Flathead’s Athletes Shine at State Track

By Beacon Staff

It was a great final weekend of high school track for the Flathead Valley, with one overall team champion and a long list of individual champions.

Columbia Falls won its first track title in school history after the boys team outpaced Corvallis for the Class A championship. Whitefish’s girls finished second behind Corvallis for the Class A girls title.

Glacier also brought home a top-three trophy after the boys placed third at the Class AA meet.

The award for top performer statewide undoubtedly goes to Corvallis senior Paige Squire, who won five gold medals and broke four state records. Squire broke Class A records in the 100 hurdles (14.47) in the time trials, 200 meters (24.83) in the time trials, 300 hurdles (43.76) in the final and as anchor of the 1,600 relay team (3:57.16). She was also a member of the winning 400 relay team (49.44).

While nobody could match Squire’s historic performance, the Flathead Valley had several athletes win multiple events and quite a few more who won one event.

Glacier junior Lexy Boschee added to her trophy collection, winning her third straight Class AA high jump title and first long jump title. Boschee cleared 5-8 in the high jump, four inches better than second place, and 17-10 in the long jump, nearly a half-foot better than the closest competitor. She now has five titles in her career.

Columbia Falls junior Derrick Williams nearly swept the distance events at the Class A meet, winning the 800 and 3,200 and finishing second in the 1,600. His time in the 800 was 1:55.17 and in the 1,600 it was 4:19.50. He also ran on Columbia Falls’ winning team in the 1,600 relay.

Whitefish freshman phenom Marlow Schulz won two Class A titles in the 100 meters (12.64) and 800 meters (2:16.21). She narrowly missed out on a third title, finishing second in the 400 meters with a time of 56.98 compared to the winning time of 56.91.

The Flathead Valley’s other multiple winner at state was Mallery Knoll, a senior at Bigfork. Knoll won the 300 hurdles with a time of 45.70 and anchored the winning 1,600 relay team. In the 300 hurdles, Knoll edged Hope Reid of Thompson Falls, who finished in 45.87. Reid won the 100 hurdles (14.98) and high jump (5-3).

There were also a number of one-time state champions from Northwest Montana. In Class A boys, Anthony Correa of Columbia Falls won the 400 (50.10); Kody Berget of Libby won the 300 hurdles (39.97); Drew Galbraith of Whitefish won the high jump (6-4); and Nate Thompson of Columbia Falls won the triple jump (44-6).

In Class A girls, Stanford-bound Jessica Sagen, a senior for Whitefish, took first in the 3,200 (11:48.19).

At the Class AA meet, Glacier sophomore Kyle Griffith won the triple jump with a state-best leap of 47 feet. Teammates Todd Ogden and Jacob Leininger also took home titles. Ogden won the javelin with a throw of 193-4 and Leininger won the 110 hurdles with a time of 14.47. He finished second in the 300 hurdles.

Flathead had no individual state champions. Sophomore Zach Perrin finished second in the 1,600 in another close race with Missoula Sentinel senior Jake Turner. Turner’s time was 4:22.96 and Perrin’s was 4:23.05, not even a full tenth of a second slower.

In a surprise, Perrin also came in second in the 3,200 meters to Helena’s Matt Barker, who finished in 9:34.47 compared to Perrin’s 9:35.37. Perrin was the defending champion in the 3,200 and had not lost once in the event all year, including head-to-head matchups with Barker and Turner.

At the Western AA divisionals a week earlier, Perrin won with a time of 9:24.21. Barker finished fourth at 9:42.63.

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