously marshalling 90 4×200-meter relay teams, measuring shotput throws and preparing 100 22-pound hurdles for the next race.

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