Best of Preps – Spring 2014

By Beacon Staff
CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Glacier
STATS: Todd won his fourth consecutive Class AA state championship in the javelin with a state-record throw of 210 feet, 10 inches.

The list of three-time state champions in Montana history stretches fairly long and features prominent names like David Vidal, Steve Heberly and Jamison Banna. But when it comes to four-timers, the list shrinks to only four names, according to the Montana High School Association. Now there’s a fifth. Todd Ogden etched his name in the record books at the Class AA state meet in Great Falls. His winning toss in the javelin was shy of his remarkable 215-00 throw from a week earlier but still clinched his fourth championship by more than 27 feet. It also broke the AA record he set last year by two inches. He became the first four-time boys champ since Gordon Ruttenbur of Deer Lodge won both the 1,600 and 3,200 each year between 1979-82. Now Ogden moves on to summer competitions, where he hopes to attract the attention of the country’s top college programs.

Keyawna Larson
CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Glacier
STATS: Keyawna successfully defended her Class AA state title in the javelin with a throw of 141 feet, 7 inches

The defending champion found herself in a stressful situation at the Class AA state meet. Keyawna arrived in Great Falls as the presumptive favorite but had not been throwing the distances she had hoped for. There was also stiffer competition this spring compared to a year ago, and Glacier’s standout thrower needed her best when it mattered most. “Going into state I didn’t quite know how I’d do,” she says. “My first throw I was really tense, but then I just loosened up and let it fly.” Just like that, Keyawna launched her furthest throw all season and defended her title by nearly three feet. Her winning toss was only three feet shy of the Class AA state record, a mark she has her sights set on for next spring.

Marlow Schulz
CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Whitefish
STATS: Marlow won the Class A 100 (12.40), 200 (24.69) and 400 (55.06) and placed second in long jump (16-8). She also led the 400 relay to a state record (48.54) and long relay to fifth place (4:06.51)

Entering her last state meet, Marlow was already highly decorated and regarded as one of the state’s elite runners. “I just reminded myself that anything else I do is icing on the cake,” she says. In familiar dominating fashion, the speedy senior provided a final reminder that she’s an all-time great. She swept the sprint events for the third year in a row. Her 100 victory completed the four-peat, making her only the fourth female sprinter to achieve the feat. Her 200 time set a new Class A record. She also guided the 400 relay team to a state-record victory. All in all, in her amazing career Marlow brought home 20 top-five state medals, including 13 golds. Now she’s off to St. John’s University.

Makena Morley
CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Bigfork
STATS: Makena won the Class B 800 (2:12.62), 1,600 (4:53.83) and 3,200 (10:58.85), and also helped win the long relay (4:08.18)

Makena completed the latest chapter of her phenomenal running career by winning three more individual state championships and a title on Bigfork’s long relay team. She also whittled her fastest times down to historic lows, reminding everyone that one of Montana’s all-time greats is truly in her prime. At the Western B Divisional, she ran the second fastest 1,600 and 3,200 times on record, 4:50.19 and 10:27.74, respectively. She will spend the summer attending prominent competitions, including the New Balance Nationals. Then she’ll lace up the spikes for her final prep year, which will feature an exciting showdown with her speedy sister Bryn, who will be a freshman. “I’m excited for next year,” she says. “I think we will run some fast times.”

Jess Beaman
CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Flathead
STATS: Jess leaped 44 feet, 9 inches to win the Class AA championship in triple jump. He also placed fifth in the long jump, landing 20-6

Track was a sport that Jess treated lightly at first. But then he started jumping this spring, and it sparked a competitive pursuit that led him all the way to the Class AA state meet. “I went out there at the start to have fun with my friends and I guess I found something I have a talent for,” he says. At the Archie Roe Invitational, he landed the longest triple jump in Montana all season — 45 feet. His best long jump — 21-9 — ranked second in the state. Appearing at his first state meet, he rose to the occasion and won the triple jump championship by four inches, giving Flathead its second consecutive state champ in the event. Jess is now hoping to ride the momentum into the fall football season.

