BOZEMAN — In a year of many firsts for Bozeman Gallatin High School, the Raptors just kicked off their inaugural track and field season.
“I’m extremely excited," Gallatin sophomore Carson Steckelberg said. "I think it is so much more than I expected for track. I got all of the nerves out this summer. I’m excited for this season.”
The Raptors are being led by first-year head coach Chantel Jaeger, who spent the past five seasons with the Bozeman Hawks serving as an assistant. She was also a sprinter at Montana State, where she still holds the record for the fastest 200-meter race in school history.
“I kind of got the seed planted in my mind from the other coaches when we heard that this new high school was going to be put in," Jaeger said. "I never saw myself being a head coach, but then as soon as I heard people had faith and suggest me, I was all for it.”
Since there was no 2020 track season to build off, a this year’s team features a majority of beginners.
"I’ve been really stressing with my coaches to go over fundamentals," Jaeger added. "We kind of joke that we have three grades of freshmen right now because a lot of us are inexperienced because we didn’t have a season last year, so we’re really stressing fundamentals and make sure these kids know their way around the track.”
There will be some hurdles to get over as the Raptors embark on their first season as a program, but triumph over adversity is what it means to have Gallatin Grit.
“I want even the youngest freshmen on this team to understand that they are a part of a team, and it’s not just about your individual successes," Jaeger said. "It makes me think we can grit our teeth and get through it one way or the other, and that is just the motto of this school.”