BUTTE — It was a steady downpour of rain all day Saturday, but that didn’t stop athletes from competing in the USATF Montana Junior Olympic Championships at Chuck Merrifield Stadium in Butte. Athletes ranged from age 6 all the way to 18.
The soggy, wet conditions affected performances throughout the day. Jefferson High School high jumper Avery Stiles, who won the Class B state championship in the same event in Laurel at the end of May, admitted to how the weather changed his approach. Stiles had previously slipped on a high jump surface in Helena in April, prematurely ending his competition.
“I was very worried about slipping,” Stiles said. “I slipped twice during the season — just worried about it, hurting myself. It was disappointing, but every day is a good day to jump.”
The athletes who took to the track also had to deal with hard rain at times throughout the day. Puddles built up on the track, but that didn’t stop the speedsters from racing around the oval. However, once the races finished, the competitors were once again moving briskly — this time to put their sweats back on to stay warm.
Helena High School high jump coach Andrew Moser expressed his gratitude for the USATF and the opportunities it presents to athletes around Montana.
“USATF has been awesome. It just kind of gives kids a chance to compete against kids across the state if they’re younger than high school. A lot of them don’t get that exposure,” Moser said. “It gradually builds, so that way they can see how they are in Montana, how they are in the region. It’s just awesome it’s even an opportunity for them.”
Competitors who placed in the top five qualified for next week’s USATF Regional Junior Olympic Championships in Provo, Utah.
Full results of the USATF Montana Junior Olympic Championships can be found here.