BILLINGS — Billings West is a track and field powerhouse, and many years the guys doing the heaviest lifting are the ones most suited for it.
“It’s quite special what we have going on here with the atmosphere that’s being created from past throwers,” said West junior thrower Jaden Bienvenue.
This year, Bienvenue and senior Carter Slade are pushing that legacy forward. They’re 1-2 in the discus and shot put in Billings, though each has his preference.
“I’m a shot put guy,” Bienvenue said. “Discus is my little baby brother.”
“I like discus a little bit more than shot put,” said Slade. “Purely because it takes a little bit more technique and skill.”
Skills they’ve each acquired through unorthodox training methods.
“Back in summer, just doing dry spins in my garage, just doing 50 every day,” said Bienvenue. “Every chance I get when I’m not in football.”
“Working at Metra in the barns that they have with shot put and discus,” Slade added.
That’s right — the throwers would go down to the MetraPark barns in the dead of winter, preparing for big moments this spring.
“These barns were pretty cold, but we suffered through it,” Slade laughed. “Once you get going, you’re warmed up and ready to go.”
The other thing that makes Slade and Bienvenue good is each other. They get to go against the best every day.
“It’s a great thing to have competition,” said Slade, “especially someone like Jaden, a big 260-pound lineman.”
“We like to have fun, but competition is serious,” added Bienvenue. “We definitely better each other tremendously, and it shows out here.”
They even look like each other … and that’s no accident.
“For the last two years now, we decided that West High should be represented with the beard and the hair being big,” Slade said of the two’s trademark look. “It was kind of a funny joke at first, but now …”
They say stick with what works, and this clearly does.