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What I’ll be watching: Top athletes keep getting better

Posted at 2:36 PM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 16:36:14-04
Jefferson’s Avery Stiles clears 6 feet, 6 inches to win the 2018 State B high jump. (ALEC BOFINGER/MTN Sports)

Montana’s high school track and field athletes posted some outstanding marks over the past week and the list of state qualifiers has grown immensely.

April’s final weekend serves up another weekend full of meets. Top-tier head-to-head matchups highlight the weekend. Several of the state’s best long jumpers will likely meet up, and just how high can Jefferson’s Avery Stiles go?

Missoula Sentinel’s Ashley McElmurry and Miles City’s Dezi Chamberlin have put themselves in position to attain state records in the triple jump after outstanding performances over the past week. Can their improvement continue?

With less than two weeks before district track meets kick off, here are some of the athletes and storylines I’ll have my eye on over the weekend.

Boys

Class AA

  • Butte’s Tommy Mellott claimed the long jump title at the Swede Dahlberg Invitational last Friday and will look to win another title at a prestigious meet on his home track. Mellott, though, will have some stiff competition at Saturday’s John Tomich Invitational as he’ll likely square off against Dillon’s Alfred Peterson. Peterson owns Montana’s No. 2 jump to date at 21 feet, 10 inches. It’s possible Peterson and Mellott join Melstone’s Brody Grebe in the 22-foot club.
  • Saturday’s Manhattan Christian Invitational in Bozeman will potentially feature two of the state’s top 110-meter hurdlers in Bozeman’s Joe Olson and Townsend’s Kameron Rauser. Olson has consistently run below 16 seconds and has a chance to eclipse his season best with the competition he’ll face in Rauser. Rauser has Montana’s No. 4 time this year at 15.24 seconds.

Class A

  • Sidney’s Carter Hughes will face a contender for the Class A shot put title at the Glendive Elks on Saturday in the form of Billings Central’s Marcus Wehr. While Hughes has the farthest throw in Montana this year, Wehr is No. 5. The list of challengers to Hughes grip on the Class A shot put, which he’s won two consecutive years, is beginning to grow. Hughes can affirm his status as the favorite with a strong performance this weekend.
  • Levi Taylor will have a legitimate shot at the State A record in the 1,600-meter run in May. The Laurel senior ran 4 minutes, 21.25 seconds at the Laurel Invite on April 18, which is the fastest time in Montana this season and within reach of the record at 4:19.4. Running at the John Tomich this weekend, Taylor will likely face Frenchtown’s Tyler Schmautz, who owns a top-five time in Montana in the 1,600 and ran the fastest 800-meter run of the season at the Russ Pilcher Top 10 meet (1:58.70).

Class B

  • Avery Stiles set a new meet record at the Russ Pilcher Top 10 when he cleared 6 feet, 9 ¼ inches in the high jump, breaking the record previously held by Helena High’s Trey Tintinger at 6-09. Stiles will be the overwhelming favorite to win at the Fairfield-Belt #2 meet in Great Falls on Saturday, but just how high can Stiles go? He could potentially join Tintinger and Billings Skyview’s Julius Mims as the only high jumpers to go 6-10 this decade.
  • The Fairfield/Belt #2 meet is loaded with teams, which should provide some good matchups in the sprints for Fairfield’s Dawson Allen and Ryder Meyer. Allen and Meyer rank Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, in Class B in the 100-meter dash this season. Allen is also among Class B’s best in the 200-meter dash. But some of Class C’s best sprinters will also be at the meet, as Seeley-Swan and Denton-Geyser-Stanford boast athletes that will push Allen and Meyer.

Class C

  • Seeley-Swan’s Logan Robinson has been the fastest guy in Class C this season, holding the top time in both the 100 and 200. Robinson will likely meet up with Fairfield’s Dawson Allen and Ryder Meyer in both events at the Fairfield/Belt #2 meet on Saturday afternoon in Great Falls. Robinson, Allen and Meyer have all run under 11.35 seconds this season in the 100 and could see those times go even lower this weekend.
  • Melstone’s Brody Grebe became the first athlete this season to long jump 22 feet, but he’ll face some of his best competition all season at Saturday’s Park City/Harlowton Invitational in Laurel. Joliet’s Ry Olson will likely face off with Grebe. Olson owns Montana’s No. 3 jump in the event. The two are also No. 6 and No. 7 in Montana this season in triple jump, with Olson holding a slight edge.

Girls

Class AA

  • Missoula Sentinel, Missoula Hellgate and Kalispell Flathead are set to meet for a triangular on Thursday afternoon in Kalispell. If Sentinel’s Ashley McElmurry and Lauren Heggen compete, keep an eye on their performances. McElmurry and Heggen are pushing 40 feet in the triple jump and are among the state’s best hurdlers and long jumpers.
  • Kalispell Flathead’s Madison Boles was impressive at the Optimist Club Invite in Great Falls last weekend, as she cleared 5-05 in the high jump, Montana’s second-best leap this season. Boles will have some competition at the Whitefish ARM meet on Saturday in the form of Whitefish freshman Erin Wilde, who has cleared 5-03 this season. Competition has brought out the best in Boles so far this season; can it do the same for Wilde?

Class A

  • Miles City’s Dezi Chamberlin leapt into elite status at the Sidney Invitational on April 18. Her triple jump of 37-00 ½ puts her within reach of the State A record of 37-06 ¼. Chamberlin will be the favorite in the event at the Glendive Elks this weekend, but just how far will Chamberlin go? Her 37-foot jump was a personal record (PR) by nearly two feet.
  • Tylia DeJohn isn’t just among the state’s fastest this year, she is the state’s fastest. DeJohn ran the 100 in 12.47 seconds at the Russ Pilcher Top 10 to tie Bozeman’s Delaney Bahn for the fastest time this year. DeJohn will face another tough field at the John Tomich on Saturday, led by Belgrade’s Dalani Brayton, who is among Class A’s top five this year.

Class B

  • Huntley Project junior Emily Poole is among the best discus and javelin throwers in the state this season and has been during her tenure in high school. Poole will likely throw at the Park City/Harlowton Invitational in Laurel on Saturday afternoon, where she’ll be the favorite. Teammate Tristen Sedgwick is also among Class B’s best, though, and could challenge Poole throughout the remainder of the season.
  • Kamdyn Molenda was trounced by Baker’s Wrenzi Wrzesinski for the fastest 100 time in Class B, but the Cut Bank senior will have ample opportunity on Saturday afternoon at the Fairfield/Belt #2 meet to improve upon her time. Molenda will likely meet up with some of Class C’s fastest girls from Chinook and Fort Benton, as well as Havre’s Jessalyn Chvilicek, who is one of only three Class A girls under 13 seconds this season.

Class C

  • Fort Benton’s girls will be a contender for the State C team title in late May. The Longhorns will have a chance to flex their muscles against Class A, B and C schools at the Fairfield/Belt #2 meet on Saturday. With the likes of Havre, Cut Bank, Fairfield and Seeley-Swan in attendance, the girls team race should be exciting.
  • Chester-Joplin-Inverness freshman Tatum Hull has been among the best athletes in Class C this season. She ranks in the top five in three events so far and will have a chance to improve upon her marks at the Fairfield/Belt #2 meet this weekend. Even in a loaded field, Hull could standout this weekend and take another step in proving she’s an athlete to watch in the years to come.