BUTTE — Hometown kid Tommy Mellott could not have scripted Friday’s long jump at the Class AA boys Swede Dahlberg Invitational track and field meet any better.
The Butte junior marked the second-best jump in prelims behind Great Falls High’s Gabe Longin and still trailed Longing by half an inch headed into his last jump in finals. But Mellott remained focused and lept 21 feet, 4 inches, a season best and a winning jump by 0.25 inches.
“(Longin and I) have been competing since freshman year. All those meets, we’ve always been back and forth,” Mellott said. “That last jump I was excited because I knew I had one more opportunity. I knew I could get out there, it was just a matter of if I got my foot down and I finish well.”
Longin was the first to congratulate Mellott on the jump, as the two shared a high-five and some smiles.
“When you’ve got a competition like that, two kids going at it like that, it’s awesome. You’ve got to respect the other kid the entire time, because a quarter of an inch? That’s just where you’re at on the board, you know?” Mellott said. “I really wanted to show out. It’s the Dahlberg, it’s a big meet. It’s a great day to come out and compete at the Dahlberg, I love it. It’s in Butte, so that’s awesome.”
Mellott didn’t jump in the same flight as Longin and Missoula Sentinel’s Elias Dewaters, because Mellott hadn’t had a mark in his first two meets this season. He had scratched his first seven jumps of the year, and after scratching his first on Friday, doubt began to creep in.
“I’ll be lying if I said it hasn’t been in my mind a little bit, being able to place last year and coming into this year with eight straight scratches,” he said. “The Dahlberg, divisionals and state are the three meets that really matter. … I think I’m where I need to be right now.”
Mellott also added a second-place finish in the 200-meter dash, clocking in at 22.65 seconds, Class AA’s third-fastest time to date.
Missoula Sentinel’s Jaden Foster sets state bests in 100, 200
Missoula Sentinel junior sprinter Jaden Foster did not expect to see himself as Montana’s fastest guy. But after a pair of scintillating races on Friday afternoon, Foster has done just that, at least for now.
Foster cruised to victory in the 100, glancing over both shoulders to check his competition before crossing the finish line in 10.94. He then gave out multiple fist pumps in excitement as he looked at the scoreboard showing his time.
“I never thought I was going to run that fast,” Foster said. “I got (looking over my shoulders) from Usain Bolt, just to see where everyone is at. … My coach is the one who got me here. Hard workouts every day.”
Foster added another victory in the 200, clocking in at 22.34, No. 2 in Class AA. Foster was an essential part of Missoula Sentinel’s first-place performance on the day, as the Spartans finished with 87 points, three clear of second-place Billings West.
Missoula Sentinel’s Rylan Ortt unleashes monster javelin throw
Last spring’s second-place finish in the Class AA javelin has pushed Missoula Sentinel’s Rylan Ortt to another level. Ortt launched the javelin 200-10 to win the Swede Dahlberg on Friday and is currently No. 4 in the nation with that toss.
Ortt’s winning throw came in prelims, and he did not throw in finals despite being 14 inches away from the meet record.
“Our goal was just to come in, win the meet. We didn’t need to throw in finals. Try not to get hurt, keep our body safe,” Ortt said of not chasing the meet record.
Kalispell Glacier’s Evan Todd got the better of Ortt at last year’s state meet, but it’s been Ortt on top of Class AA for the majority of 2019.
“We’re both great competitors,” Ortt said. “He’s going to pop one off really soon, I know that already. It’s just who throws good at state pretty much.”
Kalispell Flathead’s Ben Perrin sweeps 1,600, 3,200
Kalispell Flathead standout Ben Perrin was pushed in both distance races on Friday afternoon, but the 2018-19 Gatorade Montana cross country runner of the year found a way to prevail.
Perrin opened the Swede Dahlberg Invitational by winning the day’s first event, the 3,200. Perrin and Great Falls CMR’s Gordon Gentry opened up a sizeable lead over the rest of the pack early and were in a race by themselves down the stretch. Perrin started to pull away throughout the last lap and crossed in 9 minutes, 46.94 seconds, just over six seconds ahead of Gentry.
“It was a good race. It was fun getting out there and competing,” Perrin said. “(Gentry) was right behind me. I was trying to stay ahead. I could hear people cheering for him and hear his footsteps, so it’s always nice when you have that extra incentive to go faster.”
The 1,600 was even tighter for Perrin. He and Missoula Hellgate’s Ian Curtis separated themselves early and remained just meters apart throughout. Perrin was able to hold off Curtis on the final straightaway, crossing in 4:31.33 to Curtis’ 4:32.57
- Billings Skyview’s Julius Mims won the high jump rather easily. Mims came in at 6-02 and was the only athlete to clear that height. Mims cleared 6-06 before going for the meet record of 6-10.25 set in 1993 by Missoula Hellgate’s Mark Koefelda, moving the bar up to 6-11. Mims missed on all three attempts. Also of note, Helena High’s Trey Tintinger did not jump.
- Elias Dewaters had a strong afternoon for Sentinel, winning the triple jump and placing third in long jump. Dewaters leads Class AA in triple jump, and teammate Connor Chalmers, who placed third on Friday, sits second.
- Adding to Missoula Sentinel’s exceptional performance was junior Brandon Spencer. Spencer won both the shot put (48-11.5) and discus (158-05) to tack on 20 points for the Spartans.
- Kalispell Glacier’s Drew Deck ran personal best in the 300-meter hurdles, finishing first in 39.53. Deck now sits second in Class AA this season in the event. Deck also placed third in the 110-meter hurdles.
For full results of the 2019 Swede Dahlberg Invitational click here.