State Track Storylines: Breaking Down the Championship Events

The state track meet will feature over 900 athletes from 54 combined schools competing for individual and team trophies

By Dillon Tabish
Troy's Sean Opland competes in the high jump at the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

The track and field state championship meet returns to Kalispell this weekend with athletes from a combined 54 schools slated to compete in the two-day event. At Legends Stadium May 22-23, the meet will feature competitors from Class AA and B vying for individual and team trophies in their respective divisions. It’s only the second time that Kalispell will be hosting the state finale and first since 2009.

Check out Montanatrack.com for a full breakdown of meet results and deep lists from this season.

Here’s a quick breakdown of each event and the field of contenders this weekend:

100-Meter Dash

Butte senior Dalton Daum is the reigning champ and No. 1 seed on the Class AA boys side. The University of Montana football recruit won the Eastern AA title last weekend in 10.77, the fastest time all spring. Remington Hjelvik of Billings West (11.00) and Bozeman’s Jacob Kleinhans (11.11) will be on his heels.

The AA girls race should be one of the most exciting all weekend with over six girls racing within half a second of each other. Cali Modglin, a sophomore at Great Falls C.M. Russell, enters with the top time — 12.52 — slightly ahead of Maddie Brockel of Billings West (12.53) and Great Falls’ Morgan Evans (12.56).

In Class B, Tru Roginske of Joliet is the reigning state champ on the girls side. The Southern B champ has already clocked 12.58, the fastest time in Class B and third fastest overall. Her top competition will be Hailey Phillips, a talented senior from Plains who ran 12.63 to win the Western B title last weekend.

On the boys side, Braden Rykal of Jefferson has logged the fastest time in Class B with 11.14 but lost to Turner Stone of Manhattan at last weekend’s  Southern B divisional.

Schedule: Friday – Trials: 12:55 p.m. B boys; 1:05 p.m. AA boys; 1:15 p.m. B girls; 1:25 p.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 1:25 p.m. B boys; 1:30 p.m. AA boys; 1:35 p.m. B girls; 1:40 p.m. AA girls

Plains' Hailey Phillips, left, and Flathead's Monica White battle in the 100-meter dash during the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Plains’ Hailey Phillips, left, and Flathead’s Monica White battle in the 100-meter dash during the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

200-Meter Dash

Yet again, Butte’s Daum is the reigning AA boys champ and top-ranked runner. The senior sprinter clocked 21.53 to win the Eastern AA title and log the fastest time in the state for any class. His top competition will be Jacob Kleinhans from Bozeman (22.21), and Helena’s Nick VanHorssen (22.64). Glacier’s Cain Boschee won the Western AA title in 22.23.

In the AA girls race, Brockel of Billings West enters with the top time in the state, 25.52. She’ll have a good group on her heels: Jacey Delaney of Bozeman (25.85), Hannah Porch of Missoula Big Sky (25.90) and Modglin (25.96).

In the Class B boys race, Troy speedster Sean Opland will try to improve on last year’s runner-up finish. His 22.57 ranks first in Class B, followed by Manhattan’s Stone (22.77).

On the girls side, Phillips is in good position to defend her championship. The Plains senior has the top seed with 25.76. Roginske of Joliet, who placed second last year, ranks just behind Phillips (26.02).

Schedule: Friday – Trials: 2:10 p.m. B boys; 2:20 p.m. AA boys; 2:30 p.m. B girls; 2:40 p.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 2:20 p.m. B boys; 2:25 p.m. AA boys; 2:30 p.m. B girls; 2:35 p.m. AA girls

400-Meter Dash

In a tightly contested AA boys field, Helena’s Connor Matthews enters with the top time, 49.44, followed by Butte’s Daum (49.59) and Levi Donaldson of Helena Capital (50.20).

One of the best runners in recent history, Christina Aragon, a junior from Billings Senior, excels in four races but her time in the 400 is close to a state record. The reigning state champ has already clocked 56.51 this spring. That’s awfully close to Denise Pidcock of Great Falls C.M. Russell’s Class AA record of 56.30, set in 1980. Aragon will have Carly Smiedala, a junior from Helena, pushing her.

The B girls race will also feature a pair of remarkable runners. Phillips of Plains set a new Western B divisional record last weekend, running 57.63. Her top competition will be Bryn Morley, a freshman who is already making a name for herself as the next great runner from Bigfork, following in her sister Makena’s fast footsteps. Bryn placed second behind Phillips last weekend in 58.99, which was slightly slower than her best time this spring (58.86).

