CHOTEAU — There were lots of colors on the track at the Cascade Top 8 meet Tuesday in Choteau, but only one athlete was wearing the baby blue and gold of the Moore Bulldogs.
Moore typically co-ops with Hobson and Judith Gap in other sports, but not track and field. Senior Sierra Durbin is the only girl from her school that went out for track and she’s easy to pick out.
“I love being a Bulldog,” she said as she pointed to her unique uniform. “I stole this from our upstairs: This isn’t our actual uniform, it’s a vintage one. I love it and we stand out a lot.”
It’s not just her outfit that sticks out, but her performances, as well. Durbin currently has a top-five mark in the Northern C in her three main events. She’s second in the 300-meter hurdles (49.34 seconds), fourth in the 400 (1:04.92) and fourth in the 800 (2:41.52).
At several meets this season, she’s outscored teams with dozens of athletes by herself. At the Choteau Acantha meet on April 21, Moore finished eighth out of 25 teams – all on the strength of Durbin’s performance.
“The past few meets I’ve had 26 and 24 points,” she said. “It’s been intense.”
Being the only girl on the Moore track team is a blessing to Durbin, who practices with the seven boys on the Bulldogs. Racing in heats with them keeps her in shape.
“I run with the boys, there’s eight of us,” she said. “So I go with a boy and the other boys run together. It’s pretty fun. They definitely keep me on my toes.”
And how are the bus rides? Sierra laughed.
“I sit next to the boys, but I usually put my headphones on and sleep the whole time,” she said. “I like my sleep.”
And though she might be the lone girl on the team, you rarely find her alone at meets. Shouts of ‘Go Sierra!’ from fellow athletes, fans and family greet her at every turn.
“My family is here and Moore is a small school so I know a lot of other teams, and I cheer for a lot of other teams,” she said. “We keep each other supported. Class C schools have each other’s backs.”
Durbin plans to run track and cross country at MSU Billings next year. With declining enrollment and participation at Moore, there’s a good chance there won’t be a single girl on the track team next year.
“I think I might be the last in a while,” she said. “None of our freshmen went out. I think we might have two freshmen next year, but it’s hard to tell. I wish we had freshmen, I want to do what my seniors did for me when I was a freshman. I hope more come out, because it’s really supportive on a small team. Everyone is there for you.”
But for now her only focus is three weeks away at the State C meet in Great Falls.
“I placed in my freshman year at state and I want to do that again,” she said. “I want to get faster times and drop seconds. I’m excited to see what I can get done the last few weeks.”
They say there’s no ‘I’ in team, but there is one in Sierra. And she is the team.