MISSOULA — The Russ Pilcher Top 10 Meet brings the best track talent from around western Montana to a single competition in Missoula. Among all of those stars, a pair of Missoula Sentinel Spartans still stood out.
No one did more winning at the Top 10 on Tuesday than Ashley McElmurry. Of course, that’s nothing new to the senior Spartan. McElmurry won the 100-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and broke the meet record in the triple jump, soaring 39 feet, 4.25 inches on Tuesday.
“Feel like I separated my phases pretty well,” explained McElmurry. “I feel like I have a lot of improvement, but it felt pretty good.”
McElmurry has finished in the top five at the Class AA state meet in nine events over the past three years, winning the triple jump as a sophomore. The future will take her to the track at the University of Nebraska, but she has big goals for the next month that could have her leave high school with a suitcase full of medals and records.
“I’d definitely like to hit the 40-foot mark for triple (jump), 19 for long (jump), I really want to go 14.4 (seconds) in the (100) hurdles, and 43 in the 300 (hurdles),” said McElmurry. “I feel really good about my baseline marks. I’m really excited to see how the rest of the season goes, but I think it’s off to a pretty good start.”
To continue the theme of understatement, Rylan Ortt has become a pretty good javelin thrower. His toss of 194 feet at the Top 10 was his third victory of at least that distance over the past 10 days. No one else in the entire state has topped 190.
“Three good meets in a row. Everything seemed to click,” said Ortt. “(Tuesday) wasn’t as good. The wind played a little factor. But technique wasn’t there, I didn’t feel like. So we’ve got to get better on that.”
The perfectionist reached the 200-foot mark for the first time in Butte last week and admits he’s now always shooting for that standard. The Spartan senior will play football at Montana State next fall, but the Class AA state runner-up in the javelin the past two years wants to get the timing right before graduation.
“I’ve been throwing my best right now,” said Ortt. “But the goal is to throw my best at state. Last year I threw my (personal record) at divisionals, a week early. So that’s the goal, to throw my best at state and see what happens there.”
Ortt, McElmurry, and the rest of Class AA have May 24 and 25 circled on the calendar. That’s when they’ll gather in Kalispell for this year’s state meet.