On the B boys side, Opland is the reigning state champ and top seed (50.32). Manhattan’s Caleb Neth is seeded next (50.42). Rahkei Eyer from Jefferson edged Neth at the divisional and has clocked 50.68.

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 3:30 p.m. B boys; 3:40 p.m. AA boys; 3:50 p.m. B girls; 4 p.m. AA girls

Glacier's Annie Hill competes in the 800-meter race at the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Glacier’s Annie Hill competes in the 800-meter race at the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

800-Meter Run

Seven AA boys runners are within two seconds of each other, led by Helena’s Jeremiah Coon (1:54.93).

One of the most exciting events all weekend, the AA girls race will feature Aragon, the reigning champ who has clocked 2:11.48 this spring, and freshman phenom Annie Hill of Glacier, who won the divisional in record time, 2:10.05, a new mark by four seconds.

Bryn Morley enters with the top time among Class B girls (2:11.32). She could threaten the state record of 2:10.52, set by Townsend’s Chiara Warner in 2013. Morley’s sister, Makena, is the reigning champ, but the Bigfork senior has been plagued by injuries this spring. Makena, a senior, clocked 2:15.02 at the divisional meet last weekend.

In the B boys race, Bigfork junior Logan Morley will compete against Kenny Wilbur of Townsend in the lead. They both ran in the 1:59 range recently. Red Lodge’s Moritz Little has hit 2:00.

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 12:30 p.m. B boys; 12:40 p.m. AA boys; Saturday – Finals: 12:05 p.m. B girls; 12:15 p.m. AA girls

1600-Meter Run

One of the most anticipated showdowns of the meet, the AA girls race will feature another spectacular duel between Aragon and Hill. In front of her home crowd, Hill, the Glacier freshman, will try to unseat the reigning champ, Aragon. Hill has already clocked 4:49.65 on the same track as the state meet. Historically, that stands out as the third fastest time on record and is one second away from the all-class state record set by Chiara Warner of Townsend in 2013. State records can only be set at the state meet. Aragon has hit 4:59.90 this spring. Flathead’s Gillian Maness ranks high (5:06).

In the AA boys race, Flathead has a pair of standouts who could contend for a championship. Jake Perrin, a junior, and Sylas Schutt, a senior, have both already logged some of the fastest times in the state for any class. Perrin’s top time is 4:23.77. Schutt’s best is 4:26.45. Both are behind Billings West senior Isaac Petsch, who has logged 4:19.52.

In the B girls race, Bryn Morley will try to capture the title from her sister, Makena. Bryn has the top Class B time (4:54.64). Makena won last year’s title in 4:53.83. It remains to be seen how Makena will be affected by her iron definciency and recent injuries.

Logan Morley has the top time entering the B boys race (4:28.16). His closest competition is Tyus Mendoza of Colstrip (4:35).

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 1:40 p.m. B girls; 1:55 p.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 1:50 p.m. B boys; 2:05 p.m. AA boys

Makena Morley - Best of Preps at Legends Stadium on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Makena Morley – Best of Preps at Legends Stadium on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

3200-Meter Run

Once again, Hill and Aragon will square off in a battle of two of Montana’s best distance runners in the Class AA girls race. Hill has hit 10:36.34 this spring, the fastest time in the state. Aragon, who placed fourth a year ago, ranks second in AA behind Hill with 10:48.71. Flathead’s Maness has clocked 11:01.41.

In the AA boys race, Big Sky’s Marshall Beatty is seeded No. 1 with 9:30, followed by Flathead’s Schutt, 9:34.67, and Flathead’s Perrin, 9:35.55.

In the B girls race, Makena Morley could cap her brilliant prep career with one final milestone; the Class B state record is 10:35.85, set by Warner in 2013. Makena passed her sister, Bryn, at last weekend’s divisional, 10:36.59 to 10:45.99.

Watch for the Morley sisters’ brother, Logan, to lead the pack in the Class B boys race. Logan enters with the fastest time this spring (9:34.53).

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 2:50 p.m. B boys; 3:10 p.m. AA boys; Saturday – Finals: 2:45 p.m. B girls; 3:05 p.m. AA girls

110-Meter Hurdles

Taylor Trollope of Billings Skyview is the runner to beat in the Class AA boys race (14.43). Gabe Susler, a freshman from Billings Senior (14.72), could be fast on his heels, along with Derrick Olsen of Helena (14.94).

