Maroons, Bulldogs running at divisional meets

April showers bring, well, May showers to Montana, and just in time for Divisional Track weekend.

Butte High will travel to Bozeman to compete in the Eastern AA Divisional meet, while Butte Central is off to Corvallis for the Southwestern A meet. Both are two-day affairs and both begin Friday afternoon.

The Maroons are hoping to qualify some athletes for state at the SWA, but if they completely missed the penultimate meet of the season, the Maroons would still have a tidy number of athletes going to the state meet in Laurel thanks to excellent qualifying marks set throughout the season.

“We’ve had pretty good luck,” said Butte Central head coach Zack Stajcar, though he clarified how the athletes got to where they are. “The kids who have qualified are pretty consistent. They work hard and they’re good at what they do.”

On the boys’ side, field events are the Maroons’ strong suit, as Marcus Ferriter leads his team with qualifying marks in both the shot and discus. Ferriter’s 161-foot measure in the disc is within inches of the best Class A throw, and he has also come on strong in the shot of late with a mark of nearly 49 feet. Butte Central also has a tried-and-true weightman in Kaemen Richards, qualified in both shot and disc.

Add in Kyle Schulte in the Disc and Danny Peoples in the javelin, the throws look good for the Maroons this season.

However, the Southwestern A is unusually heavy with weightmen this season, and Stajcar understands that what might be a state-meet winner one year might not be enough to place this time around.

“Our division is really tough in the throws for the boys,” he said.

Even the sprints seem a little faster this time around, though the Maroons have plenty of power there too. Kyle Harrington and Blake Burton have already cinched spots in the 100, while both are integral parts of the Maroon 4×100 relay team that qualified for State as well. Cole Harper and Tanner Kump make up the other two legs of the sprint relay squad.

Central jumps well, as usual. Harper’s 20-6 season best in the long jump qualifies him for Laurel, while Michael Cooney has cleared 6 feet in the high jump to ice a trip to state. Nate McGree has yet to qualify in the triple jump, but is a good bet to make the cut, while Brian McGeehan takes a shot at the 800 and Conor McGee aims for top times in the distance events.

For Central’s girls, look for the McGree clan to score points.

Whitney McGree has already qualified for the 100 and will try in the 200, all while leading the sprint relay team that also includes Olivia Bolton, Rachael McGree and Lacey McGree.

Rachael McGree easily qualified in the 100 hurdles, and is aiming at Dillon’s Holly Anderson in the event. Rachael McGree is also qualified in the long and triple jumps, and is within reach of an upper step of the podium in both events.

Kaylee O’Herron has a shot in the high jump, where she has her eye on clearing 5 feet this weekend.

“We’re still practicing hard,” Stajcar said. “We’ll head to Corvallis with the mentality that even if we’re already qualified, we’re going to compete.”

Butte High doesn’t have the luxury of pre-qualified athletes like Central, but Bulldog head coach Arie Grey said he’s excited to see how his team does in the most important part of the season.

Butte High senior speedster Dalton Daum is qualified in the events where he is the reigning state champion – the 100- and 200-meter dashes – but he’s also got the fastest Class AA time in the 400, notched the only time he’s run the race in the last two years.

Butte also has a qualifying mark in the high jump for sophomore girl Abby Dodge, who cleared 5-3 early in the season.

“We’ve told our kids that our goal is to get to the finals,” Grey said. “Get there and then get a top-6 spot and go to state. We get to these last two weeks and we want to be competitive. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, right now we have an opportunity to get on the podium and get another week of competition.”

Butte has some athletes poised to earn a trip to the State Class AA meet in Kalispell next weekend. Clay Dean has been exceptionally solid in both the 110 and 300 hurdles, while he’s also come on in the 400. Shannon Tempel barely missed a qualifying time in the 800, and will try for a berth in that event and the 400 this weekend. Josh Cox, Quinn Dennehy and Kiley Caprara all have a chance in the hurdles as well. Bryce Gallagher will take his best shot in the javelin, while competing in hurdles and the sprint relay team.

On the girls’ side, Bailey McCarthy is among the best sprinters, while Joby Rosenleaf will give her best in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200. Sarah Semsak has been a top Bulldog performer in the throws, where she specializes in the javelin.

“You know, for our young kids it’s a chance to build on their careers,” Grey said. “But for the seniors, they have the opportunity to compete for two more weeks and that’s it. This is the time we work for, the last two weeks. The weather won’t be great, but the kids are where they need to be to go out and get a season best and get in the finals.”

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