MOSCOW, Idaho — The Helena High track and field program is thriving in the Big Sky Conference.
Former Bengal runners Aidan Reed, a sophomore at Southern Utah University, and Carly Smiedala, a sophomore at Montana, won individual events this week at the Big Sky Conference outdoor championships.
Reed won the 10,000-meter run on Thursday evening, running a 30:04.06. His time bested teammate Matthew Wright by 28 seconds.
“When you consider the Big Sky is known for its distance power, and to have our men go first and second for the second-straight season and the women win it shows the strength of the program and projects where we may be to open cross country next fall,” SUU head coach Eric Houle said in a university release.
Reed owns a decorated career in a Helena High uniform, earning a runner-up finish his senior season in the State AA 3,200-meter run. Reed was one of two athletes to break the all-class state record in the race, joining Kalispell Flathead’s Jake Perrin. Reed clocked a 9:06.91, while Perrin set the new standard at 9:04.35. Missoula Hellgate’s Adam Peterman previously set the all-class record in 2013, running a 9:12.38.
He also earned a runner-up finish at the prestigious Pan American Junior Championships, crossing the 10,000-meter finish line in just over 32 minutes in the summer of 2017. Reed also garnered a Top 50-finish in the Cross Country World Championships in Uganda the same year.
Reed entered the Big Sky championships ranked in the Top 50 in the 10,000-meter run qualifiers in the NCAA Division I Western Regional.
Smiedala owns multiple Helena High girls track and field records, and earlier this season set the Montana Grizzlies’ indoor and outdoor records in the 800-meter run. Smiedala, who snuck into Friday’s finals by finishing eighth overall in the preliminaries, ran a 2:07.66 Friday to win the conference title. The 2016 State AA 400-meter run champion opened her first lap in third place, running a 1:03.32, before clocking the fastest second lap in the field by more than a second.
“It’s definitely a special feeling,” Smiedala said. “I’ve put in a lot of time and it feels great to have a little bit of success. Vicky (Pounds) is such a great coach, and I can’t thank my coaches, my teammates, our trainer and weight coach enough. It’s very special.”
“I think for Carly, she’s been thinking about that one for a long time,” head coach Brian Schweyen said. “She ran a very, very smart race and did exactly what she needed to.”
Smiedala ran a Montana Grizzly-record 2:06.22 earlier this season, which entered the week ranked No. 19 in the western regional.
One other Treasure State native earned a Big Sky Conference outdoor title on Friday — Montana State thrower Kyle Douglass of Missoula, who won the discus with a heave of 192 feet, 5 inches.