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What I’ll be watching: Premier head-to-head battles on the track

Posted at 10:06 PM, Apr 04, 2019

The track and field season is finally getting into full swing for Montana’s high school teams.

April 6 marks the first big day of the season. There will be several large meets that could potentially feature some tremendous head-to-head matchups between some of the state’s premier athletes. Some of the state’s best athletes, though, will be in Los Angeles at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational.

The Cal Wearley Memorial in Havre served as the kickoff for several teams along the Hi-Line, but the rest of Montana gets in on the action this weekend.

Boys

  • Defending Class B 100- and 200-meter dash and 300-meter hurdles state champion Casey Gunlikson will have some stiff competition on Friday afternoon in Laurel at the Joliet-Park City Invitational. Gunlikson, who has already clocked in at 11.18 seconds in the 100 this year, could face off with Huntley Project’s Austin Hernandez, who Gunlikson narrowly beat in the meet in Billings. Hernandez, though, won the 200. Melstone’s Brody Grebe will likely be joining Hernandez and Gunlikson. Grebe currently owns Class C’s fastest time (11.65).
  • Joliet’s Ry Olson and Grebe could face off in both the long and triple jumps in Laurel on Friday. Olson won the Class B long jump last May, while Grebe placed second in Class C. Olson placed fourth in last year’s triple jump and has already qualified for this year’s state meet. Grebe has yet to triple jump this year but finished third last year in Class C.
  • Frenchtown sophomore Jace Klucewich is out for a bit of redemption this season. Klucewich false-started in the prelims of the 100-meter dash at the State A meet last May. Klucewich, whose 2018 season-best was 11.08, will likely be the favorite should he race at the Frenchtown Invitational on Saturday. Klucewich also placed fourth in last year’s 200 and third in the long jump.
  • Fairfield’s sprinters were impressive at the Cal Wearley Memorial on Wednesday afternoon and can make another strong impression at the Choteau Acantha Invitational in Choteau on Saturday. Dawson Allen and Ryder Meyer have the third- and fourth-fastest times in Class B during the young season. Fairfield also has the second-ranked 400-meter relay team. With several Class B and C teams, the Eagles can make a statement that their sprinters will carry them in the postseason.
  • Carter Hughes has swept the discus and shot put each of the past two seasons at the State A meet. The Sidney senior will likely open on the season at the Wibaux Invitational in Glendive on Saturday afternoon. Hughes would be the favorite if he were to throw, but Glasgow’s Chevy Boos is looking to build off a strong performance at the Cal Wearley and be a challenger to Hughes.

Girls

  • Corvallis standout Calla Haldorson is looking to pick up right where she left off last year. She’ll likely open the season on Saturday at the Frenchtown Invitational. Haldorson won the Class A discus title for the third consecutive year and can etch herself in Montana history with a fourth discus title later this year. The Class A state record will also be in sight this year for Haldorson.
  • Havre’s girls had a variety of winners and placers to win the Cal Wearly Memorial on Wednesday afternoon. The Blue Ponies will need another big day of contributions to take the team title at the Choteau Acantha Invitational on Saturday. Cut Bank has strong performers on both the track and in the field that could be enough to overcome Havre this weekend.
  • A pair of Montana’s premier sprinters could duel on Saturday in Glendive at the Wibaux Invitational. Baker’s Wrenzie Wrzesinski, who has won 11 medals at State B meets over the past two seasons, and Winnett-Grass Range junior Zoe Delaney, who won the 100 and 400 and placed second in the 200 at last year’s State C meet, could potentially meet in the 100 and 200 this weekend. Wrzesinski and Delaney are among the best sprinters in their respective class.
  • Two more tremendous sprinters could do battle on Saturday at the Colstrip Invite. Billings Central sophomore Kellan Wahl, who finished third in the 100 and second in the 200 at last year’s State A meet, and Shepherd senior Maddisen Marema, who won the 100 at the State B meet, will likely face off. It’s an opportunity for both to produce a good time with the outstanding competition.
  • The top two girls pole vaulters at last year’s State C meet will likely square off on Saturday at the Frenchtown Invitational. Seeley-Swan’s Terra Bertsch defeated Charlo’s Tyrah Hammond by jumps last year to win the title. Bertsch, a junior, and Hammond, a senior, will look to establish an advantage early in the season.