WHITEFISH — Last spring, the Whitefish girls brought home the Class A state title for track and field and now they’re looking to repeat the feat led by the dynamic duo of juniors Brooke Zetooney and Hailey Ells.
"This is an incredible group of girls," said Whitefish coach Matt Beckwith. "They’re really hard working, they’re a great cohesive unit, great leadership, those are all qualities that lead to the success they’ve had. And man, they’ve worked their butts off and they’ve earned absolutely everything they’ve gotten out of this."
After finishing first in the 100 and 200 meters, second in the 400 and running legs on the Bulldogs' winning relay teams as a sophomore, Zetooney credits her success to something more than just herself.
"Training as hard as I can, but also to keep myself mentally good throughout the season. I just kind of give everything to God, I just always run for God," said Zetooney. "I love to run for something greater than myself."
Ells, meanwhile, also ran legs on the 400 and 1,600 relay championship teams and took fourth in the 100, second in the 200, third in the 400, third in the 300 hurdles and third in the high jump last year as a sophomore.
When it comes to the leadership Zetooney and Ells bring, Beckwith knows he couldn’t ask for a better duo.
"They’re both leaders on the track, during workouts, in other sports as well," she said. "And they’re great students, they’re just all-around pretty awesome kids, they’re a great example for our younger kids."
And their leadership is on full display when it comes to welcoming the newest freshmen to the team.
"Being there for them as a friend, but also a leader," said Ells. "Not just on the track and during the sport, (also) at school if they have a question about school or life in general, I just want to be there for them to just talk them through whatever is going on in their minds."
When it comes to reflecting on last year's state title, Zetooney knows there’s no greater feeling.
"It showed that all of our hard work paid off like everyone was working hard," said Zetooney with a smile. "It just brought everyone together, and it was really exciting and fun to see everyone happy and just holding that first place for everyone."
Ells, who led the team in individual points with 30 last year at state, couldn’t be more grateful for the track community and team atmosphere.
"All in all it’s just a team effort," said Ells. "I just think it’s a really big idea to think about just being there together rather than just being there on top by yourself."