KALISPELL — The Huntley Project boys track and field team had lofty expectations entering the weekend’s Class B state track and field meet at Legends Stadium. The Red Devils didn’t shy away from them on Friday.
Huntley Project scored 36 points on Day 1 of the meet, 11 better than second-place Manhattan. The Red Devils won two events to open their lead.
Chris Kistler set the tone in the boys pole vault, soaring over the bar at 13 feet, 9 inches to tie a personal-best clearance. The state favorite entering the meet, Kistler’s second attempt at 14-03 was close but not enough to beat his PR.
Later in the day, Kistler and the Red Devils watched as Journey Grimsrud won the discus competition after also being favored. Grimsrud marked a throw of 151 feet, 2 inches to defeat teammate Isaiah Bouchard, who recorded a PR of 147-03.
The Red Devils’ 400-meter relay team, which consisted of Mitchell Burns, Bradley Graves, Asher Croy and Austin Hernandez, posted the fastest preliminary time in the event by nearly a full second, crossing the finish line in 42.94 seconds.
PHOTOS: STATE AA, B TRACK IMPRESSES FRIDAY
Huntley Project will likely load up on points Saturday, too, especially in the 110-meter high hurdles where Graves, Noah Bouchard and Chris Huse recorded the top times in Friday’s prelims. Hernandez had the third-fastest prelim times in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Big Timber’s Casey Gunlikson posted the fastest times in both events, narrowly missing the class record in the 100. Gunlikson ran a 10.99, while the record is 10.90.
Manhattan was led by Wyatt Barney and Bryce Love’s one-two finish in the 800-meter run. Barney broke away down the stretch, winning with a time of 1 minute, 57.91 seconds, while Love’s time of 1:59.62 was good for runner-up honors. Love and Zak Meeker also earned points in the 1,600, with Meeker placing fifth and Love sixth.
Glasgow’s Ellis McKean won the 1,600 in 9:59.52.
Other winners included Jefferson’s Avery Stiles, who captured the long jump title with a bound of 22 feet, 3 inches. Stiles is likely to win the high jump competition on Saturday, entering as the lone Class B competitor to clear 6-09, though Huntley Project’s Noah Bouchard boasts a jump of 6-08.
Fairfield also earned an individual win in the boys javelin, with Dawson Allen’s toss of 177 feet, 3 inches the top mark Friday morning.
As expected, the Class B girls team race was the closest after Day 1, with Deer Lodge and Three Forks tied for the lead. The Wolves were led by freshman Keaton Lynn’s win in the long jump (17-00.25) while the Wardens utilized Kamryn Scully’s victory in the pole vault on Thursday evening.
Cut Bank and Glasgow are tied for third place, both with 16 points after the opening day. Glasgow’s Emily Kolstad won the 400-meter dash in the final Class B event of the day, posting a time of 59.34 seconds, while Cut Bank’s Kamdyn Molenda was second in 59.91.
Molenda’s 12.82-second time in the 100 prelims was the fastest on Friday, while she also enters Saturday’s 200-meter dash finals with the fourth-fastest time.
Colstrip finished Friday in fifth place behind Whitney Hanson’s win in the 1,600-meter run. Hanson clocked a time of 5:12.57, setting a new school record, to earn the Fillies 10 points toward the team standings.
“(That’s) really awesome, especially because it’s my senior year. I’ve had this goal, I wrote it on a piece of paper and stuck it on my bedroom ceiling, so (it’s) really cool to hit that goal,” Hanson said.
Hanson will seek more points Saturday in the girls 3,200-meter run, as will teammates Hayley Burns and Zoey Stroop. Hanson is also expected to earn points in the 800, posting the fastest seed time (2:20.20) of all competitors. Freshman Gracie Bradley could also increase Colstrip’s odds of earning a team title with points in the 100 and 100 hurdles on Saturday.
“It’s really awesome to be part of a team that’s doing really well this year. It’s cool to be able to contribute to that,” said Hanson.
Baker will be another team to keep an eye on Saturday. The Spartans mustered only eight points Friday behind standout Wrenzi Wrzesinski’s runner-up finish in the long jump (16-11.50), but Wrzesinski clocked the fastest prelim times in the 200 and 100 hurdles, as well as the No. 3 time in the 100. She and teammates Ashlyn Lutts, Katie Wang and Anika Ploeger enter Saturday with the fastest 400-meter relay time (50.18 seconds).
For the updated team scores and complete results from Friday’s State B track and field meet, please click here.