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FEATURED PROGRAM: West Fargo Sheyenne High School, West Fargo, ND

Updated: Oct 9, 2022

It's time to give credit where credit it due.


Each week, Coaching Distance will shine the spotlight on an exceptional high school distance program. This week's featured team is West Fargo Sheyenne High School, West Fargo, ND.


WEST FARGO SHEYENNE HS

NORTH DAKOTA CLASS 'A'


THE COACH

TROY THORSON

  • Boys & Girls Head Cross Country Coach

  • Boys & Girls Distance Coach in Track & Field

















ABOUT COACH THORSON

Coach Thorson got started in coaching in 2003 at Minot HS in North Dakota and has coached at Sheyenne HS since 2013. His prior experience includes time at Fargo South (ND) and McLaughlin HS in South Dakota.


When asked what he enjoys most about coaching, Thorson wrote:


"Coaching runs in my family, I grew up with it. My father (Mike Thorson) was a successful, long-time coach at the high school and college level, so I grew up with a pretty good blueprint of what it takes to be a coach.


I really like getting the opportunity to work with kids and help them improve as an athlete and as a person. It is just as satisfying for me, as a coach, to see one of our boys in our program break 5 minutes or one of our girls break 6 minutes in the 1600m, as it is to have a state champion. I enjoy working with athletes and motivating them to do things they don’t think they can do. Coaching allows me to empower kids.


As a coach, I have learned that I don’t need to control everything, I set the tone and get them moving in the right direction and then I get out of the way and let them be successful."


THE PROGRAM

BACKGROUND

Sheyenne competes in North Dakota's largest division, Class A.


Coach Thorson wrote:

"We are a relatively new program. Our first varsity season was in 2014.


During the track and field season, I work closely with Jared Slinde who trains the middle-distance group (400m-800m group). I work with the distance group (800-3200). We work with both the boy’s and girls’ athletes. "

 

Gatorade Cross Country Player of the Year Awards

  • Aiden Johnson

  • Jacob Knodle (finalist)

 

"Knodle and Onnica Stansbury are two athletes that have really set the standard for our program."

  • Jacob (SDSU) holds the 1600 Meter (4:14) and 3200 Meter (9:01) school records.

  • Onnica (NDSU) holds our school records in the 800 Meters, 1600 Meters and the 3200

Boys Track and Field

  • Won back-to-back Eastern Dakota Conference titles in 2021 and 2022.

  • The Middle Distance/Distance group accounted for 58 points in the 2021 title.

* 1st, 3rd, and 4th in the 1600.

* 1st and 2nd in the 3200

* 2nd place finish in the 800.


HISTORIC 3200 METERS

"In 2021, Jacob Knodle, along with 2 other runners (Sean Korsmo & Brady Yoder) ended up breaking the North Dakota 3200m state record of 9:03.65 held by Cory Ihmels since 1992."

  • 1st-Sean Korsmo (Tulsa) Bismarck High 8:57.82

  • 2nd-Brady Yoder (Purdue) Dickinson High 8:59.56

  • 3rd-Jacob Knodle (SDSU) Sheyenne 9:01.56 2021

"Aiden Johnson ran 9:13.19 in the 3200m at the ND State Track Meet which I believe is the fastest time for a freshman in North Dakota ever."


CROSS COUNTRY

2021 HIGHLIGHTS

Aiden Johnson

  • Individual State Champion at North Dakota State XC Meet

  • Gatorade Player of the Year

Caiden and Aiden Johnson at the 2022 North Dakota State T&F Meet.

TRACK & FIELD

2022 HIGHLIGHTS

Boys T&F Team

  • Won the Eastern Dakota Conference Championship

  • 3rd place at North Dakota State Track and Field Meet

  • Caeden Johnson & Aiden Johnson: 1st and 2nd place finish in the 1600 at EDC Meet

  • Caeden Johnson: Won the 800 and 1600 at EDC meet

  • Caeden Johnson & Aiden Johnson: 1st and 2nd place finish in the 3200 at State Track Meet


THE WORKOUTS

CROSS COUNTRY TRAINING

Monday

  • Longer run of the week (if we race Saturday) + barefoot strides on turf + finishing up run with 8-10 minutes of barefoot running on turf + hurdle mobility

Tuesday

  • Main workout of the week. 5 -6 x 1k w/ 60-90 sec recovery + fast 120's to finish + General Strength Circuit (use a lot of Jay Johnson stuff here)

Wednesday

  • Recovery Run + Med Ball circuit (to build strength & get kids working through range of motion) + Hurdle Mobility

Thursday

  • Steady run w/ 5 x 20 sec pick-ups within run + wickets + General Strength


Friday

  • Pre-meet run + Strides + Hurdle Mobility

Saturday

  • Race. If no race, we will do long run


TRACK & FIELD TRAINING

Coach Thorson included the training they did the week of their conference meet.


Monday

  • Last Chance Meet.

  • Ran the 800.

  • Afterwards, came back and did 2 miles @ tempo pace. Finishing off with 400-300-200-200 on the track to complete the main workout for the week.

Tuesday

  • Easy Recovery Day + Strength Circuit + Med-Ball circuit + Hurdle Mobility

Wednesday

  • Steady run + wickets

Thursday

  • Steady run + 211's (200 @ 800 pace, 100 @ shuffle jog, 100 finish)

Friday

  • Pre-meet run + Strides + Hurdle Mobility

Saturday

  • Eastern Dakota Conference Meet

  • Caeden Johnson went on to win the 1600m running 4:16.26 and the 800m in 1:56.51.

  • Aiden Johnson took 2nd in 1600m running 4:18.49 and took 3rd in the 3200m.

FAVORITE WORKOUTS

Coach Thorson shared two great workouts; one a 400 workout and another a Jay Johnson-inspired workout.


Bank your Strength 400's.


"We use it during Track and Cross Country. 12-16 x 400 @ 2 mile pace finishing workout with fast 120's in spikes."


Thorson also uses, 3x700m, a Jay Johnson workout for Milers.


"We try to get to it at least twice a season. We use it to measure progress and build confidence as we go through the season."

 


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