Class AA is dotted with big-time athletes looking to leave their marks on Montana’s high school track and field record books. It’s crunch time for those athletes, as the classification joins the postseason this week. The Western AA divisional meet is Friday and Saturday at Missoula, while the Eastern AA divisional meet runs at Butte the same days.
Sprinters like Damien Nelson of Great Falls CMR, Ethan Larson of Kalispell Glacier, Maddie Brockel of Billings West and Breanne Fuller of Billings Skyview are looking to cap incredible seasons on the track, as are distance runners Camila Noe of Bozeman and Annie Hill of Kalispell Glacier.
It’s been a dominant season in the field, as well, with Bozeman’s Delaney Bahn and Lucy Corbett captivating the state in the long jump and high jump, respectively. Helena Capital’s Justin Jenks has had a tremendous season in throws, and this weekend marks the return of Helena High sensation Trey Tintinger in the high jump.
What are the biggest storylines for Class AA’s divisional meets? Read on for quick breakdowns of each.
Eastern AA, May 18-19 at Butte
One of the biggest stories for track and field fans to monitor in the Class AA postseason is the performance of the Bozeman girls. The Hawks have standout athletes all over the board, headlined by Camila Noe in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, Delaney Bahn in the long jump and Lucy Corbett in the high jump. All three girls are chasing state records (which can only be set at state meets), with the divisional meet serving as their final tuneup. Noe could get some pressure from Billings Senior’s Tiahna Vladic in the 1,600, but Bahn and Corbett are runaway favorites in their events.
There will be plenty of attention on the sprints at the Eastern AA divisional, too, as Maddie Brockel of Billings West and Breanne Fuller of Billings Skyview figure to continue their rivalry. The duo has Class AA’s top two times in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes, and Brockel is chasing her fourth consecutive State AA championship in the 200. Meanwhile, Damien Nelson of Great Falls CMR is trying to position himself for a run at the all-class state record in the 100. He has a 10.61-second time on his resume from earlier this season.
The boys’ jumping events should provide a healthy competition, as well. Teddy Krogh of Billings West and Robbie Simpson of Bozeman both marked long jumps of at least 22 feet at the Midland Roundtable Top 10 meet in Laurel earlier this month. They’re the event leaders, but they should feel pressure from other guys in the division. The triple jump will be similarly competitive with Isaac Lysaght of Billings Senior entering the meet coming off a personal-best jump of 43 feet, 8 1/2 inches at the Billings Public Schools City meet last week.
Western AA, May 18-19 at Missoula
All eyes in Missoula will be on the boys high jump, where Helena High sophomore Trey Tintinger will make his return, according to Bengals coach Tony Arntson. Tintinger wowed Montana last spring with a high jump of 7 feet, 1 1/2 inches at the State AA meet, but he’s jumped just once this season, clearing 6-09 3/4 at the Stanford Invitational in March. When healthy, he’s one of the most awe-inspiring athletes in Montana right now.
Helena’s home to another one of the state’s best athletes in Capital thrower Justin Jenks. The senior leads Class AA in both the shot put and discus and is the only athlete in the state to hit the 60-foot mark in the shot put. Jenks will be the favorite in both events at the divisional meet, but he could get challenged by Kalispell Flathead’s Michael Lee in both. Capital’s Conor Quick will push for a top-three finish in the shot put, and Brock Cantrell-Field of Missoula Sentinel will push in the discus. Evan Todd of Kalispell Glacier leads a talented group in the javelin, which also includes Rylan Ortt and Caden Venters of Missoula Sentinel and Glacier’s Bennett McChesney.
Glacier, which also features sprinters Ethan Larson, Drew Turner and Mark Estes, is seeking the boys state championship, while Missoula Sentinel is the heavy favorite for the girls title. Ashley McElmurry will try to score points in five events at the state meet (100, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles, long jump, triple jump) to lead a Spartans squad that also features potential multiple-event scorers Shelby Schweyen (100, 200, high jump), Lauren Heggen (100 hurdles, long jump, triple jump), Madi Arneson (shot put, discus), Aaliyah Woods (shot put, discus), Emily Malone (shot put, discus, javelin) and Kylie Frohlich (discus, javelin).