Bryce Green of Townsend (15.24) will chase the tape in the B boys race against Neth of Manhattan (15.32).

Schedule: Friday – Trials: 11:20 a.m. B boys; 11:30 a.m. AA boys; Saturday – Finals: 11:05 a.m. B boys; 11:10 a.m. AA boys

The 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
The 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

100-Meter Hurdles

Watch for Phillips of Plains to stand out as multi-event placer this weekend. Her 15.13 ranks among the best in the state for all classes. She’ll face stiff competition from Alexa Archun of Manhattan (15.17) and Sophia Stiles of Malta (15.21).

In the AA ranks, Morgan Evans of Great Falls (15.10) could lead the pack, followed by Hailey Copinga of Billings Skyview (15.26).

Schedule: Friday – Trials: 11:45 a.m. B girls; 11:55 a.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 11:20 a.m. B girls; 11:25 a.m. AA girls

300-Meter Hurdles

Josh Barrows from Helena is in line to vie for the championship in the Class AA boys race with the top-ranked time entering this weekend (39.36). His best  competition could come from Trollope of Billings Skyview (39.65) and teammate Nolan Davis (40.05).

Copinga from Billings Skyview is seeded No. 1 among Class AA girls (44.95). Several girls will be on her heels, including Big Sky’s Hannah Coburn (46.04), Great Falls’ Evans (46.21) and Helena’s Josey Smiedala (46.23).

Manhattan’s Neth is seeded No. 1 among B boys (39.64).

In the B girls race, it’s Phillips once again. The Plains senior and defending state champ has the fastest time for all classes (44.21).

Schedule: Saturday – Finals: 12:35 p.m. B boys; 12:45 p.m. AA boys; 1 p.m. B girls; 1:10 p.m. AA girls

400-Meter Relay

Helena has the fastest relay team in Montana for any class. The boys won the  divisional title in 42.87, but five other AA boys teams are within one second, including Flathead and Glacier.

In the girls race, Big Sky (48.92), Bozeman (49.74) and Billings Skyview (49.78) should put on a show.

In the B ranks, the Manhattan boys are top ranked with 43.67 while the girls race will feature a strong Bigfork squad (51.36).

Schedule: Friday – Trials: 10:30 a.m. B boys; 10:40 a.m. AA boys; 10:50 a.m. B girls; 11 a.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 12:35 p.m. B boys; 12:45 p.m. AA boys; 1 p.m. B girls; 1:10 p.m. AA girls

1600-Meter Relay

The final race of the weekend, this race will feature a nail biter between the Billings West boys, Helena and Helena Capital as the top-ranked teams.

On the girls side, Billings Senior (4:00.34) and Helena (4:01.37) could be neck and neck for gold. Glacier shouldn’t be far behind either.

In the B ranks, the Bigfork girls are ranked No. 1 by over 10 seconds, 4:06.93. Manhattan leads the pack of Class B boys teams (3:26.51) ahead of Jefferson.

Schedule: Saturday – Finals: 3:25 p.m. B boys; 3:40 p.m. AA boys; 3:55 p.m. B girls; 4:10 p.m. AA girls

Jess Beaman competes in the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Jess Beaman competes in the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Long Jump

Flathead senior Jess Beaman is poised for a great weekend. He’s already landed 22-0, best among AA boys. Glacier’s Austin Cook could be his top competition, (21-11.25).

Big Sky’s Porch has landed the top mark among AA girls (17-7.5).

The reigning champ for Class B boys, Neth of Manhattan is already ahead of last year. This spring he has hit 22-2.25, the best mark in Montana for all classes.

For B girls, Sophia Stiles from Malta has the best mark for all classes (17-8).

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 10:30 a.m. AA girls; B boys; 1:30 p.m. AA boys; B girls

Triple Jump

Flathead’s Beaman is in line to contend for this title, too, among AA boys. The senior leads the state for all classes with a top jump of 44-11, nearly a foot ahead of his closest competitor.

Big Sky’s Porch leads the AA girls field with a top mark of 36-5.5, just ahead of Mims from Billings Senior (36-4.5).

In the B ranks, it’s again Stiles leading the girls field with 37-6, best in Montana. On the boys side, Tristin Gone of Harlem has hit 44-7, nearly two feet ahead of the next best competitor.

