Glacier Guns for First State Track Crown

By Beacon Staff

Last year, Glacier High School had a fledgling track program with a group of youngsters trying to figure out what events fit them best. One year later, they have one of the best all-around track programs in the state. It seems fitting then that the Class AA state meet is back in Kalispell.

At the Western AA divisional tournament in Missoula over the weekend, the Glacier boys cruised to a first-place finish, led by a number of strong performances in the sprinting and jumping events. The Wolfpack finished with 122 points, edging out Missoula Big Sky, which scored 94. The Glacier girls finished second with 94 points. Big Sky won the girls title with 156 points.

The Class AA state tournament will be held on May 29-30 in Kalispell at Legends Stadium, in conjunction with the Class B tournament, also scheduled for the same location and same time. Events kick off each day at 9 a.m. and finish in the early evening. For a full schedule, go to the Montana High School Association’s Web site: www.mhsa.org.

Ben Cutler, a Glacier senior, finished in the top two in four different events at divisionals. He won the 400 and was on the top team in the 1,600-meter relay. He also finished second in the 200 and long jump, narrowly missing out on first place in both events. Cutler’s teammate Taylor Graham won the long jump with a leap of 21 feet 4 inches. Graham also finished second in the triple jump at 42-8.

Other top placers for the Glacier boys were Shane Friese, first in the high jump at 6-6; Kyle Montini, first in the triple jump at 42-10; Taylor Hart, third in the 300 hurdles at 39.99; and several others who placed in the top five and qualified for the state meet.

For girls, Glacier junior Maddey Frey ran away with the 100-meter dash title at 12.86 seconds. Frey was also on the 400-relay team that took first place and broke the Western AA divisional record with a time of 49.23 seconds. The other three sprinters on the record-breaking relay team were Kayla Smart, Nicole Hall and Rachael Cutler.

Glacier’s other first-place finishers were Lexy Boschee in the high jump and Kyrsten Pilsch in the javelin. Boschee, only a freshman, broke the divisional meet record with a jump of 5 feet 7 ½ inches. The old record was 5-7, set in 1984. Boschee also finished third in the long jump. Among Glacier’s other top finishers were Smart, third in the triple jump; Heather Fraley, third in the 1,600; and Katie Pilsch, third in the discus.

Flathead High School had a balanced showing at divisionals as well, placing a number of athletes in the state tournament for both boys and girls. The biggest all-around star was Tess Brenneman, who has emerged as one of the top track stars in the state in only her freshman year. At divisionals, Brenneman finished second in the 200 and 400; second in the long jump at 17-4; and fourth in the 100 at 13 seconds flat. Heidi Windauer, a senior at Flathead, finished second in the 110 hurdles.

On the boys side, Flathead again proved it’s a force to be reckoned with in the distance running events. Jesse Bennett won the 800 with a time of 1:59.61 and came in second in the 1,600. His teammate Leif Castren finished fourth in the 1,600 and second in the 3,200.

Both the boys and girls for Flathead finished fourth in the overall standings.

Among the events spectators should keep their eyes on at this week’s state meet are the sprints for Class AA boys. Chris Wilson, a senior at C.M. Russell, recently ran the fastest times in state history in 100- and 200-meter dashes, posting times of 10.48 and 21.33, respectively.

But Wilson will be pushed by a core of Billings sprinters who have all threatened state records and ran under 11 seconds in the 100 this year. With Billings Skyview’s Brandon Pearce and Dalton Smith, along with Billings West’s John MacDonald and Jase Muri, this state meet will feature one of the best crops of sprinters in the state’s track history.

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