Garrison Hughes has captivated Montana’s track and field audience this spring, seemingly soaring to new heights each week in the pole vault. The Sidney senior will again take center stage Friday morning at the State A track and field meet in Laurel as he puts the finishing touches on his illustrious career.
Hughes, who will continue his vaulting career at the University of Nebraska, told MTN Sports his target height is 17 feet, 3 inches. He cleared 17-0 at last week’s Eastern A divisional meet, becoming the first Montana high school athlete to accomplish the feat. The all-class state record, which can only be set at a state meet, is 16-04, which Helena High’s Chase Smith cleared in 2015.
Hughes is Class A’s two-time defending state champion, clearing 15 feet as a sophomore and 16 feet last year as a junior. The 16-foot vault is currently the Class A record.
With his 17-foot vault this season, Hughes ranks 10th in the country.
The Class A boys pole vaulters are scheduled to begin their warmups at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
State A notes
- Hughes helped Sidney to the State A boys team title last spring, and the Eagles should again finish on the podium. The first-place trophy seems unlikely unless Sidney is able to grab some points on the track from Alec Lovegren and the 400-meter relay team. Wyatt Heringer and Christian Dean could join Hughes on the podium in the pole vault, while Hughes’ younger brother Carter is the favorite to repeat in both the shot put and the discus.
- The boys’ team race looks like it could come down to Corvallis and Miles City. Jake Jessop could give the Blue Devils first-place points in both the 400- and 800-meter runs, while Zach Jessop (javelin), Ridge Albright (high jump) and Logan Lewis (triple jump) will also contend for titles. The Cowboys are led by sprinters Keith Vanderlaan, who has the Class A’s fastest time in the 100-meter dash this season, and Kip Krebsbach, who owns Class A’s top 200 time.
- Laurel’s Levi Taylor will look to become a multiple-event winner. The senior enters the state meet with Class A’s top seed times in both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs. With a personal-best time of 4 minutes, 21.63 seconds in the 1,600, Taylor is just off the Class A record of 4:19.40.
- The long and triple jumps should provide some close competition at the Laurel Sports Complex. Libby’s Gavin Strom has Class A’s top long jump at 21 feet, 11 ¼ inches, but Jace Klucewich of Frenchtown, Ivar Aageson of Havre and Dawson Fowler of Belgrade all have jumps longer than 21 feet this season. Fowler has Class A’s best triple jump at 44-02.
- The girls’ triple jump should be just as competitive. Six girls – Kyndall Petersen of Dillon, Gracey Willis of Laurel, Ashley Brand of Lewistown, Dezi Chamberlin of Miles City, Kellan Wahl of Billings Central and Mikaela Ducharme of Polson – have personal-best marks of at least 34 feet. Petersen leads the way with a jump of 34-07 ½.
- Corvallis junior Calla Haldorson is aiming for her third consecutive State A discus title. She leads the field with a personal-best throw of 153 feet, 5 inches this season. Laurel’s Paige O’Toole is second in Class A with a throw of 144-08 ½.
- Angellica Street, a Columbia Falls sophomore, has the Class A record of 143-09 in her sights. Street marked a throw of 145-01 at the Nelson-Thomas ABC Meet earlier this month.
- Underclassmen have four of Class A’s top times in the 100-meter dash and four of the top six in the 200, setting up a couple intriguing sprints. Dillon’s Tylia DeJohn, a sophomore, owns a 12.6-second 100 and 25.84-second 200 to lead the way. Billings Central freshman Kellan Wahl ranks second in the 100 and third in the 200, and Belgrade freshman Bella Pacheco ranks third in the 100. Dillon senior Hayle Sundquist is second in the 200 and fourth in the 100.
- Those sprints could prove crucial, as Dillon and Belgrade are expected to duke it out for the girls team title. The Beavers could get big points from DeJohn, Sunquist and Kyndall Petersen in the jumps, while the Panthers, the defending champions, could rack up points from Pacheco, Dalani Brayton and Fallon Parker on the track. Belgrade senior Alysa Henry could also grab points in three events.