GREAT FALLS — A year ago, Damien Nelson said he would be chasing the 100-meter dash state record this spring.
The Great Falls CMR sprinter lived up to his word Friday, crossing the finish line in 10.66 seconds in the 100-meter dash prelims at the Class AA state track and field meet at Memorial Stadium. The 10.66-second mark guarantees Nelson a place in the Montana High School Association record books, putting his name ahead of former CMR sprinter Chris Wilson, who clocked a 10.67 at the 2009 state meet.
Nelson, the 2017 State AA champion in the 100, will still have to defend his title in Saturday’s finals.
“If I take care of myself tonight, come back, I feel like I could put up a way better time than I just did,” Nelson said after his race on Friday.
Nelson entered the state meet with Montana’s fastest time in the 100 this season, recording a personal-best time of 10.61 seconds at the Great Falls City meet back on May 8. That meet was the first event on Memorial Stadium’s new track surface, which was completed this spring.
Kalispell Glacier’s Ethan Larson was the state’s second-ranked runner after recording a 10.82 during the regular season. Nelson lined up in Lane 4 next to Larson in Lane 5. Glacier sprinter Mark Estes, who entered the meet with a PR of 11.16 seconds, was in Lane 3. That competition elevated Nelson’s Friday performance.
“It felt good — just having those two really push me, knowing that they’re one of the best in the state like I am,” Nelson said. “It felt really good to have those two beside me.”
Nelson will look to defend his state title on Saturday, with the 100 finals set to begin around 1:15 p.m.
The Billings West 400-meter relay team also break an all-class state record on Friday. The Golden Bears, anchored by senior Maddie Brockel, crossed the finish line in 47.56 seconds. The mark broke the old record of 48.18, which West set at last year’s state meet.