The day was sunny, unusual for this time of the track season during most of the past several years. Friday was also a little bit on the quiet side for the Butte Central contingent competing in the state Class A meet going on this weekend at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
The meet is being held in conjunction with the state B championships at the facility.
Junior shot putter Kaemen Richards was the Maroons’ only place-winner on Friday and freshman Rachael McGree was only a quarter inch out of an awards stand appearance in the girls’ long jump.
Several BC contestants qualified from Friday’s heat trials into Saturday’s finals on the stadium’s Charlie Merrifield Track and, therefore, will be doing their best to warm up that surface on the meet’s last day. A lot of chances to score points will be at hand.
The power came from the Bitterroot Valley on Friday as the Hamilton boys and the Corvallis girls raced to the early team leads. Corvallis the defending girls’ team champion.
One Friday event was not yet completed. The Class A boys’ pole vault had been scheduled for Saturday but was moved to Friday evening when meet officials became concerned with a weather forecast for Saturday rain. So, three pole vault competitions were held Friday. The Class B girls will vie in the event on Saturday, weather permitting.
So, with the Class A boys’ pole vault yet to report, team standings showed Hamilton atop the boys’ pile with 35 points, 15 ahead of Corvallis. Belgrade was third with 18. The Corvallis girls tallied 57 points for a 34-point margin over second-place Whitefish. Dillon and Hardin were tied in third placed with 18 points each.
Class B totals through the first day showed Plains ahead in the boys with 26 points while Manhattan was second with 20 ad Bigfork third with 18. In the Class B girls’ events, Manhattan stacked 36 points while Glasgow was next high with 25 and Troy third with 23.
Richards marked his placing early. He tossed the sphere 46 feet, 1 ¼ inches to edge teammate Marcus Ferriter by half an inch for the sixth-place spot. The shot put winner was Livingston’s Chris Emter with a Class A record throw of 58-5 ½. The old mark was 57-2 by another Livingston contestant, Mark Olson, in 1988.
McGree was painfully close to placing. The one big pop she needed and tried to gather just never materialized as she never quite seemed to be able to get loose. The effort, just not the desired result, was certainly there.
The winning jump came during flights when Belgrade star Madi Page sprang a 17-3 ¾ mark in the third group. The mark held, far and away the best in the event, and was also what Page had registered earlier this spring to gain the top seed coming into the state meet.
McGree also jumped in the strongest flight, the third group. She was the No. 3 seed with a personal season best of 16-11 ¼. Her jumps in the flight were 15-5, 14-1 ¼ and 15-9 ½. The latter came out being her best of the day and nearly sent her to the awards stand.
However, Hamilton 6-2 senior Sami Kratofil owned a jump of 15-9 ¾, also from the third flight, to survive two scratches in the finals and edge out McGree for sixth place. More individual best jumps of the day were recorded in flights than in the finals. Marlow Schulz was second with a 16-8 leap she nailed in the second heat.
Chandra McCurdy of Butte Central was another almost placing. She chucked 110-8 for eighth place in the Class A javelin. Bethany Rides Horse of Hardin won at 135-9 while the sixth-place mark was 114-7 by Olga Mogen of Livingston.
Maroon qualifiers for Saturday track include Kyle Harrington in the boys’ 100- and 200-meter dashes, McGree in the girls’ 100-meter hurdles and the Butte Central 400-meter girls’ relay team of Abby McGee and three McGrees — Rachael, Lacey and Whitney. More Butte Central athletes will be vying in field events.
Other Class A event winners Friday were Josie Pendleton of Dillon, girls’ shot put; Brock Butcher of Lewistown, boys’ 400 meters; Emmitte Dusty Bull of Browning, boys’ 800-meter run; Easton Albert of Hamilton, boys’ 3,200-meter run; Kameron Kohn of Hamilton, boys’ high jump; Timmy Regan of Miles City, boys’ long jump; Schulz in the girls’ 400, Isabella Pape of Corvallis, girls’ 1,600-meter run; and Jane Booth of Corvallis, girls’ high jump. Both Schulz, 55.06, and runner-up Sadi Henderson of Corvallis, 55.57, were under Schulz’ class record of 56.13 she set last year.
The only other Class A record broken Friday was by the Belgrade girls’ 400-meter relay team with a time of 48.88 in the preliminaries. Corvallis, 48.00, and Whitefish, 49.11, were also both under the previous record time, 49.12 by Billings Central in 1994.
No state records or Class B records fell Friday.
Class B winners were Sean Opland of Troy in the boys’ 400, Darren Hecker of Big Timber in the boys’ 800, Tyus Mendoza of Colstrip in the boys’ 3,200; Garrett Frieling of Huntley Project in the boys’ pole vault, Caleb Neth of Manhattan in the boys’ long jump, Tanner Miller of Huntley Project in the boys’ discus, Tay Hall of Choteau in the boys’ javelin, Hailey Phillips of Plains in the girls’ 400, Makena Morley of Bigfork in the girls’ 1,600, Rachel Buzanowski of Huntley Project in the girls’ pole vault, Kourtney Coverdell of Fairfield in the girls’ long jump, and Leah Thompson of Plains in the girls’ discus.
The meet resumes Saturday with field events at 9 a.m. and running events at 10:30. All of track events will be finals.