With the Easter Holiday break in the rear-view mirror, there are just two full weeks remaining before district track meets ramp up, beginning with District 2C on May 7 in Lambert.
This past weekend, though, saw several athletes post state-best marks in some of the year’s most prestigious meets. Missoula Sentinel’s Rylan Ortt became the first javelin thrower to eclipse the 200-foot mark this season, while Melstone’s Brody Grebe became the first athlete to long jump more than 22 feet.
Bozeman’s Delaney Bahn set a new Memorial Stadium record in the long jump at the Optimist Club Invitational in Great Falls over the weekend. Bahn also thrust herself into the top 10 nationally with her leap.
With another busy week of high school track in the books, here are a few of the marks and performances from last week that caught my eye.
- Missoula Sentinel’s Rylan Ortt wasn’t concerned with the Swede Dahlberg Invitational meet record in the javelin, even though he was just 14 inches away. Ortt launched a throw of 200 feet, 10 inches in prelims and decided not to throw in finals en route to winning the event. Ortt became the first athlete this season to throw the javelin 200 feet and now has a 13-foot advantage on 2018 State AA javelin champion Evan Todd of Kalispell Glacier.
- Jaden Foster was perhaps the biggest surprise for Missoula Sentinel at the Swede Dahlberg Invitational, which the Spartans won. Foster set a new state-best time in the 100-meter dash, clocking in at 10.94 seconds in the finals to win the event. Foster became just the second Montanan to run under 11 seconds this season, as Billings West’s Connor Ryan ran 10.96 in prelims of the Swede Dahlberg. Foster also won the 200 at the Dahlberg, posting Montana’s No. 2 time at 22.34.
- Sidney’s Carter Hughes will have some serious competition in the shot put this season. Corvallis senior Garrett Brown marked the second-best throw in Montana this season at last week’s Sapphire Twilight Invitational, where Brown threw a personal best of 55-00. Brown finished fourth at last year’s State A meet in the shot put and looks like a serious challenger to Hughes’ chances at a third consecutive title in the event.
- Miles City’s Keith Vanderlaan made his presence felt for the first time this season at the Sidney Invitational on April 18. Vanderlaan posted his best times of the season in the 100 and 200, both of which he won at the State A meet last spring. Vanderlaan’s time in the 100 ranks him second to Frenchtown’s Jace Klucewich, while his 200 time sits No. 5 in Class A. Vanderlaan, though, is likely just beginning to heat up this season.
- Kameron Rauser had his best meet of the year for Townsend at last weekend’s Gallatin Valley Invitational. Rauser, who finished fifth in the 200 and third in the 400 at last spring’s State B meet, posted personal bests in both the 110-meter hurdles (15.24 seconds) and 100 (11.51). Rauser also ran 51.15 in the 400, Class B’s No. 3 time to date. His 110 hurdles time ranks No. 2 in Class B behind Huntley Project’s Bradley Graves. One of Class B’s finest all-around sprinters, Rauser could just be getting started climbing up the Class B performance lists.
- Red Lodge junior Zach Russell holds a nearly two-foot advantage in the Class B triple jump over No. 2-ranked Cooper Waters of Missoula Loyola. Russell has jumped more than 42 feet in all three of his meets this season, while no other Class B athlete has hit that mark all year. His leap of 43-04.25 sits No. 4 among all classes in Montana this season.
- Melstone’s Brody Grebe is strong across several different events, but there’s only one where he leads the rest of the state. After his long jump of 22-00.25 at the Laurel Invite on Thursday, Grebe is the only athlete in Montana to eclipse the 22-foot mark in the event. Grebe is in Class C’s top 10 in several other events and will have a shot at leading Melstone to a trophy at the State C meet in May.
- Manhattan Christian, too, will have a shot at a trophy at the State C meet in May, but it will be largely due to the success of its distance runners. Riley Schott and Ben Morrison posted Class C’s top two times in the 3,200-meter run over the weekend at the Gallatin Valley Invitational. Morrison also owns Class C’s No. 3 time in the 1,600. Schott, a sophomore, won the 3,200 at last year’s State C meet while Morrison placed sixth.
- Bozeman’s Delaney Bahn has a long jump mark farther than any girl in Montana history. Bahn jumped 19-11.25 at the Optimist Club Invitational in Great Falls last Friday, setting a new Memorial Stadium record in the process. According to the Montana High School Association, Bahn is the only girl with multiple jumps over 19 feet. Her jump is also No. 8 nationally, according to www.athletic.net. Bahn will now have her sights set on the all-class state record of 18-11.75, set in 2001 by Dillon’s Julie Lenenger.
- Missoula Sentinel’s Ashley McElmurry will be chasing her own teammate for an all-class record come late May, as Lauren Heggen set the triple jump record last year. McElmurry set a new state best in the triple jump at the Optimist Club Invitational, leaping 39-09.75, which was also a new personal best. McElmurry also had a long jump of 18-11 overshadowed by Bahn’s record-setting performance. The Sentinel senior is coming off runner-up finishes in each event last season.
- Rather unexpectedly, the girls Class A triple jump record of 37-06.25 set in 2003 by Kalindra McFadden of Belgrade could be in jeopardy. Miles City’s Dezi Chamberlin set a new state best with a jump of 37-00.5 at the Sidney Invitational on April 18. Previously, Chamberlin’s personal best was 35-00, set at the Billings Invitational on April 13. Chamberlin, a senior, will take aim at McFadden’s record at the State A meet in May.
- Dillon’s Tylia DeJohn continues to be the fastest girl in Class A. DeJohn ran the 100 in 12.49 seconds at the Gallatin Valley Invitational last Friday to improve upon her state-leading time. DeJohn was Class A’s fastest girl throughout the entirety of last season, too, but finished second at the state meet. The 12.49 from DeJohn also represents a personal best. She also has Class A’s fastest time in the 200 at 26.00.
- Baker’s Wrenzi Wrzesinski has 11 state medals over the past two seasons and appears set to add to her collection next month. She had another phenomenal day at the Sidney Invitational, where she set new personal bests in the 100 (12.68) and long jump (16-09). Wrzesinski also improved upon her Class B-leading time in the 100-meter hurdles (15.47). Wrzesinski now leads Class B in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and is second in long jump.
- Colstrip’s Whitney Hanson moved to the top of Class B in the 1,600 over the weekend, as she won the Laurel Invite in 5:29.45. Hanson, too, is looking to add to her collection of state medals, which currently stands at seven. Hanson is known for her strength in the 800, as she placed second in the event at the State B meet last spring. Hanson holds Class B’s top time in the 800 and 1,600 this year and is No. 2 in the 3,200.
- Darby’s Casey Ehmann became the first Class C girls hurdler to qualify for the State C meet in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles. Ehmann won both events at the Seeley-Swan High School Invitational on Saturday. Her time of 16.43 seconds in the 110 hurdles is behind only Seeley-Swan’s Terra Bertsch (16.39), and her time of 47.60 in the 300 hurdles is the top time in Class C. Ehmann is looking to defend her State C title in the 300 hurdles, which she won in 46.46 last year.
- Sophomore Klaire Kovatch has been a big source of Seeley-Swan’s success so far this season. The defending state champion discus thrower holds the longest throw in the event in Class C this season, a throw of 136-11 at the Seeley-Swan High School Invitational on Saturday. Kovatch is far and away the favorite in the discus this year and will be seeking her second Class C discus title in as many years.