Luke May
CLASS: Sophomore
SCHOOL: Whitefish
STATS: Luke won the Class A state championship in the javelin, throwing 206 feet, 7 inches

Bulldog football fans can attest to Luke’s throwing abilities — he passed for 1,562 yards as Whitefish’s starting quarterback in the fall — and this spring he set himself apart as one of the best javelin throwers in the state. Only three throwers in Montana surpassed the 200-foot mark this year and Luke was one of them. He added nearly 40 feet of distance onto his throws and went from fourth place at the state meet a year ago to being Class A’s champion. A week after winning the Northwestern A Divisional title, he uncorked his best throw all season in Butte, winning the title by 24 feet. The victory helped the Whitefish boys bring home a third-place team trophy from state. “I couldn’t ask for a better year,” he says.

Logan Morley
CLASS: Sophomore
SCHOOL: Bigfork
STATS: Logan won the Class B state championship in the 1,600 (4:34.58), placed second in the 3,200 (10:19.69) and third in the 800 (2:00.61)

It’s not often that a teenager describes running long distances as “fun.” But that’s part of being a Morley. Logan began in sixth grade, and like his fleet-footed siblings, it clicked right away. This spring he made a name for himself by shaving nearly 15 seconds off his fastest times and winning his own state championship. At the Western Montana Top 10 meet, he won the 1,600 in 4:31.63, which held up as the top time in Class B all season. At the state meet in Butte, he showcased his competitive side in a fierce 1,600 race, powering through the finish line to win by barely two-tenths of a second. “Those are my favorite races, when it gets really competitive and comes down to the finish,” he says.

Rhiannon Sturgess
CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Flathead
STATS: Rhiannon placed third in both hurdle events at the Class AA state meet, running 45.49 in the 300 and 14.94 in the 100

“I like running with stuff in my way,” Rhiannon says. It’s a maxim among hurdlers and something Flathead’s all-state senior discovered at a young age. “When I was little, I would run around the house and have my mom time me,” she says. “I would jump over garbage cans and stuff.” By high school, she was excelling mightily and frequently winning the 100 and 300 races. She saved her best for last — at the state meet, she set new personal records in both events, and placed third in each. Looking back on her prep career, track was “the most important aspect” and taught her many life lessons. She’s not done with the sport yet, though, as she prepares to move on to Carroll College in Helena next year.

Samantha Mundel
CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
STATS: Samantha claimed the Class A state title in the 3,200 race, clocking 11:43 to win by 11 seconds. She also placed third in the 1,600 with a time of 5:17

Samantha never planned on being a long-distance runner. But after not making the volleyball team her freshman year, she decided to try cross country for the first time. “I didn’t start out that great but I kept doing it,” she says. “Coaches prepared me. I went to practices every day. I did all the workouts. I pushed myself hard.” Now she’s a state champion. Samantha ran her fastest times ever at the Class A state meet in Butte and won the 3,200 and placed third in the 1,600. She’s even more motivated to build on her newfound passion for running, and next year has her sights set on successful cross country and track seasons.

Nakia Alexander
CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
STATS: Nakia earned second place in the triple jump at the Class A state meet, jumping 42 feet, 6.75 inches

Two seasons, two top-three medals at state. Not bad for someone who joined track for the first time as a junior. The triple jump, an event that can seem awkward from a bystander’s perspective, came natural to Nakia, and he quickly rose in the ranks. In his first season a year ago, he earned third place at the Class A state meet. This spring, he kept improving and landed second at the competitive Archie Roe Invitational before clinching the Northwestern A Divisional title with a leap of 43-5.25 feet. At the state meet in Butte, Nakia capped his brief yet successful prep career with a second-place medal. “Definitely gave it my all,” he says. “No regrets.”

