LAUREL — Just a few weeks ago, Polson’s Bea Frissell wasn’t sure what the girls State A record in the 3,200-meter run was. After Saturday afternoon’s race at the State A track and field meet at the Laurel Sports Complex, Frissell’s name will stand alone in the Montana record books.
Frissell pushed the pace from the start and ran alone for nearly the entirety of the race. She crossed the line in 10 minutes, 47.33 seconds, breaking former Belgrade star and current Northern Arizona runner Pipi Eitel’s State A record of 10:56.69, which she set in Laurel in 2017.
“Back in my sophomore year, Pipi Eitel was a goddess, right?” Frissell said after her race. “I even went up to the line and was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’ and I had a lot of doubts running through my mind, but I’m incredibly happy that I got it done.”
Frissell skipped the 800-meter run on Saturday to focus on the 3,200. Although she was No. 3 in Class A in the 800 during the regular season, she knew her strength was in the longer events.
“Ever since I’ve upped my mileage, I really don’t like the middle-distance events anymore,” Frissell laughed. “I think my goal has always been getting my best time, and that was the focus in my head when I dropped the 800.”
Frissell will leave Polson as the most accomplished distance runner in school history. She owns Polson records in both the 1,600 and 3,200 and will have an eye on the younger generation.
“One of my goals my sophomore year was, of course, the state records, but I think my biggest goal is just to inspire girls coming up,” Frissell said. “There’s a few middle schoolers that I’m definitely looking at and going to be tracking as I go through college. I’m really excited to just be a role model for them.”
Glendive’s Karsen Murphy sets State A record in triple jump
Glendive’s Karsen Murphy and Miles City’s Dezi Chamberlin have pushed each other in the girls triple jump throughout the entire season. Murphy wasn’t sure what it would take to win on Saturday, but she knew she would have to work for it.
“When you have your own (personal records) and stuff, that’s one thing to push you. But when you have somebody next to you from another school, it does help a lot,” Murphy said.
Ultimately, the competition pushed Murphy to the State A record. Murphy went 37-11.50 to break the old state record of 37-06.25.
“I didn’t expect it at all (Saturday),” Murphy said. “Before you take your hop phase and you see how close you are to that pit, you just know that that’s a good jump, and I felt it right when I was about to take that jump phase. I knew it was going to be a good one.”
Just a junior, Murphy expects to take the record to another level next year.
“I know what I’m capable of and I know I can go farther,” she said.
Chamberlin would finish in fourth place. Murphy would need all of her record-breaking jump, though, as Dillon freshman Ainsley Shipman jumped 37-01.50 to place second.
Whitefish girls take team title
Whitefish got a huge boost on Friday evening when Mikenna Ells and Lauren Schulz finished 1-2 in the girls 400-meter dash. The Bulldogs built off that performance and continued on their way to the State A girls track and field team title.
Whitefish opened Saturday morning with a win in the 400-meter relay, crossing in 49.72 seconds. The success kept coming on the track, too. Schulz would place fifth in the 100 and second in the 200, and Ells and teammate Ella Greenberg finished 3-4 in the 800.
“Our team is so strong this year. It’s just such a good feeling to have so much success out of the races,” Schulz said. “I’m just really trying to enjoy it.”
Whitefish capped the day with another title, this time in the 1,600-meter relay. The Bulldogs crossed in 4:03.93, well ahead of second-place Havre, which crossed in 4:07.51.
Corvallis’ Calla Haldorson wins 4th consecutive discus title
Calla Haldorson is in a class of her own.
With her win in the State A girls discus on Saturday afternoon, Haldorson became the first girl in Montana history to win four state discus titles.
“(It’s going to sink in) here in a little,” Haldorson said.
Haldorson wasn’t contested throughout the event. Her throw of 147-07 was nearly 17 feet farther than the second-place finisher. She was the favorite throughout the entire season and had felt the pressure.
“It’s been a difficult year for that, but I’m glad I made it,” Haldorson said.
Laurel, Dillon tie for boys team title
With just two events remaining in the State A track and field meet, Laurel led Dillon by just two points for the boys team title.
Dillon promptly won the 1,600-meter relay with a valiant effort from anchor Dylan Cervelli, who passed three other teams on the final lap to give the Beavers the victory.
“I saw everybody in front of me and something clicked. I don’t want to lose it for my guys,” Cervelli said. “Ten points is as good as we’re going to get, so I definitely feel like we did our part.”
Dillon then held an eight-point advantage over Laurel with just the discus remaining.
And that’s where Laurel’s Ely Kraft came in clutch.
Whether he knew it or not, Kraft needed to secure at least a second-place finish in the discus to give Laurel a tie for the team title with Dillon. With his teammates beginning to come over and line the fence to spectate, Kraft knew he needed to perform well.
“It was exciting,” Kraft said. “Throwers don’t get a lot of love. The team’s not over here a lot, so it was nice to have those guys close by.”
The tie was set up by individual champions on each team on Saturday afternoon. Dillon’s Zane Johnson picked up his second consecutive State A triple jump title with a jump of 44-11. That gave Dillon a sweep in all three jumping events, as Johnson won the long jump and teammate Alfred Peterson won the high jump on Friday.
“Especially in long (jump) we do push each other,” Johnson said. “It’s definitely a little competition between each other, but it helps push a lot. It’s the most fun when you’re competing with your own teammates.”
Laurel, though, came storming back in the late afternoon on Saturday. Levi Taylor, who had won the 800 and 3,200 on Friday, won the 1,600 on Saturday to complete the sweep. Laurel then had a pair of sprinters place in the 200 to steal more points.
“I haven’t been feeling good the last few days, kind of been getting a little sickness, so my legs and my lungs weren’t really feeling (going after the record),” Taylor said. “I just tried to be a little more tactical (Saturday) and tried to get the first. Definitely had to make sure I got the 10 (points).”
After Kraft’s runner-up finish in the discus, Laurel and Dillon were deadlocked at 81 points, resulting in Locomotives and the Beavers being named co-State A boys track and field champions.
Miles City’s Keith Vanderlaan overcomes adversity to repeat as State A 100 champion
Nearly a year ago to the day, Miles City’s Keith Vanderlaan was crowned the State A champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Just two months later, Vanderlaan tore the ACL in his right knee during a summer basketball tournament.
It was a long road back, but on Saturday afternoon Vanderlaan won his second consecutive State A 100-meter dash title and let out some pent-up emotion as he crossed the line.
“Two days (after surgery) we were in the gym, in the athletic training room working at it,” Vanderlaan said. “I gained a lot of weight. I had to go through some circuits. There was a lot of rehabilitation to get back to where I am right now. … The community, my school, my coaches, everyone, they believed in me.”
Vanderlaan also tied his personal-best time of 10.89 seconds. He had a slow start to the season due to the rehab, but he peaked at the right time to claim back-to-back titles.
“I’m just happy to have actually gotten back to the state meet after what I’ve been through,” he said. “We just took the timeline, ran with it and did what we had to do.”
Vanderlaan nearly made it a sweep in the 100 and 200 for consecutive years, but Livingston’s Jack Waddell edged Vanderlaan at the line of the 200. Waddell won with a time of 22.46 seconds, while Vanderlaan finished in 22.47 seconds.
For complete results from the Class A state track and field meet, please click here.