KALISPELL — It was a successful run for Class AA track and field athletes over the weekend at Legends Stadium in Kalispell, particularly for some of the hometown athletes. Kalispell Flathead locked up a boys third-place finish as runner Ben Perrin bid farewell to his high school career.
“It was awesome. I loved my high school experience, running and everything,” said Perrin. “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. 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.”
Perrin won both the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs and capped his family’s era at Flathead. Older brothers Zach and Jake left their marks on the Montana track scene, and Ben certainly followed suit.
“I wanted to try to break my, see if I could get my brother’s records, but time is always, especially at state, time is always the secondary goal,” said Perrin, who won the 1,600 in 4 minutes, 19.02 seconds and the 3,200 in 9:25.07. “Your primary goal is always to win, because a state title means so much. Being able to do it on my home track, I couldn’t think of a better way to end it. I’m super stoked.”
Three Braves won individual events over the weekend — Chance Sheldon-Allen in the 100-meter dash, Kyle Calles in the 800-meter run and Perrin — while others like long jump and triple jump runner-up Seth Moon earned key points to help Flathead to the third-place effort.
“I think we kind of came into this as a little bit of underdogs, but everyone has done awesome. Kyle (Calles), we swept the distance events, and we talked about that a little bit, we thought it would help our team’s chance of winning a trophy,” said Perrin. “To be able to do it on our home track, like I said, it’s awesome. Great way to end it.”
Sheldon-Allen clipped his personal record in the 100 to 10.88 seconds to win the event, while also going runner-up in the 200 (21.72 seconds).
“It feels amazing because I battled a back injury for five weeks and this is my third week back since the injury,” said Sheldon-Allen. “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.”
As Sheldon-Allen crossed the finish line, a loud, “We’re state champions,” could be heard from the only person in Legends Stadium more excited than Sheldon-Allen himself — his father, Jeff Allen.
“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,” Sheldon-Allen said.
Jeff Allen and the rest of the stadium played witness to one of the more peculiar traditions in Montana track — Sheldon-Allen hoisting Flathead’s good-luck turtle atop the podium.
“A kid around four years ago, we found it in Helena, so every year it gets passed down,” Sheldon-Allen explained. “It’s our good luck charm, we kiss it before you run and, obviously, it works.”
Apparently it does.