Helena High claims team title at Dahlberg

Helena High got a win in the final event – the mile relay – to pull ahead of Kalispell Flathead and claim the team title at the 2015 Swede Dahlberg Track and Field Meet Saturday at Charlie Merrifield Track at the Gene Fogarty Athletic Complex.

Competition was fierce at the all-male track meet that attracted all 14 Class AA schools. It was Class A power Butte Central, however, that raised some local eyes. The Maroons finished with 28 team points to tie for ninth overall with host Butte High. It took a fifth-place finish by the Bulldogs in the 4×400 relay to earn the final two points and avoid finishing behind Central.

“Hey, Butte Central’s tough,” admitted Butte High head coach Arie Grey. “They’re going to make some noise in the Class A. They’ve got some good throwers and (Kyle) Harrington is a heck of a sprinter.”

Marcus Ferriter and Kaemen Richards finished 3-4 in the discus and 4-5 in the shot put, while Danny Peoples took third in the javelin to lift the Maroons. Harrington’s 11.67 run in the 100 was good for third place, though his preliminary heat time of 11.37 qualified him for the Class A State meet.

“This meet is great experience for us,” said Butte Central head coach Zack Stajcar. “To get out and compete with the best of the best in the AA is great. This gives us something to work harder for at practice.”

Butte High got a big day from senior standout Dalton Daum, who won the 100- and 200-meter dashes, all while running six races on the day. The end was particularly hard, as Daum had just minutes between his win in the 200 and running the second leg of the mile relay.

Daum ran his fastest times of the season in the preliminaries of both the 100 and 200, as both races’ finals came after lunch when the wind was blowing much harder. His clocking of 11.11 in the 100 is the third fastest time in the state this spring, while his 21.87 in the 200 only put him further ahead of the rest of the competition.

“That’s the earliest that Dalton’s been that fast in the 200,” Grey said. “It was a tough day for him, but it was a good day.”

Things didn’t start out tremendously well for the Bulldogs, as their sprint relay team was disqualified after a botched exchange on the far corner between Bo Mortensen and Anthony Cooney. After Cooney’s first reach for the baton failed, he turned to look and take it, but was already out of the exchange zone.

There was never any doubt in the judges’ integrity, but the fact that it was Cooney’s father Scott who raised the yellow flag on the exchange only further showed lack of any favoritism.

Clay Dean took third in the 300 hurdles, clocking in at 41.02, just .15 seconds off his fastest run this year. A stumble on the hurdle at the end of the back curve took him off his race.

“He needs to get the steps down to where he doesn’t stutter,” said veteran hurdles coach Charlie Merrifield. “The 300 hurdles is a rhythm event. If you break the rhythm, then you’re in trouble.”

Dean was solid in both relays, and was also just .08 seconds off qualifying for the 110 hurdles finals. Butte High had another trio of solid showings in the 300 hurdles, as Quinn Dennehy (43.18), Kiley Caprara (43.61) and Bryce Gallagher (44.60) were all in the running. Caprara ran well in the 110s, while Gallagher was just out of the points in taking eighth in the javelin, adding 10 feet to his previous season-best performance with a mark of 147-10.

“We saw a lot of our younger kids in the running today,” Grey said. “They’re getting better and I’m happy with the improvement.”

Stajcar was also pleased with the improvement, if not the consistency, his team is showing.

“Marcus and Kaemen have been consistent in the mid-140s,” Stajcar said. “But to have them come out here and do that today is fantastic.”

Stajcar also lauded Harrington for a solid performance on the day.

“It’s great that Kyle was able to stay smooth and relaxed out there,” he said. “He really ran away with his heat.”

The Maroon sprint relay team of Blake Burton, Tanner Kump, Cole Harper and Harrington shaved almost a full second off its previous best time and qualified for the Class A State meet as well.

Harper and Nate McGree marked jumps of nearly 20 feet in the long jump pits, but neither placed.

“They didn’t have their best jumps, but they competed,” Stajcar said. “Sometimes nerves get to us in a bigger meet like this.”

The pole vault pits were the focal point of the meet for a few minutes, as Helena standout Chase Smith decided to wait for an opening height of 15-6 – five inches higher than the meet record of 15-1. Smith has twice cleared the height, and is rumored to have cleared plenty more at practice, but he was unable in three attempts to make the mark. So, the event was won by Jake Bradford of Billings West at 14 feet, after he failed to mark 14-6, and Smith didn’t place.

Butte High and Central’s next competition will be at the Top 10 meet in Missoula, followed by the Maroons’ Tomich Invitational next Saturday at Charlie Merrifield Track.

Team scores

Individual results


Butte Central's Kaemen Richards throws the discus.
Butte Central’s Kaemen Richards throws the discus.
Butte High's Shannon Tempel runs the 800.
Butte High’s Shannon Tempel runs the 800.
Butte Central's Mike Cooney clears 5 feet, 7 inches in the high jump.
Butte Central’s Mike Cooney clears 5 feet, 7 inches in the high jump.