HELENA — Coen Guisti has been to plenty of state track and field meets. But last spring’s was extra special.
“Last year I ended with (a personal best of) 43 feet, 5 inches. I went to state, I didn’t place,” recalled Guisti, a junior at Jefferson High School.
Guisti set a new personal record at last week’s Helena Small Schools Meet, putting 47 feet, 4 inches to win the shot put competition by nearly three feet.
The mark landed him in the top 20 in Montana this spring, but also vaulted him to the top of the Class B ranks, while also making him the lone automatic qualifier in Class B so far this season.
“I wasn’t really expecting to be leading Class B in the state, but it’s a pretty good feeling,” Guisti said. “My goal at the end of this year is to end up getting 50 (feet), so I was pretty satisfied when I threw that 47-04. Next meet, hopefully I’ll go about 48, 48 and a half. That would be pretty cool.”
Don’t doubt him. Guisti’s older brothers, Tate and Hayden, were fine athletes for the Panthers and instilled a work ethic and mentality that has allowed Coen to shine, as well.
“They taught me to be tough, work for what you want and it will come if you work hard enough,” Coen said of his older brothers.
So far, it’s paying off. Coen Guisti will head back to the Class B state meet later this month with expectations of placing, not just competing. While he hopes to also qualify in the discus – he’s about seven feet shy of the qualifying standard of 137 feet – Guisti is already focused on another mark.
“For shot put, I’m hoping to beat the school record. That’s 55-10.25, so I’m hoping to get about 56, 57. That would be pretty cool,” he said. “Adam Cordeiro (currently has the school record).”
Cordeiro, the former three-time Class B shot put champion and Montana State Bobcat football player, set the bar for Guisti, who won’t shy away from his goals of crossing it. He has the strength, but he’s also working on speed, as showcased in the final heat of the 100-meter dash at the Helena Small Schools Meet.
“The Small Schools Meet, that’s what it’s all about, coming out here and having fun. I got my butt whooped, but that’s all right. It was by a fellow teammate,” Guisti laughed after clocking his 13.84. “It was fun, it was fun.”
Maybe that’s another key to Guisti’s success – the fun factor. Older and wiser, stronger and faster, and having loads of fun, he’s motivated for his return to the state track meet, May 24-25 in Kalispell, where standing on the podium would be a nice addition.
“I don’t know, I can’t tell you. But I bet it would be pretty cool,” he said.