Rigby Haskins, Keeley Call and Brynna Ames have a lot in common.
They go to school together, they run together, they compete on the same team together and they are going to state together representing the Williston High School varsity girls cross country team.
The trio are some of the fastest girls in the Western Dakota Association, and they are only in middle school.
Haskins and Call are in seventh grade and Ames is in eighth grade, however, their grade in school doesn’t matter when it comes to picking out leaders for the team—it’s how fast they run.
Meet after meet they have consistently out-ran girls in high school, including girls on their team, and without a doubt, the girls are some of the best Williston has ever seen.
And when they were told that they were outstanding runners at such a young age and impressive in their own right, they nervously looked at one another at first, giggled then proudly and loudly said, “thank you.”
“It makes us feel really good,” Haskins said when asked what it is like to be a leader on the team. “We’re literally seventh graders running with 18-year-olds that are going to graduate this year so it feels kind of good, actually.”
Call and Ames agreed with Haskins and Call mentioned how being able to run on the team for years to come is an amazing opportunity.
“I love it so much, I’m so glad I joined this sport and that we have the opportunity to do this,” Call said.
Ames echoed similar sentiments, adding that as they continue with this opportunity, they can only get better.
“It’s really cool because there are a lot of people that are older than us who have already been running varsity (for years) and I can’t wait to see how better we are when we’re older,” Ames said. “We’re already pretty good now so I can’t wait to see how we’ll be when we’re older.”
They also said one of the main reasons why they push themselves to be better is because of their coach, Chase Gregory.
When Call first mentioned Gregory’s name, Haskins and Ames nodded and immediately started talking about how much they appreciate their coach.
From making them run 5Ks in varsity and pushing them to beat their times week after week, they said Gregory has been there for them to help them improve.
“To be honest, we probably wouldn’t have gotten this far without Chase,” Haskins said. “He has worked us really hard and we complain a lot but we all know that deep down inside it’s really good for us. So thank you Chase.”
Call said Gregory was amazing this year and the way he has done things and “dealt with” the entire team is “really cool.”
“It is hard to definitely coach a girls’ team,” Call said laughing along with Haskins and Ames as they jokingly talked about the ways that they could be seen as annoying.
But they aren’t annoying, far from it.
After competing well this season and at the Oct. 10 WDA Championship, Haskins, Call and Ames now set their sights on the North Dakota High School Activities Association State Championship on Oct. 24.
Because of COVID-19 concerns, the NDHSAA has limited the number of boys and girls that can run at the state championship in Jamestown this year.
Only seven runners from every team can race, and there are no alternates that will be allowed to run this year.
Gregory said he already picked the seven girls that will run at state and because of their times from the WDA Championship, Haskins, Call and Ames made the list.
Haskins finished in the top 20 on Oct. 10, finishing in 18th place with a time of 20:30.60.
Ames came in 29th place and Call finished the race in 30th place. Ames finished in 21:23.20 and Call finished in 21:26.27.
Other team members that are going to state include Williston’s top runner Eleni Lovgren, Dru Zander, Sierra Watterud and Ava Marburger. All four placed in the top 20 at the WDA Championship.
As they prepare for state, Haskins, Call and Ames said there are a few things that they will keep in mind to help calm their nerves and stay motivated.
They said they want to continue to support one another and hype each other up while also keeping cool and they want to continue to understand that no matter what happens they did a great job this season.
“It’s really cool that we even got this far, honestly,” Haskins said.
And as far as goals go, they also have some in common that are simple—to run the 5K under 20 minutes, to place in the top 20 and beat the Bismarck girls.