While there will be plenty of intrigue as athletes pursue all-class records at the State AA track and field meet in Great Falls, there likely won’t be much intrigue in the team races. Kalispell Glacier’s boys and Missoula Sentinel’s girls are heavy favorites to capture the first-place team trophies at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Glacier figures to pile up points in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter runs from Ethan Larson, Drew Turner and Mark Estes. That trio enters the state meet with Class AA’s three fastest qualifying times in the 400. Elijah Boyd and Joseph Vanden Bos could add points in the distance races for the Wolfpack, who could also find success in the throws with Jared Brendan in the shot put and Evan Todd and Bennett McChesney in the javelin. Hunter Nicholson is a threat in all three jumps and could head-to-head with Estes for top honors in both the long and triple jumps.
Kalispell Flathead, Missoula Sentinel, Billings West and Billings Senior are among those also looking for podium finishes on the boys side. West is the two-time defending state champion.
Sentinel’s girls, meanwhile, expect a ton of points from Ashley McElmurry, who will look to podium in the 100-meter dash, 100- and 300-meter hurdles, long jump and triple jump. McElmurry is chasing the triple jump record, but she’ll have to outduel teammate Lauren Heggen. Shelby Schweyen could podium in three events, as well, while the Spartans figure to dominate the throws. Madi Arneson, Aaliyah Woods and Emily Malone have Class AA’s top three marks in the shot put this season and will also compete in the discus. Malone and Kylie Frohlich will battle in the javelin, as well.
Bozeman girls are Sentinel’s most likely challenger, while Billings Senior, Billings West and Kalispell Glacier will also seek top-three team finishes. Sentinel is the defending champion after winning the program’s first track and field state championship last season.
State AA notes
- There are plenty of records in jeopardy at the State AA meet this week, but the 100-meter dash is always the event that seems to captivate those in attendance. Great Falls CMR’s Damien Nelson has recorded a personal-best time of 10.61 seconds, which – if replicated this week – would break Chris Wilson’s record of 10.67. Remember, state records can only be set at state meets.
- Billings West sprinter Maddie Brockel is seeking to enter rarified air, as well. The future Montana State Bobcat will try to win her fourth championship in the 200-meter dash and has the state record within reach. Brockel has Class AA’s fastest times in the 100, 200 and 400 this season.
- Brockel also runs the anchor leg for the Golden Bears’ 400-meter relay team, which will try to break its own record from last year. Maddie Albrecht, Ellie Scherffius and Willa Albrecht join Brockel on this year’s team, which has a season-best time of 48.26 seconds.
- While Brockel and the Bears are chasing records in the sprints, Bozeman’s Camila Noe has positioned herself to break the all-class record in the 3,200-meter run. Noe has already posted the fastest 3,200 on Montana soil, so Christina Aragon’s 2016 record of 10 minutes, 23.31 seconds is certainly within reach.
- On the boys’ side, Bozeman’s Duncan Hamilton (1,600) and Kalispell Flathead’s Ben Perrin (3,200) will try to knock Perrin’s brother Jake from the record book, who clocked times of 4:12.06 and 9:04.35 at the 2016 state meet. Hamilton has a personal-best time of 4:15.51 in the 1,600, while Ben Perrin has a personal-best 9:04.56 in the 3,200. Perrin’s best on Montana soil this season is 9:23.40, though.
- The jumps have the potential to entertain the Memorial Stadium crowd. In addition to Sentinel’s duo of McElmurry and Heggen, Helena High’s Trey Tintinger and Bozeman’s Lucy Corbett will attempt to raise the bar in the high jump and Bozeman’s Delaney Bahn will try to mark a 19-foot long jump. Both Corbett (5-10) and Bahn (19-02) have marked would-be record-breaking jumps this season, whereas Tintinger, just a sophomore, set the boys state high jump record at last year’s state meet when he cleared 7-01 ½.
- Helena Capital thrower Justin Jenks has had a phenomenal season, marking a shot put throw of 63 feet, 1 ¾ inches at last week’s Western AA divisional meet. Jenks also has Class AA’s season-best mark in the discus at 181-11.