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State A track: Shot put marks impress as Corvallis grabs team leads

State A/B track and field
Posted at 7:36 PM, May 24, 2024

LAUREL — The third time was the charm for Maggie Hillis.

After consecutive state runner-up finishes in the Class A girls shot put, the Laurel senior won her first state championship in front of her home fans at the Class A state track and field meet Friday at the Laurel Sports Complex.

“It means everything. This is a moment we’ve worked on for four years now,” said Hillis, who won with a throw of 42 feet, 2 inches. “Everything led up to this, and I’m glad I could have all the support I was able to have here. To do it with my teammates meant the world to me.”

Hillis placed second each of the past two years but entered this year’s state meet with the top mark in Class A, a throw of 43-8 she marked in April. Though she had strong competition from Meredith Buhler of Corvallis and Mya Winkler of Hamilton, Hillis’ throw in the preliminary rounds held up through finals.

Buhler finished second with a mark of 39-09½, followed by Winkler with a 39-04.

“I thought I was gonna be more upset for not hitting a PR or anything, but to think that this is something I’ve wanted since freshman year, it’s crazy it finally happened,” Hillis said.

Hillis wasn’t the only thrower to leave a mark at the shot put. Wyatt Miles of Corvallis became the first Class A thrower to hit the 60-foot threshold.

Miles nearly out-threw the landing area, marking a throw of 60-09½ in the prelims to set the Class A record and win his first state title, edging Bitterroot Valley rival Andrew Burrows of Hamilton, who hit a throw of 58-11.

Miles’ win gave Corvallis 10 important points. The Blue Devils lead the team race with 26.8 points after seven events. Hamilton is second with 25.

The Corvallis boys also got a win from Derek Criddle in the 400 with a time of 49.23 seconds, just ahead of second-place Evan Bennett of Hamilton at 49.73.

Corvallis and Hamilton lead the girls team race, too, with the Blue Devils scoring 40.5 points on Day 1 and the Broncs scoring 40.

For Corvallis, Olivia Lewis won the 400-meter run in 55.52 seconds and Ella Varner won the long jump with a mark of 17-06¼. Hamilton, meanwhile, notched wins in both the 800 (Annalise Lewis, 2:16.21) and 3,200 (Aleigha Child, 11:30.86).

State A/B track and field
Annalise Lewis of Hamilton runs in the 800-meter run at the Class A state track and field meet at the Laurel Sports Complex on May 24, 2024.

Other girls winners Friday included Hardin’s MaKenna Torske in the high jump (5-02), Sidney’s Morgan Kindopp in the pole vault (12-0) and Butte Central’s Ella Moodry in the javelin (132-01).

It’s the third state javelin title for Moodry, who also won last year as a junior and in 2021 as a freshman. Laurel’s Daeja Fike, the 2022 champion and 2023 runner-up, placed second Friday with a throw of 132-0, just one inch back of Moodry’s winning throw.

In one of the more dramatic moments of the day's preliminary events, Whitefish sprinter Brooke Zetooney false-started in the 100-meter dash. A three-time champion in the event, Zetooney was aiming for the all-class state record after tying the Class A state record of 12.24 seconds last year.

Other boys winners were Laurel's Carter Gage in the pole vault (13-06), Bigfork’s Jack Jensen in the 800 (1:54.42), Livingston’s Finn Schretenthaler in the 3,200 (9:32.30), Columbia Falls’ Banyan Johnston in the high jump (6-0) and Glendive’s Kohbe Smith in the long jump (23-02¼).

Smith’s mark surpassed the Class A record of 22-11¾ set by Lonnie Gillette of Hamilton in 1979, but officials determined it was wind aided and thus not eligible for the record books.