GREAT FALLS — They say there’s power in numbers, but nobody told the boys track athletes at Ennis and Turner.
Ennis won the boys Class C track and field championship on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, with only twin brothers Corbin and Tanner Wood competing. The Mustangs finished with 59 total points, while Scobey (57) and Seeley-Swan (44) placed second and third, respectively.
“For me and my brother, it’s such a good feeling. I’m so happy we could do this, just me and him,” said Corbin. “It would have been a little easier if our relay team would have made it — they got disqualified at districts, which sucked. We had some guys quit the team, some guys didn’t go out. Throughout the year it got harder and harder, but we just kept saying, ‘We have to push harder and harder to get the state title.’ We did it.”
Each Wood brother did his part throughout the two-day meet. Corbin won the 100- and 200-meter dashes, clocking 11.11 and 22.94 seconds in Saturday’s finals. He added a runner-up finish in the 400 on Friday and completed his meet with a second-place-tying effort in the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 2 inches.
“It was awesome. I wasn’t predicted to place in the high jump, but taking second in that was the cherry on top,” he said. “We were so happy to do this and it’s such a great feeling to win the program’s fourth state championship in a row.”
The Wood brothers held their breath before celebrating the Mustangs’ fourth consecutive title. Scobey needed a win in the 1,600-meter relay to tie Ennis in the team standings, and the Spartans clocked a fast time in the second heat of the event. But Seeley-Swan bested that effort in the final heat, securing the title hopes for Ennis.
“I knew that Scobey was going to have (Riley Linder) run the 1,600-meter relay, so that would definitely knock off some points,” said Corbin. “I didn’t think they would get Seeley-Swan, because Seeley runs a good time. I knew they wouldn’t be able to catch them. We took that into consideration, but I’m happy with it all.”
The Blackhawks’ win in the long relay also vaulted them into the trophy race. Seeley-Swan trailed Turner by six points entering the final event but pushed into third place with the relay win.
The Tornadoes’ performance was still impressive. Like Ennis, only two athletes scored points throughout the weekend. Eddie Harmon won the 400-meter dash on Friday, then repeated as the 800-meter champion Saturday afternoon. Harmon provided a kick with about 250 meters remaining, leading to a time of 1:57.48.
“I’ve been practicing that a little more this year, starting to kick around 300 or the 250 mark, and then trying to sprint the rest of the way out to try to keep the lead,” said Harmon. “Yeah, that’s what I really wanted to do. I didn’t want it to be quite as close (as last year) and I wanted to finish first and get it again this year.”
Harmon told MTN Sports last spring that he dedicated his 800 championship to friend Tristan Billmayer. Billmayer took his own life in May 2015.
After this weekend’s championships, Billmayer was still at the front of Harmon’s mind.
“Yes, it does. It sure does. I’m doing it for my good friend, just like last year,” said Harmon. “It means everything to me. Just trying to put my town on the map, I guess.”
He and teammate Cody Welsh certainly accomplished that. Moments after Harmon’s victory in the 800, Welsh pulled a shocker in the 300 hurdles, winning the race with a time of 40.87. He trailed until the final meters.
“We don’t get a lot of recognition in our community or school that much, being that competitive in the state against all of these other athletes. It’s a lot of hard work and it’s paying off in the end,” said Welsh. “(Harmon) said (Friday) in his interview that I was going to go win this race (Saturday). I can’t believe he put that kind of pressure on me, but it ended up working out.”
Veltkamp’s 200 helps Manhattan Christian secure girls title
Alex Veltkamp felt frustrated laying in her hotel Friday night.
“(Friday) didn’t go as well as I wanted, so I had quite a bit of anger stored up,” said Veltkamp, who finished third in the 400 and second in the 800, despite title aspirations.
The Manhattan Christian senior shook off the frustration and bounced back to earn a championship in the Class C 200, running a time of 26 seconds flat.
“There’s a ton of fast girls here, so when they beat you, you can’t let it get you down. You have to look forward to the next race and channel it into running rather than let yourself get down,” said Veltkamp.
Officials were forced to go to the one-thousandth of a second in the race, as Veltkamp and Winnett-Grass Range’s Zoe Delaney each posted times of 26-even. Veltkamp was credited with the win, helping the Eagles wrap up their team championship.
“It’s amazing. We’ve been working all year for that feeling, and it’s a great feeling,” said Veltkamp.
Manhattan Christian totaled 58 points, holding off Fort Benton at 54.5. Twin Bridges was third with 48.
Fort Benton sweeps relays, earns second-place trophy
Nicole Axtman had a wide grin on her face as she crossed the finish line Saturday morning. The Fort Benton sophomore ran the anchor leg on the Longhorns’ 400-meter relay team, which crossed the finish line in first place with a time of 50.21 seconds.
