MISSOULA — The realization slowly spread across Kaitlyn McColly’s face.
First shock, then tears, then elation.
“My mom had been keeping team points all day and my coach also knew but they were trying to keep my head on my shoulders and didn’t let me know,” said the Hinsdale senior. “So yeah, I was pretty surprised.”
No one at the State C track and field meet had a better weekend than McColly, who placed in the top three in five events. She had wins in the triple jump and 300-meter hurdles, finished second in the pole vault and 100 hurdles, and placed third in the long jump.
McColly scored 42 points by herself, and that was enough for Hinsdale to claim a second-place team trophy on the strength of her performance alone.
To put McColly’s performance in perspective, there were 85 Class C teams that fielded athletes at the state tournament, and 36 girls teams that scored points. McColly scored more points than any individual across any state tournament and more points than every Class C team except champion Seeley-Swan.
“It was a goal coming into this to get a team trophy by myself,” she said. “I didn't think it was actually possible, but I guess it was.”
The accomplishment meant much more to her because of the colors she was wearing. Hinsdale co-ops with Saco and Whitewater as the North Country Mavericks for basketball and volleyball, McColly's other sports. But this trophy belongs solely to McColly and the Raiders.
“It's a small-town girl, big dreams sort of deal, but I guess that's the same for any Class C school,” she said. “I love my Raiders and I love the co-op with two other small schools. But it feels great to get that state championship for my hometown.”
McColly has an offer to play basketball in college at Williston (N.D.) State but is keeping her options open in case a track scholarship comes along. Whatever happens in the future, this has been a high school season she’ll never forget.
“It’s a big moment,” she said. “I don't think I ever really thought it could be this special.”