Flathead races to Dahlberg win, Henderson rules triple jump

By Bruce Sayler

(Photo by Josie Trudgeon Photography.)
Cold and wind were the winners Friday, as so frequently results for high school spring sports in Montana.
Not even the storied Swede Dahlberg Invitational could dissuade. Excitement still ruled, too, though as Flathead High of Kalispell won the last event of the day, the 1,600-meter relay and dashed away with the team championship in the 2024 version of the Butte showcase boys’ meet. It was held on the Charlie Merrifield track at Bulldog Memorial Stadium in the Gene Fogarty Sports Complex at East Middle School.
Flathead wound up with 73 points, to win by two over Helena Capital. Glacier of Kalispell was third with 55 points in the 17-team meet. All 16 Class AA schools entered, as did hometown Class A school Butte Central.
Butte High was ninth with 27 points and Butte Central tallied a point.
Capital held a 65-63 lead over the Braves heading into the last event. The Bruins placed third in the final relay. Gallatin High of Bozeman finished between them.
Sam Henderson scored about half of Butte High’s points. He won the triple jump and placed fourth in the high jump. He marked 45 feet, 9 ¾ inches in outdistancing the triple jump field, concentrating to hard on the effort he didn’t notice whether he was leaping into the wind blowing on the blustery afternoon.
The jump came on his first try in the finals. The Bulldog junior, who sprang a career-best 46-5 last week in Helena, began the event with a 45-1. He then went 45-9 ½ and fouled on his third attempt with an awkward, twisting landing. However, Henderson had cruised into championship flight. All five of his qualified marks in the event were better than what any of his competitors landed.
The 45-9 ¾ in the last flight were followed by distances of 44-3 ¾ and 44-2.
Sean Klem of Billings West as the runner-up with a 41-11 ½ jump.
“I didn’t notice the wind,” he said after descending from atop the awards stand. “I guess if there was any, it wasn’t much. “
It is not unusual to find Henderson in the hurdles races or among the long and high jumpers any given meet day. However, he freely admits to triple jump bias.
“It’s my favorite event and the one I’m best at,” he said. “My goal this year is to jump 47 (feet).”
Such a mark would have tied the meet record Friday. Henderson’s jumps are marked by high bounds toward the pit, thanks much to physical maturity and growth since last spring and experience in competition.
“The theory is that you’re supposed to go higher each time as you (approach the pit),” he said. “Doing it all winter has made me better, I think. I did Junior Olympics last summer and compet6ed in a national meet and have been doing smaller, little meets (indoor) over the winter.”,
Wintry could’ve been a description for Friday’s conditions, though the snow stayed away. Temperatures were in the 30s and the raw wind was no summer breeze.
Still, two longstanding meet records were broken. Aiden Krause of Glacier flung the discus 191 feet, 3 inches to beat the old best mark by 10 feet. The 181-3 previous record was set in 1991 by Marc Gilman of Kalispell Flathead, more than a decade before Krause’s Kalispell school opened.
Even older yet was Dale Huls’ 49-second flat in the 400-meter dash the Bozeman High athlete recorded in the 1981 meet. It stood 43 years until Flathead’s William Hollensteiner clocked a 48.78 Friday.
Henderson cleared 6-0 for fourth place in the high jump, and other Butte High place-winners were Rueso Battermann, second in the 200-meter dash, 22.85; Kyler Stenson, fourth in the discus, 166-3; and Cameron Houchin, sixth in the 3,200-meter run, 10:19.87.
Butte Central’s Jack Keeley placed sixth in the javelin with a chuck of 152-9.
The other event winners were Jeremiah Saari of Capital, 21-8 in the long jump; Timbur Nelson of Missoula Hellgate, 161-4 in the javelin; Evan O’Toole of Billings Senior, 14-0 in the pole vault; Quinn Clark of Gallatin, 6-4 in the high jump; Krause, 55-7 ½ in the shot put; Ethan Anderson, Glacier, 14.33 in the 110-meter hurdles; Ryan Dierenfield of Billings Skyview, 10.72 in the 100-meter dash; Ryan Harrington of Great Falls High, 4:25.34 in the 1,600 and 1:54.03 in the 800; Nash Coley of Gallatin, 38.67 in the 300-meter hurdles; Caleb Conver of Billings West, 22.52 in the 200; Quinn Newman of Missoula Sentinel, 9:26.40; and the Billings West 400-meter relay team, 43.02.
The race of the day was likely Harrington’s win in the 800, nosing out Nathan Neal of Bozeman High at the finish line. Neal timed 1:54.10.
Team scores follow: Flathead 73, Capital 71, Glacier 55, Gallatin 47, Sentinel 37, Billings West 36, Great Falls High 33, Helena High 33, Butte High 27, Great Falls C.M. Russell 22, Missoula Big Sky 21, Hellgate 20, Bozeman High 18, Billings Senior 17, Skyiew 12, Belgrade 4, Butte Central.
Full event results are available on the buttetrackclub.com Web site.