Schedule: Saturday – Finals: 10:30 a.m. B girls; AA boys; 1:30 p.m. B boys; AA girls

Josh Sandry competes in the high jump during the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Josh Sandry competes in the high jump during the 40th annual Archie Roe track and field meet at Legends Stadium in Kalispell on May 2, 2015. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

High Jump

Five AA boys have hit 6-3 or better, including Flathead’s Chade Gonter. Billings Senior’s Keaton Anderson has the top mark (6-5), while Billings West’s Ethan Garrett has achieved 6-4.

Hailey Copinga of Billings Skyview and Deliahla Koch of Billings West rank atop the AA girls event. Both have surpassed 5-5.

In the B boys event, Bigfork senior Josh Sandry will try to defend his title against stiff competition. The future Montana Grizzly football player has surpassed 6-3 this spring, but Troy’s Opland has jumped 6-4. Two other competitors — Connor Thorne of Florence and Javan Carroll of Conrad — have also surpassed 6-3.

In the B girls event, sisters Autrey and Shey Hannum of Thompson Falls will square off in a sibling showdown.

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 10:30 a.m. AA boys; 1:30 p.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 10:30 a.m. B boys; 1:30 p.m. B girls

Pole Vault

Helena’s Chase Smith leads the state with 16-5. He broke a 2006 divisional record last weekend with 16-0.

In the AA girls field, Ashling Slevin of Bozeman won the divisional title with 12-1, tops in Montana.

Two boys are ahead of the field in Class B: Jake Gascon of Thompson Falls and Quinci Wittman of Huntley Projecy. Both have surpassed 13-6.

In the girls field, Alexa Arthun of Manhattan has the top mark, 10-0.

Schedule: Thursday – Finals: 4 p.m. B girls; Friday – Finals: 8:30 a.m. B boys; Noon AA girls; 3 p.m. AA boys

Shot Put

Zayne Babbit, a senior at Missoula Hellgate and defending state champion for AA boys, leads Montana with a throw of 59-1.25. Glacier’s Harrison Kauffman has hit 52-9.5.

For AA girls, it’s a similar story. The reigning state champ — Ashleigh Lehotsky of Great Falls C.M. Russell — returns ranked No. 1 with a throw of 42-7.

In the B ranks, Alec Nehring of Manhattan leads with a throw of 56-0, four feet better than the next best mark. For girls, it’s Kayla Holmes of Plains, who has tossed 41-4.75.

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 9 a.m. AA boys; 1:30 p.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 9 a.m. B boys; 1:30 p.m. B girls

Discus

Plains’ Holmes has the potential for a state record in the B girls competition. She’s already landed 145-6. The Class B state record is 137-10, set by Larry Jo Christensen in 1993.

Babbitt of Hellgate is ranked No. 1 in the AA boys field with a dominating mark of 174-10.

For B boys, Nehring of Manhattan holds the best mark, 173-10. Bigfork’s Tyler Iverson has the next best, 159-3.

In the AA girls field, Madison Cicierski of Billings Senior enters as the top contender with 136-3, slightly ahead of teammate Hannah Nessan.

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 12:15 p.m. B girls; 1:45 p.m. B boys; Saturday – Finals: 12:15 p.m. AA girls; 1:45 p.m. AA boys

Keyawna Larson - Best of Preps at Legends Stadium on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon
Keyawna Larson – Best of Preps at Legends Stadium on Wednesday, June 4, 2014. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

Javelin

Glacier senior Keyawna Larson is aiming for a third consecutive state championship and possible record in the AA girls event. She won the divisional title with a remarkable throw of 149-2. The AA state record is 143-7, set by Aly Wardell of Billings West in 2009.

In the B girls event, Kimberly Earhart of Plains will compete against other top competitor Carley Vonheeder of Plains. Lindsay Wangerin of Plentywood is also in the mix as a contender.

In the Class B boys field, Glasgow’s Benji Phillips has a strong lead at No. 1 with a top throw of 194-7 this spring. That would have won last year’s title by nine feet.

For AA boys, Bozeman’s Brady Coffman enters No. 1 with a top throw of 188-5.

Schedule: Friday – Finals: 9 a.m. B boys; 10:30 a.m. AA girls; Saturday – Finals: 9 a.m. AA boys; 10:30 a.m. B girls

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