BUTTE — With the 2020 track and field season scrapped, the number of returning individual champions is thin.
Butte High senior Anna Trudnwoski nearly made that list.
As a sophomore, Trudnowski was one of five girls to clear a height of 5 feet, 5 inches at the 2019 Class AA state track and field meet in Kalispell. She ultimately took second but appreciated what the competition gave her -- a chance to truly push herself.
"It was probably the most stressful competition I've ever been in," Trudnowski said on a cloudless, crisp Wednesday morning at Charlie Merrifield Track where she and the Bulldogs were running through a spring break practice ahead of their season-opening meet at Helena on Tuesday.
"But I also think (then Kalispell Flathead senior) Madison (Boles) is an amazing athlete," continued Trudnowski, referring to the winner. "I was really thankful to compete against her. It was something I was thankful to be a part of."
That accomplishment as an underclassmen helped her secure a spot with Montana State's track and field team. She signed with the Bobcats last fall based on the strength of her sophomore resume.
Arie Grey, Butte's track and field coach, wasn't surprised.
"She's willing to do any event that we ask her to do," Grey said of Trudnowski, who also placed fifth in the 300-meter hurdles her sophomore year. "The sky's kind of the limit for her. She's just going to continue to improve. She's going to go out there and compete and work hard every single day. And her preparation is what sets her aside."
With her final high school sports season wrapping up, Trudnowski said she's grateful for her time as a Bulldog and the people, most notably her coaches, who have invested in her future.
"It goes by a lot faster than I thought," Trudnowski said. "I didn't really think this day would come or this season would come as soon as it did. I'm really thankful for the past four years. The coaches, especially, have been amazing. They've taught me a lot about how to compete and how to be a good person."