KALISPELL — Many western Montana stars climbed to the top of the podium at state track and field meets. Now we recognize the KPAX Athletes of the Week from the Class AA and B meet in Kalispell.
The Missoula Sentinel boys raced to an early lead and then cruised to history. The Spartans won a team title for the first time since it was still called Missoula County High School back in 1964, thanks to a pair of individual sprint titles from Jaden Foster (200-meter dash in 21.68 seconds, 400-meter run in 48.98 seconds), two more in the jumps from Elias DeWaters (22 feet, 5 1/2 inches in long jump, 45-02 in triple jump), and a long-sought javelin crown for Rylan Ortt.
“There were a ton of people there, I’ve never seen that many people at the javelin,” Ortt said after his winning 208-08 heave. “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.”
The defending champion Sentinel girls came home with a third-place trophy this time, but that accomplishment might have been just as impressive. The Spartans lost a ton of depth off of last year’s powerhouse team, so two stars did most of the scoring. Ashley McElmurry won both hurdles races (14.63 seconds in the 100 hurdles, 44.54 seconds in the 300 hurdles) and finished second in two other events, the long jump and triple jump.
Sentinel’s Lauren Heggen broke the all-class state record she set last year in the triple jump, bounding 39-09 1/4.
“Even though we might not have that No. 1 spot secured, we can still compete for second and third, and we can never really count out championships,” said Heggen about her team’s performance. “You just have to come in with them mindset that you’re going to compete.”
“It’s been the perfect senior year,” said McElmurry after her last high school track meet. “I honestly couldn’t ask for a better one. 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.”
Missoula Hellgate’s Piper Pfister brought one more title to the Garden City, winning the girls javelin with a toss of 130-01.
A handful of Kalispell athletes shined in their hometown meet. Flathead’s boys finished with a third-place trophy. Chance Sheldon-Allen sprinted to first in the 100-meter dash in 10.88 seconds.
“I battled a back injury for five weeks and this is my third week back since the injury,” said Sheldon-Allen, who also took second in the 200 meters behind Foster. “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.”
While Ben Perrin added to his family legacy with two more distance championships, crossing the line in 4 minutes, 19.02 seconds in the 1,600 meters and 9:25.07 in the 3,200.
“A state title means so much,” said Perrin, who finishes high school with three individual crowns and a state cross country championship. “Being able to do it on my home track, I couldn’t think of a better way to end it.”
Kyle Calles gave Flathead another win in the 800 meters in 1:58.76, and Madison Boles gave the Flathead Bravettes a title in the high jump, clearing 5-05 and winning on a tiebreaker.
Glacier’s Drew Deck won the 300 meters in 38.98 seconds, and Bigfork’s Ashton McAnally won near her home town, topping the podium in the Class B girls shot put with a throw of 38-05 3/4.