CHICAGO — Rylan Ortt helped Missoula Sentinel to a first at this spring’s Class AA state track and field invite, as the Spartan boys took home the first-place trophy for the first time since the school’s name changed to Sentinel. Monday morning, Ortt added another first to the program’s history.
Ortt, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, was named the 2019 Gatorade Montana boys track and field athlete of the year, the first Missoula Sentinel male athlete to win the award.
Competing in the Class AA state javelin competition the morning of Saturday, May 25, Ortt and the rest of the field were surrounded by a crowd of hundreds at Kalispell’s Legends Stadium. Ortt’s state title-winning throw of 208 feet, 8 inches was nearly 20 feet beyond that of runner-up Evan Todd of Kalispell Glacier, who also owns a personal-best throw of 208-08. The mark ranks No. 6 in the nation for prep javelin throwers this season, according to www.athletic.net.
The 10 points awarded for his first-place finish were a portion of Sentinel’s 109 total team points, helping the Spartans defeat runner-up Billings West (86) and third-place finisher Kalispell Flathead (70).
“Rylan is one of the most dedicated young men I have had the pleasure of coaching, ” said Sentinel head coach Craig Mettler in a Gatorade release. “He leads by example. He has helped transform our program.”
The Class AA state runner-up his sophomore and junior seasons, Ortt increased his personal-best throws 60 feet between his freshman and senior seasons. He also maintains a 3.47 GPA and volunteers as a youth track and football coach.
A fine football player, Ortt, who lined up at quarterback and safety for the Spartans last fall, committed to Montana State University and will compete for the Bobcats on an athletic scholarship in the fall.
“Division I football, I’ve always wanted to play at a high-level, and they wanted me, so I wanted to go there,” Ortt told MTN Sports in the fall.
Ortt joins a prestigious list of Gatorade Montana track and field athletes of the year, following in the footsteps of former Sidney pole vaulter Garrison Hughes, who now competes at the University of Nebraska. Dawson LaRance (Billings Senior, University of Minnesota) and Jake Perrin (Kalispell Flathead, Gonzaga) won the award in 2017 and 2016, respectively.
Ortt is now a finalist for the Gatorade national track and field athlete of the year honor, while also earning the opportunity to award the local or national youth organization of his choice a $1,000 grant as part of Gatorade’s “Play It Forward” campaign. He may also pen an essay for a chance to win one of 12 grants worth $10,000.
Last week, Columbia Falls javelin thrower Angellica Street earned the Gatorade Montana girls track and field athlete of the year honor, after ranking No. 4 in the nation with a personal-best toss of 158-08.