Ashley Trueblood
CLASS: Junior
SCHOOL: Columbia Falls
STATS: Ashley earned first team all-conference as the Wildkats’ ace, notching 236 strikeouts in 17 games

Very few players have been able to fool Frenchtown or go pitch-for-pitch with Morgan Ray, the Lady Broncs’ two-time Gatorade Montana Softball Player of the Year. Count Ashley among the few. Against the state champs in the regular season finale, the Wildkats’ ace dueled Ray through seven innings, striking out 10. Errors ended up stifling Columbia Falls’ chance at upsetting the eventual champions, but Ashley’s performance illustrated just how good she really is in the softball circle. The Wildkats narrowly missed out on the state tournament, but Ashley’s stats held up in arguably the toughest division in the state. “Not going to state this year leaves a bad taste in our mouthes,” she says. “Hopefully it will motivate us.”

Hannah Atlee
CLASS: Senior
SCHOOL: Glacier
STATS: Hannah earned Class AA all-state as Glacier’s starting catcher, batting .339 with five home runs and 22 RBI

Hannah grew up at the softball fields, watching her older sister play. When it was her turn, she excelled immediately. With Hannah behind home plate as Glacier’s starting catcher the last three seasons, the Wolfpack developed into one of the top teams in the West, winning the conference last year and advancing to the state tournament yet again this season. Now that her high school career is over, she’s eager to continue playing next year at Williston State College in North Dakota. “I’m going to miss it a lot but I had a lot of fun and have a lot of good memories and learned a lot in the program,” she says. “It definitely prepared me for moving on.”

Greg Jones & Spencer Johnson
CLASS: Senior/Sophomore
SCHOOL: Glacier
STATS: Spencer and Greg paired up to place fourth at the Class AA state tennis tournament

When Spencer’s state-champion doubles partner moved in the offseason, he wasn’t sure who’d join him on the tennis courts this spring. That’s where Greg came in. In only his second year playing, Greg quickly developed his skills and earned a spot alongside Spencer, and the pair meshed immediately. “It was interesting, the first (match together). A little nerve wracking,” Spencer says. “But we still won pretty easily … Our personalities matched pretty well and then our games matched up well too.” The duo claimed the Northern AA divisional doubles title and finished fourth at the Class AA state meet in Bozeman.

Adam Jordt & Isaac Martel
CLASS: Sophomore/Junior
SCHOOL: Bigfork
STATS: Adam and Isaac teamed up to earn third place at the Class B/C state tennis tournament

When Isaac moved to Bigfork in seventh grade, Adam became one of his first friends. In high school, they’ve played football and basketball together each year, and last spring joined the tennis team. Naturally, they paired up as a doubles team. This spring their speed and agility showed as they dominated the Class B/C ranks and capped the season with a third-place finish at the state tournament in Missoula. “That was probably the best we played together,” Adam says. The successful spring added even more momentum to the boys’ athletic careers and sets the stage for memorable football and basketball seasons next year. “We’re excited,” Isaac says.

Class AA
Ali Williams, Glacier, Sophomore , Pitcher, All-State
Kayleena Ikeda, Glacier, Junior, 2B, All-State
Anna Jenks, Glacier, Senior, OF, All-State
Class A
Carlee Brown, Columbia Falls, Junior, OF, First Team All-Conference
Courtney Murray, Columbia Falls, Senior, Catcher, Second Team All-Conference
Winter Kemppainen, Columbia Falls, Junior, IF, Second Team All-Conference
Malia Morris, Whitefish, Junior, OF, Honorable Mention All-Conference
Micah McFeely, Whitefish, Junior, OF, Honorable Mention All-Conference

Class A
Emily Getts, Columbia Falls, Sophomore, Fourth Place State
Heather Luedke/Caroline Carbo, Whitefish, Junior/Senior, Fifth Place State Doubles
Class B/C
Alanis Stallknecht/Brooke Bonner, Bigfork, Junior/Senior, Sixth Place State

