LAUREL - The Laurel girls have put themselves in position to win a team title on their home track.
The Locomotives racked up 54 points on Friday afternoon, which has them 29.5 points clear of second-place Whitefish, which didn't have the opening day it had anticipated at the Class A state track and field at the Laurel Sports Complex.
Laurel had just one individual champion on Friday, but Carly Cook and her Locomotive teammates cleaned up in the 800-meter run. Cook, a sophomore, set a new Laurel school record, crossing in 2 minutes, 19.28 seconds.
"I am so surprised. I'm so happy, though, too," Cook said. "I knew I was going to be close, but I didn't think that I was actually going to break it (Friday). My plan next year is to break it again."
Laurel's Grace Timm and Andria Mourich finished third and fourth, respectively, to give the Locos 20 points in the event. That amount nearly matches second-place Whitefish's total.
"I think the 800 is the race where we scored the most points for girls and I'm really happy. We plan to get pretty close to that again in the mile (Saturday)," said Cook.
Laurel also got a 2-3 finish in the 400-meter dash, as Alyse Aby and Cook added on to the opening-day scoring for the Locos.
Whitefish had high expectations in the girls high jump early on Friday morning, but the trio of Erin Wilde, Mikenna Ells and Hailey Ells finished fourth, fifth and sixth. The Bulldogs had three of the top five marks entering the State A meet.
Ronan's Lindsey Brooks took the individual crown with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches.
Mikenna Ells bounced back after a long weather delay, winning the 400 in 57.96 seconds.
Glendive rounds out the top three with 23 points, led by Madison Wahl's individual title in the pole vault with a vault of 10-06. Teammate Tiana Carney finished third at the same height.
Thanks to a bevy of strong performances on the track on Friday afternoon, the Hamilton boys lead Billings Central by 13 points after scoring 45 on the opening day.
Hamilton picked up 18 points early when Colter Kirkland and Lane Cole went 1-2 in the 800-meter run. Kirkland crossed with a winning time of 1:56.85.
Cole then won the 3,200-meter run in 9:49.00 and teammate Colter Purcell finished third. The Broncs won two of the three contested track events on Friday afternoon.
Billings Central picked up 12 points in the long jump, as Clay Oven finished second and Michael Hayden finished fourth. Brock Ping, the top qualifier entering the State A meet, scratched all three jumps in prelims. Laurel's Jakob Webinger claimed the long jump title with a leap of 20-09 ¼.
Derek Damjanovich won the high jump for Central with a leap of 6-02, while Oven finished runner-up to Libby's Jay Beagle in the 400.
Saturday's action gets started at 9 a.m. in Laurel.