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State A/C track and field preview: Several athletes chasing consecutive titles

Posted: 5:30 PM, May 22, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-22 22:05:20-04
Sidney’s Carter Hughes has won back-to-back Class A state titles in the shot put and discus. (ALEC BOFINGER/MTN Sports)

The final weekend of the high school track and field season is nearly upon us.

Throughout the season, the MTN Sports team has highlighted several athletes and teams to keep an eye on. This weekend will pit the best of the best against each other one final time.

There are a handful of state records that could fall this weekend, as well. Laurel’s Levi Taylor could etch his name in the Montana record books on his home track. Noxon’s Levi Brubaker is taking aim at a 43-year-old State C record. Columbia Falls’ Angellica Street has an all-class record within sight, Corvallis senior Calla Haldorson goes for four consecutive discus titles and Seeley-Swan discus thrower Klaire Kovatch looks to rewrite the State C record books.

The State A and State C meets are set to run Thursday-Saturday at the Laurel Sports Complex. The State AA and State B meets are the same days at Legends Stadium in Kalispell. For a State AA/B preview, please click here .

With Thursday’s pole vault events marking the beginning of the state meets, here are the athletes and teams to watch throughout final weekend of the spring sports season.

State A

Boys

  • Dillon enters this weekend as one of the favorites for the State A boys team title. The Beavers are led by tremendous depth in the field events, where Dillon boasts three athletes in the top four of the long jump and the top two in the high jump. Zane Johnson has also posted Montana’s best triple jump to date. Dillon’s 1,600-meter relay team posted Class A’s top time at the Western A divisional track and field meet, where the Beavers were anchored by Class A’s 400-meter dash leader, Dylan Cervelli. Frenchtown and Laurel could pose the biggest threats to Dillon, as Frenchtown’s Jace Klucewich and Laurel’s Levi Taylor could rack up points quickly for their teams.
  • Laurel’s Levi Taylor is chasing the State A boys record in the 1,600-meter run. The current record of 4 minutes, 19.4 seconds was set in 1995 by Havre’s Scott Adams. Taylor has ran faster than that this year, as his time of 4:17.29 at the Midland Roundtable Top 10 trumped Laurel legend Patrick Casey’s school record. Taylor is also taking aim at the 3,200-meter run record, which is 9:13.3 set by Deer Lodge’s Gordon Ruttenbur in 1982. Taylor has the opportunity to break both state records on his home track in Laurel this weekend.
  • Frenchtown sophomore Jace Klucewich is out for a bit of redemption. Klucewich false-started at the 2018 State A meet in the 100-meter dash, costing him a chance at a title as a freshman. Klucewich holds Class A’s top time in the 100 this season at 11.06 seconds, but he’ll have plenty of challengers, including defending State A champion Keith Vanderlaan of Miles City. Vanderlaan has the No. 2 time in the 100 and No. 9 time in the 200 this season after winning both events at last year’s State A meet.
  • Sidney’s Carter Hughes has won State A titles each of the past two seasons in both the shot put and discus. Hughes is searching for three consecutive titles in each event this weekend in Laurel, but he’ll have some stiff competition. He holds Montana’s best shot put mark, but Corvallis senior Garrett Brown and Hamilton senior Jacob Campbell are on Hughes’ heels. Hughes is also taking aim at the State A shot put record of 58 feet, 5 ½ inches set by Chris Emter of Livingston in 2014. Hughes has a mark of 59-06 this season and can etch himself in Montana’s record books with another strong championship performance.
  • Garrison Hughes is no longer at Sidney, but the Eagles still look to have championship-caliber pole vaulters. Christian Dean is tied with Whitefish’s Josh Dudley for the best pole vault in Class A this year at 14-06, and Wyatt Heringer has a vault of 14-00 that is also among Class A’s best. Hughes is gone, but the Class A pole vault title has a chance to stay in Sidney.

Girls

  • The State A girls team title could be one of the most hotly contested races of the weekend. Dillon, Corvallis and Whitefish are the three frontrunners at this point. Dillon will get the majority of its points from Tylia DeJohn and Ainsley Shipman. DeJohn has been the fastest girl in Class A throughout the season, while Shipman has been among the best hurdlers. Corvallis could have several contributors this weekend: Hannah Hutchison, Kailen Herbstritt and Calla Haldorson will need to live up to their regular-season performances to keep the Blue Devils in the hunt. Whitefish should get most of its scoring from Lauren Schulz and Mikenna Ells. Schulz and Ells could score well in the sprints and help Whitefish’s relay teams to place. Freshman Erin Wilde could also contribute in the long jump and high jump, where she ranks among Class A’s top six in both events. Columbia Falls and Lewistown could make their ways into the picture for trophies, too, though they don’t seem to have the depth that Dillon and Corvallis display.
  • Corvallis senior Calla Haldorson is looking to become the first girl in Montana history to win four consecutive state titles in the discus. Haldorson has held the top mark in Class A all season, but she’s likely chasing after the State A record of 154 feet, 10 inches, which was set in 1999 by Polson’s Bree Fuque. Haldorson’s personal best is just more than a foot shy of Fuque’s record, but the adrenaline of chasing a fourth consecutive title could push her past Fuque’s record.
  • Columbia Falls junior Angellica Street set the State A record in the javelin last year with a throw of 147-07. Street recently threw 158-08, which is the longest throw in Montana since the new javelin was introduced by the IAAF in 2002. Street is likely gunning for the all-class state record of 152-08 set by Colstrip’s Hailey Poole in 2016.
  • A pair of girls could break the State A record in the triple jump this weekend. The current record of 37-06 ¼ was set in 2003 by Belgrade’s Kalindra McFadden. Miles City’s Dezi Chamberlin and Glendive’s Karsen Murphy will each have a shot at breaking that this weekend. Chamberlin leads Montana with a jump of 37-04 ¼, while Murphy has jumped 36-10 ¼. In what seems to be a golden era of girls triple jump, Chamberlin and Murphy could be next to break state records in the event.
  • Dillon junior Tylia DeJohn already has six medals from State A track and field meets over the past two seasons. This year, DeJohn has been atop Class A in the 100- and 200-meter dashes throughout the entire season. She’s placed in the top three in both events in each of her first two high school seasons. Her performance in the sprints will be critical for Dillon to have a shot at the team title. She also runs on both Dillon relay teams. The Beavers have won the State A 400-meter relay title each of the past two seasons and, with DeJohn anchoring, will have a shot at a third consecutive this year.

