McGree posts two wins at ‘special’ Tomich Invite

McGree posts two wins at ‘special’ Tomich Invite
Butte Central senior Rileigh McGree runs to victory in the 100-meter hurdles Saturday during the John Tomich Invitational on the Charlie Merrifield Track. (Bill Foley photo)

Butte High’s Casey Kautzman picks up victory in javelin

By Bill Foley

Rileigh McGree could not have picked a better meet for a bounce-back performance.

The Butte Central senior won the 100-meter hurdles and the long jump Saturday at the John Tomich Invitational on the Charlie Merrifield Track inside the Gene Fogarty Complex. (Results)

The meet, which is hosted by the Maroons, is named after McGree’s late grandfather.

“This meet is special to us,” McGree said. “Family comes to this. It’s named after my grandpa. So, it’s more special than some.”

McGree also righted the ship after a disappointing performance at Tuesday’s Russ Pilcher Top 10 Meet in Missoula. A series of bad luck got the best of the BC star in that meet.

“I fell in the 100 hurdles, then kind of struggled with getting on the board in the long jump, and then I false started in the 200,” McGree said.

So, finishing races and getting in some good jumps was key for McGree to regain her confidence as the season heads toward crunch time. McGree is the defending Class A State champion in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles.

“Even just finishing a set of hurdles, getting some consistence on the boards, that’s all I was really looking for today,” McGree said.

McGree did much more than that in highlighting a big day for athletes from Butte Central and Butte High.

The day included a victory in the javelin by Butte High senior Casey Kautzman and two monster overall performances from Central junior Kyle Holter and sophomore Ella Moodry.

The 100-meter hurdles was perhaps the race of the day with McGree, Dillon’s Ainsley Shipman and Townsend’s Havyn Vandenacre all crossing seemingly at the same time.

Even the runners did not now who won until the results hit the reader board. McGree and Shipman, who will be teammates at the University of Montana next year, had 16.34 seconds next to their name, with McGree winning by less than a blink of an eye.

Vandenacre placed third in 16.35.

“That was a great race,” McGree said. “I felt like I got out really well, and I just had to fight until the end. So, I was happy with that.”

With McGree sitting out the 300 hurdles as a precautionary move because of a sore muscle, Shipman easily won the race with a person-record time of 46.32. She also won the 100 with a PR of 12.99.

McGree leaped 17 feet to win the long jump. Jasmyn Murphy of Three Forks placed second in 16-6 ½, and Butte’s Teagan Kennis placed third with a PR of 15-10 ¾.

“I scratched a good one,” McGree said. “I wish we would have marked that one. But we’re getting there. I’ve been working on my consistency on the board. It’s coming together.”

Laurel swept the team titles. On the boys’ side, the Locomotives chalked up 99 team points. Dillon took second at 77, followed by Livingston at 75 and Butte High at 74.  BC scored 21 points for eighth place.

Laurel’s girls ran up 125 points. Dillon was second at 84, and Frenchtown took third at 50.

Thanks to the big day from McGree and Moodry, the Maroons placed fourth at 40. Butte High was eighth at 28.

Moodry placed in three events and just missed in another. She took second in the javelin with a season-best mark of 121-9. She cleared 4-8 to take second in the high jump and ran to sixth in the 100 with a season-best 13.25.

What made BC coach Dan McGree smile the most, however, was that Moodry jumped 30-11 in the triple jump. Saturday marked the first time his budding superstar ever competed in the event.

Senior Kinley Hamilton also scored points for the BC girls. She placed fourth in the shot put.

Madison Seaholm ran to second place in the 400 for Butte High. She clocked in with a person-best time of 1:05.30.

Mollee Conlan took third in the 100 with a time of 13.04, and Butte High’s girls’ placed third in the 400 relay and fifth in the 1,600 relay.

Holter had a bust-out performance for BC’s boys. He cleared 6 feet, 4 inches to placed second in the high jump. Holter actually tied Payton Cates of Ronan, but Cates took the gold based on attempts.

Holter added a personal best by placing third in the long jump with a mark of 20-6 ½. Like in the high jump, Holter reached a qualifying standard for the Class A State tournament.

Also for BC, Riley Gelling took fourth in the discus, freshman Sam Henderson took fifth in the triple jump, and Caden Kobler finished sixth in the discus. All three posted personal records.

Kautzman, a future Montana State kicker, launched the javelin a career-best 162-6.

Butte’s Gavin Vetter cleared 13-6 for the second time to place second in the pole vault. He could not quite clear 14 feet, which was the height Livingston’s Carter Bartz cleared for the win.

Holt Downey placed second in the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.56. He finished just ahead of teammate Morgan McClernan, who PR’d with a time of 15.63. Downey also took seventh in the 100, and McClernan took fourth in the 300 hurdles, also with a PR of 42.12.

Kyler Stenson took second in the discus for Butte with a PR mark of 137-9, and the Bulldog boys ran to second in the 400-meter relay.

Butte’s Jonas Sherman, Cameron Gurnsey and Dylan Snyder tied for third in the high jump at 5-10. Jaric Sparks cleared 12 feet for third in the pole vault.

Ladd Hutchinson ran to fifth in the 3,200, Keegan Muffich took sixth in the shot put, and Connor Konda placed sixth in the pole vault for the Bulldogs. Hutchinson and Muffich posted personal records, while Konda’s mark was a season-best.

While the skies were gray and some rain clouds threatened, the weather held out for the meet that drew varsity and junior varsity competitors from 18 schools.

“I think it’s everyone’s favorite,” Rileigh McGree said. “It’s big. It’s fun. It’s always run well. This meet is special.”

Butte Central will compete in Dillon next Saturday. Next up for Butte High will head to Missoula Friday for a dual with Big Sky.

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