KALISPELL — Missoula County High School was one of the most successful athletic schools in Montana’s history, winning multiple state championships in a variety of sports. But since the school officially became Missoula Sentinel in the 1960s, it had never won a boys track and field state championship. That changed Saturday.
The Spartans tallied an impressive 109 points to lead wire-to-wire over runner-up Billings West, which scored 86 points at the State AA track and field invite at Legends Stadium. Hometown Kalispell Flathead placed third with 70 points.
Sentinel earned a pair of wins from both Jaden Foster and Elias DeWaters, while Rylan Ortt opened Saturday’s portion of the competition with a win in the javelin. Ortt’s throw of 208 feet, 8 inches tied him with Kalispell Glacier’s Evan Todd for the No. 6 throw in the nation this spring.
Todd placed second in the javelin with a throw of 188-07 on Saturday.
“That was super cool. There were a ton of people there, I’ve never seen that many people at the javelin. Every time I heard that, I got more energy, you kind of get butterflies, and you feel like you have to get a good throw for them,” Ortt said of the hundreds that gathered to watch the javelin competition on Saturday morning.
Ortt’s performance set the tone for a Spartans team that was already dominating the team race. Foster, who won Friday’s 400-meter dash, added a win in the 200 Saturday (21.68 seconds) and placed runner-up in the 100 (11.04).
After winning the long jump Friday, DeWaters also added another title on Saturday, with his personal-best 45 feet, 2 inches in the triple jump adding another 10 points for the Spartans.
“That’s super big for us. We had some big performances (Friday) from Elias and Jaden, and both (had) more championships in them (Saturday),” Ortt said of Sentinel’s championship.
Sentinel senior Jace Dewalt added a runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles, while Brock Field finished third in the discus, one day after a second-place effort in the shot put.
BAHN WINS THREE EVENTS IN BOZEMAN ROUT
Delaney Bahn’s new all-class record of 19 feet, 3.75 inches in the long jump on Friday wasn’t the senior’s only celebration this weekend.
The Bozeman do-everything athlete added wins in the 100- and 200-meter dashes on Saturday, outlasting Billings West twins Maddie and Willa Albrecht in both events. Bahn clocked a time of 12.38 seconds in the 100, edging Maddie Albrecht’s 12.42, then set a personal record in the 200 with a 24.72. She also placed fifth in the 100-meter hurdles to go with her third-place effort in the high jump from Friday.
Junior distance runner Terra Trom joined Bahn in the Bozeman win column, recording a victory in Friday’s 1,600-meter run. Saturday Trom was runner-up to Helena High freshman Odessa Zentz in the 800 and ran a leg on Bozeman’s championship-winning 1,600-meter relay team.
“It’s been amazing. I think everyone had amazing progression throughout the season. We knew some people could compete, like Delaney of course, at a really high level, and it was amazing watching her (this weekend), but we’ve seen every girl and boy on the team run, jump and throw the best they could all season,” Trom said. “Everyone progressed really nicely all season thanks to the coaches, so I think that’s the main reason we did well.”
Bozeman’s 112 points bested runner-up Billings West, which scored 86, while Missoula Sentinel was third with 76 points.
MCELMURRY, HEGGEN LEAD SENTINEL TO ANOTHER TROPHY
The Missoula Sentinel girls weren’t expected to defend their Class AA state title over the weekend, but senior Ashley McElmurry and junior Lauren Heggen made sure the Spartans left with a trophy.
The jumper/hurdlers were outstanding again over the weekend, combining for 58 of Sentinel’s 76 points.
McElmurry won both hurdles races, running 14.63 seconds in the 100 hurdles and 44.54, a new PR, in the 300s. She was also second in both the long and triple jumps.
“It’s been the perfect senior year. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better one,” said McElmurry. “It’s been so awesome, and I’m going to miss being a part of the Sentinel track team and I’m going to miss high school sports, too, but I’ve loved it so much.”
Heggen saved her best for last — under pressure, no less — by besting her own all-class record in the triple jump. McElmurry marked 39 feet, 4 inches on her final attempt to take the lead, but Heggen sailed 39-09.25 on her final jump to secure the championship, while improving her record by two inches.
“We did like the last one. My other jumps were a little, my first phase wasn’t as great as it could have been, so I was getting a little frustrated, but I just had to keep my head straight,” Heggen said. “Ashley went ahead of me right before my last jump, so I had to buckle down and use that adrenaline to push me.”
BEN PERRIN, CHANCE SHELDON-ALLEN EARN HOMETOWN TITLES
Ben Perrin ended his family’s high school legacy at Kalispell Flathead on Saturday, adding a 1,600-meter run title to his name. The younger brother of former Braves Zack and Jake Perrin, Ben ran the race in 4 minutes, 19.02 seconds to help Flathead to a third-place finish in the team standings.
“It was awesome. I loved my high school experience, running and everything. This is definitely my favorite part of high school, doing state, training year round for it and everything, but it’s so worth it for moments like this,” Perrin said after winning the 1,600 Saturday. “I was just trying to enjoy the last few hours of the meet and then move on. It was a really fun time and I’m just stoked.”
Flathead also crowned a champion in one of the premier events — the 100-meter dash. Junior Chance Sheldon-Allen ran Class AA’s fastest time of the season, 10.88 seconds, earning a loud celebration from his father, Jeff Allen, at the finish line. Jeff drove from Williston, N.D. to watch his son compete on his home track.
“It was really exciting. I haven’t seen him since state football, so it’s been a while. He drove all the way from Williston, N.D. and I’m just excited he was able to witness this,” said Sheldon-Allen. “It feels amazing because I battled a back injury for five weeks and this is my third week back since the injury. It feels good to run a fast time. I felt loose, my back didn’t hurt, so that was great, especially to show out in front of my home crowd, that’s just amazing.”
For complete results from the State AA track and field invite, please click here.