LAUREL — Forsyth’s Cade and Paul Johnstone put on a show Saturday afternoon at the State B track and field meet in Laurel, leading the Dogies to their first state track title since 1976.
Paul Johnstone won the 800-meter run in 2 minutes, .26 seconds, and then ran over to the triple jump and lept 44 feet, 7 1/4 inches to narrowly beat Joliet’s Ry Olson.
Paul entered the 800 as the only Class B athlete to have hit the qualifying standard this season but had to hold off Manhattan’s Bryce Love down the stretch.
“I was shocked at how slow I got out at the gate, could have gone a little faster,” Paul said after his victory in the 800. “But I knew that I’d be able to kick it at the end.”
Along with Paul’s victories in the 800, his second consecutive state title in the event, and the triple jump, he added a second-place finish in the long jump, as well.
Cade’s victory Friday in the 400-meter dash, coupled with his runner-up finish in the 200-meter dash, gave the Johnstone twins 54 points in individual events. Cade and Paul both ran on Forsyth’s second-place 400-meter relay team, too, adding another eight points to the Dogies total.
Then Cade added an exclamation point to the Dogies’ first title in 42 years. Forsyth entered the 1,600-meter relay having already clinched the team title over Huntley Project, leading by 11 points. Trailing the entire final lap, Cade chased down Huntley Project’s anchor leg and leaned across the line just .06 seconds ahead of the Red Devils.
Forsyth racked up 30 points on Friday, paced by Cade’s victory in the 400, Caleb Knoche’s victory in the javelin, and Paul’s second-place finish in the long jump. Teammate JW Bonomo added a fifth-place finish in the javelin.
“I saw how good everyone else was doing (Friday) and I wanted to carry it on to the second day, not let up and let anyone into that first spot,” Paul said of his teammates’ performance and the quick start Forsyth received after Day 1.
Knoche added a second-place finish in the 300-meter hurdles, as well as a sixth-place finish in the 110-meter hurdles. Knoche also ran on Forsyth’s winning 1,600-meter relay team and runner-up 400-meter relay team.
Bigfork dominates to win second consecutive State B girls title
Bigfork dominated Friday, getting victories from Bryn Morley in the 800- and 3,200-meter runs, and Haile Norred in the 400-meter dash. Nothing changed on Saturday as Bigfork won its second consecutive State B girls track and field title.
Morley continued her dominance, winning the 1,600-meter run in 4 minutes, 49.41 seconds, narrowly missing her own Class B record. Morley then turned around and helped the Valkyries’ 1,600-meter relay team win in a near-record time of 4:01.89. Morley and teammate Haile Norred ran on the 2015 Bigfork team that holds the current Class B girls record.
Morley’s dominance was just part of the story Saturday afternoon for Bigfork’s team success. Norred added a victory in the 200-meter dash in 26.24 and a third-place finish in the 100-meter dash. Norred also ran the anchor leg for Bigfork’s state-title 400-meter relay team, which crossed in 50.26.
Norred, Morley, and fellow senior Shea Anderson led Bigfork to 106 points. Second-place Baker finished with 48.
“Before the 4×4 even started, as we were riding up (the track) and they were announcing the teams, I started crying,” Norred said, expressing the emotion of her final meet. “It really hit me, this was going to be the last race I would run with my team.”
“I think that’s how I motivated myself to run all of the times that I’ve been running, just knowing that it’s my last shot as a Bigfork Valkyrie,” Morley added.
Anya Young placed second in the 1,600 and 3,200 and third in the 800, Madison Gardner placed fourth in the 100-meter hurdles, and Jordan Nelson placed fourth in the 200 to add to Bigfork’s impressive team victory.
Big Timber’s Gunlikson sweeps 100, 200; wins 300 hurdles
Casey Gunlikson came within .01 seconds of the Class B record in the 100-meter dash on Friday. While his time of 11.09 on Saturday was just off the pace, it was good for the Class B state title. Gunlikson then added another title in the 200-meter dash, holding off Forsyth’s Cade Johnstone as they crossed the tape.
Gunlikson added his third victory of the day in the 300-meter hurdles, crossing in 38.85 seconds.
“(Friday) night was hard to sleep, I’ll definitely say that,” Gunlikson said. “Coming back next year, it’s going to be something special. You want to go out with a bang.”
The Big Timber junior also ran on the Herders’ fifth-place 400-meter relay team and fourth-place 1,600-meter relay team.
State B notes
- Manhattan’s boys finished in third place, largely thanks to the efforts of Zak Meeker and Bryce Love. Meeker won the 3,200 and finished second in the 1,600, while Love won the 1,600 and finished second in the 800.
- Huntley Project’s Bradley Graves put up an impressive performance in the 110-meter hurdles, winning in 14.54 seconds. Graves also ran on Huntley’s champion 400-meter relay team.
- Austin Forson of Deer Lodge won the discus Friday and added the shot put to his Class B state title mantle on Saturday. With a heave of 50 feet, 1 inch, Forson was the only athlete with a mark better than 50 feet.
- Whitehall’s Avery Stiles won the Class B boys high jump after clearing 6 feet, 6 inches on his third and final attempt.
- Baker’s Wrenzi Wrsezinski won her second consecutive Class B state titles in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Wrzesinski, who placed second in the long jump on Friday, won the 100 hurdles in 15.4 and the 300s in 45.84.
- Morgan Allen of Three Forks won her second Class B high jump title in four years. She finished second her freshman and junior years, while winning her sophomore year.
- Huntley Project’s Emily Poole won the Class B discus on Friday and added a victory in the javelin and a third-place face in the discus on Saturday.