“We had been wanting this for a long time, and I think this was the year we knew we could do it,” said Axtman. “Crossing past the second cone and getting close to the finish line, I didn’t hear anyone close to me. At that point I knew we had finally done it. I think it really made me happy to know that we worked so well as a team we could win this.”
Twin Bridges actually held the lead in the relay entering the final leg, but Axtman credited smooth handoffs and a consistent stride for leading to the win.
“Seeing Leah Gannon come in so close with the Twin Bridges’ girl, I was like, ‘I’m really going to have to compete, I’m really going to have to push myself. If we want to do this, we have to work as a team and I have to help pull this team,’” Axtman said. “Knowng how close they were, I was like, ‘I’m just going to do it and we’re going to win this.’”
“I thought our handoffs were really smooth. We were all really prepared for this, we wanted it really bad and it happened,” added Gannon. “That was huge. Relays are definitely key in this meet.”
Axtman, Gannon, Maddy Thompson and Abby Clark took the podium in the short relay. Fort Benton also won the 1,600-meter relay in 4:08.59. Gannon was joined by Aspen Geise, Allie Wallace and McKenzie Clark.
Morgan Radtke takes triple jump crown
Drummond’s Morgan Radtke only needed one jump to win the Class C triple jump competition. The senior sailed into the pit for a jump of 37 feet even, winning the event by well over a foot.
“It was the very first jump. It kind of went downhill from there, but that’s all right,” Radtke said. “I was tired from high jump and (Friday) was hot. That kind of took it out of me. I had the good jump on the first one and was kind of tired on the rest.”
Radtke placed third in the high jump earlier Saturday after winning the long jump (17-06 1/4) on Friday, with the triple jump win sweetening the pot.
“It’s pretty special to me. I haven’t won a state championship in track before, so it’s nice. The record would have for sure been nice, but it wasn’t meant to be,” she said of the Class C record of 37-10 3/4. Radtke owned a season-best of 37-06 1/2, set at the Western C divisional.
She says she will compete for the Montana Grizzlies next season, participating in the long jump, high jump and triple jump.
Other key winners from Saturday’s State C track and field meet can be found below.
- Zoe Delaney finished her sensational sophomore season by winning the finals of the 100-meter dash. Delaney went 12.70 in the finals, holding off Manhattan Christian’s Faith Shepard (12.88).
- West Yellowstone’s Averi Parker added her second title of the weekend, sweeping the distance races. Parker won the 1,600 in 5:30.80, one day after winning the 3,200. Her older sister, Bailee, holds the class records in each event.
- Kailee Oliverson won the 100-meter hurdles (15.36) and came in second in the 300 hurdles (46.54). Darby’s Casey Ehmann won the latter in 46.46.
- Twin Bridges sealed its third-place trophy in the 1,600-meter relay. Oliverson, Megan Bausch, Michaela Madden and Clancy Phillips placed second in the race behind Fort Benton. Bausch was runner-up in the 400 on Friday, while Madden placed sixth in the long jump.
- Brenna Osksa of Plentywood celebrated a title in the high jump. The junior managed 5-04 on her second attempt, while Ennis’ Jourdan Klein didn’t clear until her third. Neither jumper was successful at the next height, but Osksa won on fewer misses.
- Leah Thompson’s all-class record in the discus fell when Missoula Big Sky’s Brooke Kearns unleashed a throw of 157 feet, but Thompson’s younger sister, Jessica, added another championship to the family. The senior won the shot put, with a mark of 40-09 1/4, three feet better than the runner-up.
- Wibaux added a champion in the girls javelin. Tony Schieffer tossed 133-09 to win the event, holding off Thompson and Belt’s Dani Urick.
- The Manhattan Christian boys added an individual title Saturday. Riley Schott won the 3,200 in 10:07.07, edging Roberts’ Gus Dines (10:08.91).
- Valley Christian’s Ben Tuinstra clocked a 15.54 in the 110 hurdles, squeaking past Scobey standout Riley Linder. Linder managed a 15.56, while Melstone’s Noah Bouchard was third at 15.65.
- Allexander Kosel outlasted the field in the high jump competition. After an admittedly disappointing third-place finish in the long jump Friday, Kosel won the high jump after being the only competitor to clear 6-04.
- Levi Brubaker of Noxon couldn’t rid himself of a large grin after winning the triple jump. Brubaker entered the competition with the No. 3-seeded jump, 42-09 1/2, before bouncing into the sand for a 44-03 on Saturday.
- Noah Ambuehl’s shot put title was never in jeopardy Saturday morning. The Great Falls Central multi-sport star reached a mark of 49-08 1/4, defeating Geraldine’s Mavrick McKinlay (47-03 1/4).
For complete results from the state track and field meets, please click here.