Mike Herauf had plenty of motivation on Friday.
Not only did the crowd watching him slow-clap to build up to every time he pole vaulted, and not only was he competing at the West Region track and field meet against plenty of other top-notch competition.
His older sister, Jess (Herauf) Lehman, who just so happens to be a North Dakota legend of the sport and a collegiate all-American, made it to the Biesiot Activities Center to watch him this time.
And he didn’t let anybody down.
Herauf cleared 14 feet, 6 inches on his way to an individual championship at the West Region meet.
“(Lehman is) a lot to live up to,” Herauf said with a smile. “She inspires me so much in track. She just makes me want to get better and go to college for track. She really gets me going.”
Lehman, a University of Minnesota senior who won the Big Ten heptathlon championship last week, has always been a big motivator to Herauf.
And her being there pushed him to perform that much more.
“I’d love to follow in her footsteps,” Herauf said. “She’s put so much hard work into it. It’s unbelievable the accomplishments that she has achieved. If I got a fourth of those — or anything — I would be completely happy.”
While Herauf won the event after clearing 14 feet, 6 inches, the junior went right for 15-2 — which would’ve been a personal record.
“I really wanted 15-2. People were slow-clapping and stuff and making it really intense,” Herauf said. “I had shivers running down the runway. You just hear that in the background and everybody is watching you, it’s just really fun.”
Herauf helped Dickinson to seventh place with 42 points while the girls team was fourth with 79 points.
“I feel like we’ve done really well as a team,” said Dickinson sophomore Lexi Jordheim. “We don’t have a lot of seniors, but we’ve done a good job of keeping each other up the whole year through all the events.”
For the first time, Meghan Ackerman qualified for state in the long jump with a 16-09.5 leap. Kelsey Calhoun threw the discus 123-6, which was runner-up and topped state qualification expectations. Leah Grove threw 36-6.5 in the shot put and Calhoun threw the javelin 113-2 for state-qualifying marks in the top three. Elizabeth Yoder ran the 3,200 meters in a state-qualifying time of 11:32.21 for third, while Jordheim leaped 4-11 in the high jump and topped 9-09 in the pole vault. She was third in both events.
Jordheim said the reason for her and her team’s success was the hard work put in all season.
“You’ve definitely got to come to practice every day and work your tail off,” Jordheim said. “There’s a lot of people who join track just to get out of school. … I feel like if you want to be really good at something, you’ve got to put your heart into it. I feel like I definitely gave it my all this year, and good things came out of that.”
Though Jordheim has never competed at state, she had already qualified in the pole vault before Friday, even though her mark was good enough for state again.
But she’s still hoping to reach her peak at the state meet, which begins next Friday in Bismarck.
“I was so excited. I was pumped,” Jordheim said. “It will be exciting for the first time. I’ll try to clear my mind and go out and vault and jump.”
Dickinson junior Macy Mack was a first-time qualifier in the 100 meters while also helping her relay teams to state-qualifying times.
“The handoffs, the starts and the ends definitely were good,” Mack said. “Definitely with the younger girls coming up, that’s pushing our girls harder in practice.”
Mack, who ran the 100 in 12.92 seconds, said she’s been running the race since the seventh grade, but this was only her third time running it this year — she was .03 seconds away from qualifying at the Last Chance meet on Monday, she said.
So making it this time made Mack feel much more at ease.
“It’s really relieving,” Mack said. “My teammates have really helped push me to qualify.”
Mack helped her relay teams to three third-place finishes. The 400-meter relay team of Mack, Peyton Selle, Aspen Galster and Megan Erickson finished in 51.09 seconds; the 800 relay team of Mack, Emily Keller, Galster and Erickson ran in 1:47.39; and the 1,600 relay team of Mack, Selle, Galster and Keller ran in 4:13.26 — all state-qualifying marks.
Mack said she pushed herself more considering it’s the last chance to qualify before the state meet and it’s against everyone in the West Region trying to do their best.
But she felt confident. Mack hopes her team can build off of these performances, especially after the team was fifth in the 800 relay at state last season.
And Mack has a specific plan for state preparation.
“Good sleep and stretch,” Mack said.