State C

Boys

  • The State C boys team title could be the closest race of any classification. Seeley-Swan, Manhattan Christian and Scobey will likely be the three teams to keep an eye on throughout the weekend. Seeley-Swan will rely on its sprinters to score nearly all of its points. The Blackhawks hold the top time in Class C in both relay events. Manhattan Christian, too, has a competitive relay team, but the Eagles will likely get contributions all over the place. Caleb Bellach could place in the 400 and both the long and triple jump, while Ben Morrison and Riley Schott can score points in the distance events. Scobey doesn’t quite have the depth that Seeley-Swan and Manhattan Christian do, but the Spartans have Martin Farver. Farver has been among the best individual athletes in Class C this season. If Scobey is to have a shot at the team title, Farver will likely need a herculean performance.
  • Noxon’s Levi Brubaker burst onto the scene last season and became the State C triple jump champion. Brubaker is set to take aim at his second consecutive title, but he could solidify his place in Montana’s record books with another big performance. The State C record in the triple jump is 45-07 ¼, which was set by Greg Stene of Columbus in 1976. Brubaker has jumped 45-00 this season and looks to be a real threat to Stene’s record.
  • Melstone senior Brody Grebe has done it all for the Broncs this track and field season. Grebe is among the fastest sprinters in the classification, but he’s also one of the best in the shot put ring and on the long and triple jump runways. Grebe could conceivably lead Melstone to a trophy at the State C meet if he’s able to place high enough in his five individual events.
  • The 100-meter dash is one of Class C’s oldest state records, but Scobey’s Martin Farver could change that this weekend. The current record of 10.96 seconds was set by Power’s Trevor Heckford in 1993. Farver’s best time this season is 11.11 seconds, meaning he’d have to trim nearly a quarter of a second off his time to hit the state record. Farver could also be a four-time champion by the end of the State C meet, as he’s among Class C’s best in the 100, 200, 400 and 110-meter hurdles.
  • Seeley-Swan’s 1,600-meter relay team is the defending State C champion and looks to be even stronger this season. The Blackhawks have led Class C in the event throughout the season and could push for the State C record this weekend. The record of 3:24.00 was set by Ennis in 2016, the same year the Mustangs began their run of four consecutive state titles. Seeley-Swan’s season-best time of 3:27.59 is within striking distance of the State C record.

Girls

  • Seeley-Swan looks to be the strongest girls team at the State C meet this weekend. The Blackhawks are exceptionally strong in the field events, where Terra Bertsch is Class C’s top pole vaulter, Klaire Kovatch is tops in discus and Autumn Morse leads the javelin. Seeley-Swan should also get points in the 400, 800 and 1,600 from Sariah Maughan, who is in Class C’s top four in all three events. Seeley-Swan also has the top 400- and 1,600-meter relay times in Class C. Western C foe Charlo will likely be the strongest contender to Seeley-Swan. Carlee Fryberger and Kaitlin Cox will lead the way for Charlo, but they will likely need help to score enough points to top Seeley-Swan.
  • Seeley-Swan’s Klaire Kovatch won the State C discus title as a freshman last year and is on her way to breaking records this year. The sophomore owns Montana’s best throw this season at 150-02 and has the State C record in sight. The record was set in 2016 by Leah Thompson of Plains at 154-11.
  • Terra Bertsch could get the State C meet started in the right direction for Seeley-Swan on Thursday night as she’ll compete in the pole vault. Bertsch owns Class C’s best vault to date at 10-06 and is within reach of the State C record of 11-00, which was set in 1998 by Kari Wilson of Shields Valley.
  • Winnett-Grass Range junior Zoe Delaney has been among the best sprinters in Class C since joining the high school ranks. Delaney should again be a force at the State C meet, as she ranks No. 1 in the 200, 400 and 800 and is No. 2 in Class C in the 100. Delaney won all four events last weekend at the Northern C divisional meet. She’s the defending state champion in the 100 and 400 and will try to defend those titles in Laurel this weekend.
  • Charlo’s Carlee Fryberger finished runner-up in the 100-meter hurdles at last year’s State C meet. Fryberger currently holds the top time in Class C in the event this season at 15.66 seconds and has been among the best sprinters/hurdlers in the class all spring. Just a sophomore, Fryberger’s reign on the 100 hurdles in Class C could be just beginning.