CHICAGO — Seeley-Swan's Klaire Kovatch was named the Gatorade Montana girls track and field athlete of the year on Friday. Kovatch is the first Gatorade Montana girls track and field athlete of the year for Seeley-Swan.
The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Kovatch as Montana’s best high school girls track & field athlete. Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Track & Field Player of the Year award to be announced in July, Kovatch joins an elite alumni association of state award-winners in 12 sports, including Lolo Jones (1997-98, Roosevelt High School, Iowa), Allyson Felix (2002-03, Los Angeles Baptist High School, Calif.), Robert Griffin III (2006-07, Copperas Cove High School, Texas), Grant Fisher (2013-14 & 2014-15, Grand Blanc High School, Mich.) and Candace Hill (2014-15, Rockdale County High School, Ga.).
Kovatch wrapped up her high school track and field career with a third State C discus title in three tries. She also ran on the Blackhawks' winning 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams, helping Seeley-Swan to its second consecutive team title after winning in 2019, as well.
Kovatch also finished second in the shot put at the State C meet. Her personal best discus toss of 159 feet, 3 inches in April 2021 is the second best throw in Montana history at an in-state meet and ranked 21st nationally among prep competitors this season.
In addition to Kovatch's competitive excellence, she was a standout in the classroom, as well. Kovatch maintained a 4.0 GPA and graduated as valedictorian. She also served as the student council president at Seeley-Swan and was a two-year student trustee on the Missoula County Public School Board. She has also volunteered locally as a youth ski coach and basketball referee.
"My kids competed against (Kovatch) several times this yer, and not only was she an exceptional athlete, she always exhibited exemplary sportsmanship," Sheridan head coach Shawn Ragnerus said in a press release from Gatorade. "(Kovatch) is arguably the best female thrower in Montana."
Kovatch will continue her career at Colorado State University on an athletic scholarship.