MISSOULA — The embrace was long and emotional for the Seeley-Swan Blackhawks.
One by one, Sariah Maughan, Kyla Conley and Emily Maughan all hugged senior Klaire Kovatch after she anchored the team's first-place 1,600-meter relay squad on Saturday. Kovatch was out of breath, but the lone senior on the team took her time with each teammate in joy and celebration as the Blackhawks sealed the team title at the State C track and field meet at MCPS Stadium.
The win was the third for Kovatch, who took home the State C discus title on Friday before helping lead Seeley-Swan to both relay championships on Saturday. She added second-place finishes in the javelin and shot put as well.
After a challenging 1,600 race on Friday where she took fourth, a race she was defending champion in, Sariah Maughan took home the 800-meter championship to pair with her 400 win that she achieved on Friday. She also ran in both relays for Seeley-Swan.
In total Seeley-Swan scored 72 points while Hinsdale was second with 42 and Plentywood and Fort Benton each tied with 37. Seeley-Swan won the team title in 2019 before the 2020 season was ultimately canceled.
"I've been running since like fifth grade and I know that just sometimes everyone has a bad race and so I'm a very positive person, so it's not hard for me to forget about something that went bad because I had four other races to compete in," Maughan explained about her meet. "We were really hoping to get (the state championship) so getting it was really nice especially since we didn't have last year. Coming out and winning it and making our last race a very good race and having Klaire there was very special because she's just a great person, I'm going to miss her so much."
MCCOLLY DOES IT ALL
Hinsdale was led by do-all senior Kaitlyn McColly. McColly won the 300 hurdles and the triple jump for the Raiders. She took second in the 100 hurdles and pole vault and added a third-place finish in the long jump to score all of Hinsdale's points.
Track and field is a rare sport where Hinsdale competes alone instead of as a co-op, so to don that jersey was special for McColly especially as they earned the team trophy.
"Kind of small-town girl, big dreams kind of deal, but I guess that's the same for any Class C school," McColly said. "Really love my Hinsdale Raiders. For basketball and volleyball, we are in fact a co-op, so getting track to be a Raider, it feels great to get that (individual) state championship for my hometown."
Savage freshman Brooke Reuter finished with a big day, winning both the 100- and 200-meter dashes while setting new Class C records in both. Reuter set the new 100 record on Friday in the prelims at 12.49 seconds, which beat the previous record of 12.52 set by Marny Adamson back in 2000. Then in the 200, Reuter ran a 25.51 which broke the 25.76 mark set by Kourtney Danreuther in 2006.
"It's been a great experience and mind-blowing to me too," Reuter said. "I was in first coming in so I was a little nervous and everything but after the first (prelims) and I had the best times I was feeling pretty confident. I just knew my parents were behind me and was feeling good."
FRYBERGER SETS NEW MARK
Charlo's Carlee Fryberger also broke a Class C record. Fryberger's 14.78 that she ran in the prelims on Friday in the 100 hurdles broke the 14.92 time set by Erin Jones back in 1999. Fryberger won the finals on Saturday in 14.81.
Fryberger also took second in the 300 hurdles, third in both the 100 and 200 and fifth in the triple jump in her final meet for Charlo.
"I'm really happy with the result and it just felt amazing to go out there and win the race," Fryberger said. "I actually didn't even what the record was until I ran it and my coach told me I broke the (Class C) record. It feels amazing."
Plentywood's Annie Kaul used a come-from-behind kick in the final stretch to win the 3,200. Fairview's Jadyn Gackle won the shot put, Alberton-Superior's Sorren Reese took the javelin victory and Saco's Teagan Erickson added a win in the high jump to round out Saturday's winners.
LONGHORNS FINISH STRONG
On the boys side, Fort Benton won the team title with 74 points. Belt took home second with 45 and Richey-Lambert added 41.
The Longhorns got wins from William Ullery in both the 100 and 200. Ullery also anchored Fort Benton's 1,600 relay team that won, while Simms took the win in the 400 relay. Hayden Diekhans won the triple jump to held pad the Longhorns' lead.
“Falling short in the semifinals in football and basketball the last two years. We didn’t get a track season last year and we were expecting to win it then," Ullery said. "This championship means everything.”
Ullery ran a 11.48 in the 100 and a 23.04 in the 200. Diekhans lept 44-11.00 to win the triple jump.
They join Jace Thompson and Nick Marais who took home first-place finishes for Fort Benton on Friday. Thompson won the pole vault while Marais won the long jump.
SMITH'S TRIUMPHANT RETURN
Tate Smith of Twin Bridges was also a double winner as he took home victories in both hurdle races.
Smith entered both races as the favorite after posting the top prelim times. It was a special moment for him, as Smith lost the end of his sophomore year due to a freak injury where he cut his leg on a hurdle at the divisional meet in 2019 that ultimately cost him the rest of his season. Then, as was everyone's, his 2020 season was canceled.
"I wanted to perform the best I could be," Smith said. "I didn't get to do this sophomore or junior year so I just wanted to go out there and try as hard as I could and do the best I could.
"It feels pretty cool. Not going to lie, it's just awesome to pull it off."
SMITH PACES R-L TO TROPHY
Samuel Smith of Richey-Lambert won the 3,200 on Saturday to pair with his 1,600 victory from Friday. He also placed in second in the 800 in the meet as the Fusion earned a third-place team trophy on their long drive west for the State C meet.
Losing his junior season was hard, but Smith made up for it in a big way on Saturday.
"It definitely hurt. It's hard training for nothing or something super far away so it definitely hurt times," Smith said. "But I think it just made it better for everybody this year. Everybody was much more excited and anticipating it so much so at least something good came out of it."
MCDONALD DOUBLES UP
Seeley-Swan's Walker McDonald also won the shot put on Saturday to pair with his discus victory from Friday.
Just a junior, McDonald was locked in a tight race with fellow junior, Cade VanVleet of Noxon.
"(The shot put) felt really good (coming off of my hand) and it feels really good to be pushed by Cade," McDonald said. "I feel like that's a big reason why I've been throwing a lot better than I have been lately."
Lustre Christian's Jasiah Hambira won the high jump as well with a personal-best jump of 6 feet, 3 inches. Circle's Hayden Lockie won the 800 as well to round out Saturday's performances.