KALISPELL — The Class B state track and field record books will need to be re-printed before next year’s state meet in Laurel.
Multiple class records fell during Saturday’s State B track and field meet at Legends Stadium, including one all-class record on the track.
Huntley Project hurdler Bradley Graves clocked a time of 14.14 seconds in the 110-meter high hurdles, breaking a 35-year-old record held by former Cascade standout and current Carroll College track and field coach Harry Clark, as well as the 2000 all-class record set by Helena Capital’s Matt Larson.
Graves’ time bested Clark’s 14.54 from 1984, the third-oldest boys record in the classification, while also topping Larson’s 14.21 from the 2002 state meet in Butte.
“I knew it felt really good, so I was pretty pumped up about it. I knew I was probably going to win, but it was going to be tough to get that record. But I knew as soon as I crossed that line, it felt super good. I was just hyped about it,” said Graves, who also placed runner-up in the 300 hurdles. “That’s been a goal of mine for three years, ever since my freshman year ended not the way I wanted to, I just set a goal for myself and that was to run as fast as I could and chase that record.”
The new record set by Graves was only a portion of Huntley Project’s success over the weekend. The Red Devils took the top three spots on the podium in the 110 hurdles, with Noah Bouchard (14.94 seconds) and Chris Hust (15.13) placing second and third, respectively.
Bouchard won the high jump, clearing 6 feet, 8 inches, and the Devils won both relays en route to a Class B state record 122 total points. Manhattan was runner-up with a distant 43 points, while Townsend (41) placed third.
“That’s the end goal, really, to get that team title,” said Graves.
HUNTLEY PROJECT, BAKER GIRLS SHARE TEAM TITLE
Huntley Project will hang two state championship trophies in its building after the Red Devil girls shared the Class B state championship with Baker. The Red Devils led the Spartans by two points entering the final event of the afternoon, the 1,600-meter relay, but Baker placed first and Huntley Project second, leaving the teams with an identical 74 points.
Huntley Project won only two events in the girls meet — the discus on Friday and javelin on Saturday — with both wins coming from junior throwing sensation Emily Poole. Her 125 feet, 8 inches clinched the discus title on Friday, but she added 10 points following her 140-11 in the javelin. She also placed fourth in the shot put.
The Red Devils also received 31 points from freshman Macee Murphy, who placed runner-up in the 200 and both hurdles races. Murphy was third in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump.
WRENZI WRZESINSKI WILLS BAKER TO SHARE OF TEAM TITLE
Wrenzi Wrzesinski didn’t plan on holding anything back in the final meet of her high school career, and the Baker standout stayed true to her plan on Saturday.
Wrzesinski capped her stellar high school career with wins in the 200-meter dash, both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles and ran on both state championship-winning relay teams for the Spartans to help Baker tie for first in the team race.
“I’m really happy with it. There’s always, I feel a lot of pressure going into it, but once it’s all over it’s definitely worth it. It’s a big sigh of relief,” she said. “I’m definitely most happy about the (team) title, though. I think it’s a lot better to experience it with a whole team than just yourself.”
After posting Friday’s fastest preliminary times in the 200-meter dash and 300 hurdles, Wrzesinski began Saturday by helping the Spartans win the 400-meter relay in 50.57 seconds, then ran the 100 hurdles in 15.37 seconds and posted a time of 45.84 seconds in the 300s less than two hours later. She placed third in the 100, but set a new personal-best time of 26.09 seconds in the 200 before anchoring the final leg of Baker’s championship-clinching 1,600-meter relay team.
BIG TIMBER’S CASEY GUNLIKSON SLAYS TWO CLASS B RECORDS
If Casey Gunlikson was disappointed on Friday, fans at Legends Stadium would have never known.
The Big Timber sprint and hurdle star missed the Class B 100-meter dash state record by 0.09 seconds during Friday’s prelims but turned his focus to Saturday, where he improved his 2019 state best time by running 10.87 seconds, a new Class B state meet record.
Gunlikson’s mark erases the old standard ran by Troy Estell of Fort Benton in 1987.
“It feels awesome. That’s my favorite race, for sure, because it’s the fastest, it’s the quickest. You do it and get it over with. Just doing it, that was pretty fun,” said Gunlikson.
The future Montana State runner set another classification state record in the 300 hurdles, his 38.11-second mark replacing former Huntley Project athlete Clark Cranford’s 38.31 from 2006. Gunlikson’s 21.80 in the 200-meter dash would have been a state record, but meet officials determined the race was wind-aided, leaving Estell as the record-holder with a 22.22.
Gunlikson scored 36 individual points, nearly sending Big Timber to the podium. The Herders placed fourth, one point shy of third-place Townsend’s 41 total points.
For complete results from the State B track and field invite, please click here.