Bulldogs, Maroons hit the road for divisionals

Bulldogs, Maroons hit the road for divisionals
Butte High's Anna Trudnowski, left, and Butte Central's Rileigh McGree are shown in these Butte Sports photos.

Athletes from Butte High and Butte Central will head to the northwestern part of the state this week for divisional track meets.

Butte Central will compete in the Western A Divisional meet at the Dr. Nicosia Track Complex at Columbia Falls Junior High. Action begins at 2 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday. (Schedule)

Butte High was supposed to showcase its renovated Charlie Merrifield Track inside the Gene Fogarty Complex for the Western AA Divisional meet. With an eye on the weather forecast, however, Class AA activities directors moved the meet to Kalispell this week.

So, Butte High will compete at Legends Stadium in Kalispell, where the weather is expected to be not great but better than in Butte. Action begins at 2 p.m. Friday and 10:30 a.m. Saturday. (Schedule)

Butte High will take a strong contingent of athletes with them to Kalispell. The Bulldog boys have not lost a dual since their first action of the season at Helena High.

Seven Butte High boys have already qualified for next week’s Class AA State meet in Missoula in at least one event. Seniors Christian Vetter, Tanner Huff and Christian Hansen have qualified in two.

Butte High’s 400-meter relay team has also qualified for State . Huff, Zach Merrifield, Vetter and Rylan Richards posted the best time in the Class AA this year when they ran the race in 43.24 seconds. (Performance lists)

Huff qualified in the 100- and 200-meter races. His time of 22.54 seconds in the 200 is the best in the Class AA this season. His 11.08 in the 100 ranks No. 6. Huff, a future Montana Western football player, also ranks fifth in the javelin with a mark of 164 feet, 6 inches.

Vetter, a future Montana Tech running back, qualified in the 100 and long jump. His jump of 21-3 ¼ is the fifth best in the AA this spring. His 100 time of 11.15 ranks ninth.

Hansen qualified in the long jump and triple jump. He already registered the third-best jump in school history when he went 22 feet, 4 inches at the Western AA Top 10 meet in Missoula. That is the second-best in the Class AA this year. His triple jump of 44-0 ½ is the best.

Cameron Gurnsey, Dylan Snyder, Brennen Blume and Merrifield have also qualified for State. Gurnsey, a sophomore, ranks No. 1 in the Class AA in the high jump at 6-3. Snyder, a junior, is tied for second in the event at 6-2.

Blume, a senior transfer from Anaconda, has a spot locked up in the pole vault. His 14-4 ranks third in the Class AA.

Merrifield, a senior who is nearly two years removed from a gruesome leg injury, qualified in the 100. He is also a threat to move on in the 200.

Other Butte High boys to rank in the top 10 in the Class AA after the regular season are sophomore Jonas Sherman (tie seventh high jump), senior Keagan Gransbery (tie night pole vault), senior Ryan Neil (tie ninth long jump), junior Holt Downey (10th 300 hurdles) and Tucker LeProwse (10th javelin).

Butte High’s boys also rank No. 3 in the 400-meter relay with a time of 3:30.47. Senior Colton Case, Huff, Neil and Hansen ran that race.

On the girls’ side, senior Anna Trudnowski leads the Bulldogs into the postseason. The future Montana State Bobcat reached State qualifying times or marks in the high jump, long jump, triple jump, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and the 400.

She can only compete in five events at divisionals, so she will not long jump. By clearing 5-6 in high jump, Trudnowski ranks No. 2 in the long jump in the AA this season. She ranks third in the 300 hurdles (4612) and triple jump (36-2 ¼) and fourth in the 400 (1:00.08).

Trudnowski also ranks seventh in the 100 hurdles (15.93).

Junior Mollee Conlan (100), freshman Hannah Kluck (triple jump) and seniors Hailey Nielsen (800) and Madalynn Rhodes (javelin) also reached qualifying times or marks this year.

Conlan’s time of 12.71 seconds in the 100 is the third best in the classification this year. Nielson’s 2:23.33 in the 800 ranks No. 8, and Rhodes’ 115-0 is tied for 10th. Rhodes placed fourth in the last Class AA State meet, which was in 2019.

Kluck cleared 5-1 in the last Bulldog home meet to qualify for the final meet.

Butte Central has three athletes who have already qualified for the Class A State meet, which is next week in Laurel. They are junior Rileigh McGree, sophomore Kyle Holter and freshman Ella Moodry.

McGree leads the way for BC. She has already qualified in the 100 and 300 hurdles as well as the long jump.

McGree ranks No. 1 in the Class A in the long jump (17-10 ½), 100 hurdles (15.72) and 300 hurdles (46.37). She also ranks fourth in the 200 (26.33) and sixth in the 100 (12.86).

Of course, McGree comes from a long line of track athletes. Her sisters Rachael (2016 and 2017) and Lindsay (2018 and 2019) won the last four Class A State long jump titles. Rileigh will get the chance to extend that family streak next week.

Moodry also qualified for State in three events, the javelin, 100 and long jump. She ranks No. 3 in the Class A with a throw of 122-6 in the javelin. She also ranks fourth in the long jump (17-3) and eight in the 100 (12.95).

Holter qualified in the long jump, where his mark of 20-5 ½ ranks No. 3 in the Class AA. He also is tied for eighth in the high jump after clearing 5-10.

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