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District 4B/6C track: 'Badger', Cooper hit new PR's with eyes on state titles

Jason Todhunter
Posted at 3:50 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 17:50:02-04

LAUREL — When the skies cleared and gave way to a 70 degree calm day at the Laurel Sports Complex, there were bound to be some eyebrow-raising marks at the District 4B and 6C track meets Friday.

Harlowton senior Jason Todhunter wasted no time in the first field event of the day, the 6C boys javelin. Coming into the meet second in the State C rankings with a 169'11" PR, Todhunter almost broke it on his first attempt. It landed two inches short. He found a little bit more on the last throw of the competition - 170'4" for the man they call 'Badger.'

“My mom had these big flower pots in the house, and I would just dig them up like a badger it looked like - I’d just have a ton of dirt behind me," Todhunter said about the origins of the nickname. "My dad and I have the same first name, so my family always calls me badger.

“I enjoy it. During football, they’d always say, 'Bring out the Badger' because they’re tough. It’s something that’s always stuck and I’ve always enjoyed it.”

Badger is now just five inches behind Plentywood’s Cameron Brusven in the State C rankings.

Hannah Cooper
Hannah Cooper broke the Huntley Project school high jump record Friday with a 5'3.25" jump at the District 4B meet in Laurel.

There’s a new leader in the State B girls high jump race. Huntley Project’s Hannah Cooper had been stuck on 5’1” all year until she finally cleared 5’2” today. She was the only competitor left, so she decided to go up to 5’3.25” which would break the school record, and she cleared it on her second attempt.

“This year my goal was just five feet, so when I cleared it at the first meet, I guess I was just chasing the school record," Cooper said. "It was pretty crazy to break though.”

And she’s doing all this while battling severe shin splints.

“There’s really nothing you can do. (The trainer) recommended a few things, but pretty much resting is all you can do. They’re actually stress fractures now. I just took a bunch of Tylenol this morning so I feel pretty good today," Cooper said with a laugh.

It’ll be a battle between her and Big Timber’s Emily Cooley - who is now second in Class B with a 5’3” PR - at the Southern B Divisional next week.

Huntley Project's day started out well on the track too. Macee Murphy cruised to a win in the 100 hurdles, and Noah Bouchard lowered his already state-best mark in the 110's to 14.64. Nobody else in any class has run under 15 seconds this season.

Project faced some stiff competition later in the 4x100 relays. Shepherd won the 4B girls race in a new State B-best 51.37 seconds. Columbus cruised to a win in the boys race in 44.81 - that’s a new PR with Colby Martinez running the anchor. Then he came right back in the 400 and beat out Red Devil favorite Mitchell Burns as well as Red Lodge's Jay Jetmore for the win in 51.65.

Park City had a great day on the track. Sophomore Stockton Zimdars won the 110 hurdles in the morning, then older brother Garrett won the 400 in 53.72. He’ll challenge for a podium finish at State C in two weeks.

Harlowton was a big favorite in the C girls 4x100, but their lead runner pulled up with a hamstring injury, so that opened the door for Park City to win another one in 55.02.

But it wasn’t a sweep. In the 6C girls 100 hurdles, Belfry’s Whitney Herden beat Harlowton sophomore Sam Fenley to the line in a close race. Congrats to the Bat, but Fenley has a bright future ahead. We’ll dive more into that next week.