High School SportsHigh School Track and Field


State B track: Jefferson boys, Huntley Project girls showcase depth en route to team titles

State A/B track and field
State A/B track and field
Posted at 9:10 PM, May 25, 2024

LAUREL — With two events to be scored at the Class B state track and field meet Saturday at the Laurel Sports Complex, it looked like it was going to be a three-team race for the boys team championship.

But once officials entered the results from the shot put, Jefferson clinched its fourth consecutive team title.

"That was awesome," said Jefferson senior Dalton Noble, who led a 1-2-3-4 Panthers finish in the shot put. Noble won for the second consecutive year after marking a personal-best throw of 58 feet, 2 inches.

Tavan McMaster placed second with a throw of 52-11¾, followed by Luke Oxarart at 49-11¾ and Kaynen Martin at 48-03¾. All three were PRs.

"All four of our guys PR’d, and that’s what you want to see," Noble said. "Friendly competition, one through four, there’s nothing more you could really ask for than that."

The 28 points scored in the shot put pulled Jefferson to 90 total, well ahead of second-place Missoula Loyola with 68 and third-place Red Lodge with 67.

The Panthers' only other individual win came Friday when McMaster won the discus with a PR of 166-04. Noble was third with his own PR of 165-04.

"Yesterday was a little rough, but no banners got handed out after Friday," Noble said, "so today was kind of all that mattered."

Loyola went 1-2-3 in the triple jump with Ethan Stack getting the gold medal with a jump of 44-02¼. Jack Clevenger was second with a jump of 43-03, and Talen Reynolds was third at 42-09½.

Tytus Palma added two more event wins for the Loyola boys, running 11.09 seconds in the 100-meter dash and 22.59 in the 200.

Other boys winners Saturday included Choteau's Rusch Yeager in the high jump (6-02), Glasgow's Kyler Holinde in the 800 (1:57.54), Wolf Point's Peyton Summers in the 3,200 (9:37.39), Anaconda's Tytan Cook in the 110 hurdles (15.41) and Big Timber's Caleb Stosich in the 300 hurdles (40.32).

Stosich tripped on the last hurdle and fell to the track, but he used his momentum to roll across the finish line with a new PR.

Red Lodge swept the relays, winning the 400 relay in 42.96 seconds and the 1,600 relay in 3:27.82.

On the girls side, Huntley Project pulled away from Missoula Loyola for the team trophy. The Red Devils scored 104 points to Loyola's 87. Townsend was third with 70.33 points.

Project started Saturday's events with a record-setting performance from Brynn Wandle in the pole vault. The senior entered with the top seed but still expected to battle with three-time reigning champion Breauna Erickson of Conrad.

Sure enough, the duo both cleared 11-06 Saturday, but Wandle was the only one to clear 11-09. She then cleared 12-0 on her first attempt and 12-03 on her second attempt to set the new Class B record.

Erickson set the previous Class B record of 11-09 last year.

"It means so much," Wandle said. "I was so excited to get it. Especially after my first opening vault at my opening height, I felt a lot more confidence and a lot more relaxed, so I was really happy."

"We’re very good buddies because we just push each other, and I think there’s a lot of respect between us, too, and obviously everyone else, because we’re always so close together," Wandle said of vaulting against Conrad's Erickson and Ava Krings, who placed third. "We have a good relationship, and we always cheer each other on."

State A/B track and field
Brynn Wandle of Huntley Project clears the bar in the pole vault at the Class B state track and field meet at the Laurel Sports Complex on May 25, 2024.

Sophomore Avery Gerdes added three individual wins for the Red Devils, placing first in the 400 (57.64 seconds), 800 (2:17.64) and triple jump (36-02¾). Caidance Merecki, another Huntley Project sophomore, won the 300-meter hurdles in 45.58 seconds.

"I know we all were just very hungry and we wanted to come together and work together so we could get it done and get the trophy," Gerdes said. "I think it's just huge that we were able to come together and compete our best."

Loyola's second-place finish was paced by Isabelle Berry, who won the 100 (12.35) and 200 (25.36) and ran legs on the Breakers' winning relay teams, including a record-setting effort in the 400-meter relay.

Allison Gama, Sophia Berry, Ireland Johnston and Isabelle Berry combined to run a 48.68-second 400 relay to set the new Class B record, besting the 49.33 run by Choteau in 2016.

"I think we knew coming in that we had a chance," Isabelle Berry said. "We’re running with two new legs than we were last year, two freshmen came in and one of them’s my sister, and so it’s been super fun to run with her.

"And I think we just knew coming in that we could do it. Just over the year, we’ve been working on our handoffs, because we all had the 100 time that we need to set the record. It’s just been on the handoffs and in the strategy of the race, and so we were really hellbent on getting it this year."

State A/B track and field
Missoula Loyola's Isabelle Berry (708) wins the 100-meter dash at the Class B state track and field meet at the Laurel Sports Complex on May 25, 2024.

Other girls winners Saturday included Glasgow's Tanae Baker in the 3,200 (11:16.98), Townsend's Havyn Vandenacre in the 100 hurdles (14.79), Colstrip's Talen Rogers in the shot put (41-02½), Columbus' Natalie Gairett in the javelin (124-04), Columbus' Megan Copper in the high jump (5-05).

View complete results.