Class AA Boys
Matt Quist, Flathead, Senior, State Champion High Jump
Zach Dennehy, Glacier, Senior, Second Place Discus
Sylas Schutt, Flathead, Junior, Third Place 1,600, Sixth Place 3,200
Evan Epperly, Glacier, Senior, Third Place 200, Fifth Place 400, Sixth Place 100
Nathan Connell, Glacier, Senior, Third Place 800, Fourth Place 1,600
Lonnie Sherman, Glacier, Senior, Fourth Place Pole Vault
Kade McCutcheon, Glacier, Junior, Fifth Place 3,200
Dillon Thomas, Flathead, Senior, Sixth Place 110 Hurdles
Caleb McCracken, Flathead, Senior, Fifth Place Discus
Chade Gonter, Flathead, Junior, Sixth Place 300 Hurdles, Sixth Place High Jump
Jonathon Centner, Flathead, Senior, Sixth Place Javelin
Tobias Barton Flathead, Junior, Sixth Place Pole Vault
Class A Boys
Jed Nagler, Whitefish, Sophomore, Second Place High Jump, Short Relay, Sixth Place 100, 200
Luke Cardon, Whitefish, Junior, Second Place Short Relay, Sixth Place 400
Keaton Grove, Whitefish, Junior, Second Place 110 Hurdles, 300 Hurdles
Alex Wilson, Whitefish, Senior, Fifth Place 110 Hurdles
Koler Kanistanaux, Whitefish, Senior, Second Place Short Relay, Fifth Place Discus
Sean Foley, Whitefish, Senior, Second Place Short Relay, Third Place Pole Vault, Fifth Place Long Jump
EJ Havens, Whitefish, Senior, Sixth Place Pole Vault
Class B Boys
Josh Sandry, Bigfork Junior, State Champion High Jump, Fourth Place Short Relay, Fifth Place Javelin, Sixth Place Long Relay
Jesse Mueller, Bigfork, Senior, Fourth Place Short Relay
Matt Farrier, Bigfork, Freshman, Fourth Place Short Relay, Sixth Place Long Relay
Colton Woll, Bigfork, Junior, Fourth Place Short Relay, Sixth Place Long Relay
Tyler Iverson, Bigfork, Junior, Fifth Place Discus
Carson Cantrell, Bigfork, Junior, Sixth Place 300 Hurdles, Long Relay
Class AA Girls
Jenessa Heine, Flathead, Senior, Fourth Place Shot Put
Janae Moon, Flathead, Junior, Fourth Place Triple Jump
Mattie Mazur, Flathead, Senior, Sixth Place 100 Hurdles
Shauna Williams, Glacier, Senior , Second Place Discus
Brielle Bumgarner, Glacier, Sophomore, Third Place Long Jump
Class A Girls
Grace Kurtz, Whitefish, Junior, State Champion Short Relay, Fifth Place Long Relay, Sixth Place 100, 200, 400
Phoebe Guercio, Whitefish, Senior, State Champion Short Relay, Fourth Place 300 Hurdles, Fifth Place Long Jump, Long Relay
Kate Doorn, Whitefish, Freshman, Fifth Place High Jump
Allie Schulz, Whitefish, Sophomore, State Champion Short Relay
Haley Nicholson, Whitefish, Freshman, Fifth Place Long Relay
Carla Nicosia, Columbia Falls, Junior, Fourth Place Triple Jump, Fifth Place 300 Hurdles, Sixth Place Triple Jump
Haley Belgarde, Columbia Falls, Senior, Fourth Place Shot Put
Class B Girls
Grace Kurtz, Bigfork, Junior, State Champion Short Relay, Fifth Place Long Relay,
Emily Cheroske, Bigfork, Senior, State Champion Long Relay, Second Place 400, 800
Marisa Hiza, Bigfork, Junior, State Champion Long Relay, Sixth Place High Jump
Mattison McAnally, Bigfork, Sophomore, State Champion Long Relay
Tessa Robertson, Bigfork, Senior, Sixth Place Shot Put

Stay Connected with the Daily Roundup.

Sign up for our newsletter and get the best of the Beacon delivered every day to your inbox.