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Breaking down the WDA for 2020

By Tim How, 03/25/20, 8:45AM CDT


The Bismarck Demons have won the WDA tournament three straight years. Can they make it four?

The Favorites


The Bismarck Demons have built a bit of a Western Dakota Conference dynasty, winning the past three region titles and playing in two state championship games over that period of time. 

They certainly lost some key components to graduation. Three seniors from last year's team played in the SCHEELS Softball All-Star Series in Lakyn Stork, Maddy Steckler and Kassidy Duttenhefner. They do, however, return the Gatorade Play of the Year in Logan Gronberg. She will only be a sophomore this year and has been dominant in the circle and at the plate already in her career. Emma Barta, who is committed to Butler College, is a senior this year.

Head coach Kurt Grensteiner has a good thing going in Bismarck. Look for them to continue that this year.


The Dickinson summer program has been dominating the summer circuit the past four seasons. Those players are now coming of age on the high school scene, setting up Dickinson for a strong couple year stretch here. 

A pair of (Ma)Tayas (Hopfauf & Mortenson) are back to lead the charge in 2020. The Midgets are stocked with young talent and they don't have an easy out in the batting order. They just keep coming in waves. With some strong pitching in the state, especially over in Bismarck, having a lineup that can score runs will be paramount.

Dickinson took home the consolation trophy at the 2019 state tournament, leaving a sour taste in the mouths of a team that thought they could win it all.

The Contenders

Bismarck Century

The Century Patriots can just flat out smack the ball around. Seems like a common theme in the capital city. They have become a regular state tournament participate and title contender. They were oh so close to playing in the title game in 2019 and return some key cogs from that team.

Maddy Zander and Maddie Grad are one of the most mature batteries in the state. Zander has thrown some fantastic games in key times and has used her bat to dispose of opponents. Grad is also prone to blasting the long ball and can shut down the run attach of the other team from behind the plate. With plenty of other solid pieces around the diamond, this could be the year Century breaks through.


Minot is the only team not named West Fargo to ever win a Class A state title in North Dakota. Part of their incredible run in 2018 was aided by an incredibly home run saving catch by center fielder Landry Maragos. She is a senior this year along with all-region player Cambrie Pretzer. 

Minot lost a key component to graduation in former catcher Jaycie Rostad, who is now playing college ball at Minot State University. 

Like so many teams in the west, Minot is led by a longtime head coach in Gerard Cederstrom. There is no doubt he will have his team prepared to compete if and when teams get back on the field for the 2020 season.

The Darkhorse


Jamestown is set for year number two under head coach Marissa Drenth. She certainly has talent, as many of the players compete on a very good summer team that Jamestown has. A lot of the talent is still on the younger side, but it is far from inexperienced.

The key to a Jamestown run in the WDA will be junior Payton Gall. She is a big, strong kid who throws very hard in the circle and can mash the softball. The next step for her is to be most consistent. If she can add consistency to her plate in 2020, look out. The team also returns 2019 all-conference player Ella Roaldson. 

Senior Athlete of the Year

Maddy Grad is an absolute terror with a bat in her hand and is one of the top catchers in the state. There are definitely others in this conversation like Bismarck's Emma Barta and Minot's Landry Maragos, but Grad has been so potent offensively the past couple of seasons and can shut down opponents run games behind the plate, making her the favorite.

Projected Seedings

1. Bismarck

2. Dickinson

3. Century

4. Minot

5. Jamestown

6. Legacy

7. Mandan

8. Williston

9. Watford City

10. Turtle Mountain

Twitter Fan Vote

Bismarck - 40%

Dickinson - 37%

Century - 19%

Other - 4%