Flathead High School track athletes Lane Chivers, Brody Thornsberry, Will Hollensteiner, Jacob Dolezal, and Ben Bliven, pictured June 11, 2024. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon
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Best of Preps — Spring 2024

Recognizing the top high school athletes from throughout Flathead County during the 2024 spring sports season

By Micah Drew

Lane Chivers, Brody Thornsberry, Will Hollensteiner, Jacob Dolezal, Ben Bliven

School: Flathead
Class: Junior, Senior, Sophomore, Senior, Junior
Honors: All-Class 4x100m and 4x400m relay record holders; combined for 55 of Flathead’s 77 team points

A jiffy — commonly defined as one-one-hundredth of a second — is 10 times faster than a human eye can blink. It’s also the exact margin that the Flathead 4x100m relay team broke the All-Class record by on the first day the state track meet last month. “The goal was just to win, though we knew we had the smallest chance to take a swing at the record,” Brody said.

It was after the first meet of the season that the five boys comprising the Braves’ two relay teams knew they had the sprinting firepower to do something special. But with a long season to get through before state, the Braves approached each relay race with unified mentality that “today, this race, is the only thing that matters,” Ben said. “We have to execute today’s meet before we can think about the next one.”

After the first relay victory and record, the mindset of the 4x400m relay team members shifted from just winning to taking down another state record — but by a larger margin. “We thought breaking 3:18 was a good goal to shoot for,” Will, who won the individual 400m and anchored the relay team, said. “When I saw the clock at the finish, I just couldn’t believe the time.”

Since 1995 — long before any of the current Braves were born — the state 4x400m record had inched down just 1.25 seconds. In one fell swoop the Braves knocked it down by more than two seconds, running 3:15.92.

Brooke Zetooney

School: Whitefish
Class: Senior
Honors:All-Class 200m state record holder; Class A 200m, 4x100m relay, 4x400m relay champion

It was little more than a twitch that derailed Brooke’s quest as a four-time state champion in the 100m. A feat accomplished only twice before at the Class A level, both by former Bulldogs, it requires perfect execution in eight races over 36 months.

Unfortunately, for the first time in her high school career, the three-time defending state champion twitched before the starting gun fired in the 100m prelims and was called for a false start. Unable to run under protest, Brooke had to mentally pivot fast.

“I was really freaked out because that’s never happened, and I knew I was ready to run sub-12,” Brooke said. She was able to mentally pivot, however, and easily won the 200m prelims and finished second in the 400m. During the second day of competition at the state meet, Brooke anchored Whitefish’s winning 4x100m relay team to a fourth consecutive victory and the 4x400m relay team to a third straight title.

In between the two relays, she watched the 100m final go off without taking part in her signature event. Instead, she was focused on defending her last individual title in the 200m and she was angry. “I’ve never run that angry, with just this angry fire consuming me. It was such a blur — I was trying for our school record but when I saw the time on the board, I couldn’t believe it was that fast. The anger and determination definitely helped.”

Brooke’s time of 24.41 set an All-Class state record, adding to her Class A 100m record from 2023 and the Bulldogs’ record-setting 4x100m run this year.

“I like having those records because I want to be a good influence on the girls who come through the program next. I hope they see what’s possible and want to leave their own positive mark on Whitefish.”

Jack Jensen

School: Bigfork
Class: Senior
Honors: Class A 800m Champion

It’s been a storyline for the entire academic year: How will Bigfork’s athletes fare competitively after moving up to Class A this year? The question is moot if you ask Jack. For the lanky distance runner, it didn’t matter who he lined up to race against — he was going to run fast.

“I’d say the biggest difference was during regular season competition because every week the meets were more competitive and had more kids racing in them. But I knew I was just as fast, if not faster, than anyone else in Class A. I just got to do what I do.”

And that is how the 2023 Class B double state champion became (to the best of our knowledge) the first athlete in Montana to repeat a state title across two different divisions in consecutive seasons. Jack ran a personal best 1:54.42 to win the 800m and complete an undefeated season in his signature event.

“All year we were talking about running 1:54. My parents were saying it, my coaches were saying it, my teammates were saying it. Stepping out there at state and knowing there were other fast kids looking to run around that fast, I knew it was going to happen.”

Jack will take his talents to Carroll College next fall to run cross country and track. “Ever since I was little running Highlander track meets, I knew it was my best sport, even though I enjoy playing all of the other ones. It’s fun to be good at something.”

Kenadie Goudette

School: Glacier
Class: Senior
Honors:Four-time Class AA All-State Honoree

Following two hip surgeries during her sophomore year, Kenadie had some doubts about her athletic future. She barely played softball that year, but still put up the stats needed to make the All-State list.

Two years, two more All-State honors and a state championship later, Kenadie shows just what’s possible with the right amount of determination. “I was pretty down on what I could do while I recovered from surgery, but it really shows that hard work and dedication can pay off.”

As a senior, Kenadie hammered in 11 homers and 30 RBIs during her 85 appearances at bat. She was a key performer throughout the season and kept the Wolfpack’s dream of defending its championship title alive throughout the state tournament.

“I feel like I contributed when the team needed it most. I hit the two-run homer in the state championship, which boosted our team up when we needed it, even if we couldn’t clinch the title in the end. To be able to say I came in when I was needed in my last high school game is the best I could have hoped for.”

The Wolfpack graduated one of the most talented senior classes in program history, a group of girls who had played together on the diamond for more than eight years.

“It was just super hard to see that come to an end and realize that we won’t be there to see the upcoming juniors and seniors keep the legacy going.”

Malaki Simpson

School: Columbia Falls
Class: Senior
Honors: Class A 100m & 200m state record holder and champion, 4x400m relay champion

Unbeknownst to a seventh-grade Malaki, his junior high football coach signed him up for the track team, and then told him he was required to show up for practice.

“It doesn’t sound that important, but that’s how it all started,” he said.

Five years later, Malaki is still just getting started on what’s sure to be an eye-catching career as a sprinter.

Following two runner-up performances in the short sprints as a junior, a “slight upset” as he says, Malaki felt pressure to perform at his best during his final state track meet for the Wildcats.

“I love having pressure on me, even to the point where someone has a bit of a lead on me during a race. It makes it easier for me to lock in,” he said.

Over two days at the state meet in Laurel, Malaki executed his goals with precision. He won the 100m in a personal-best 10.74, tying the Class A state record; returned to run 21.67 in the 200m, a huge personal best and another state record; he ran third leg on the winning 4x400m relay and anchored the 4×100 relay team that took second — the only blip on a perfect weekend.

Now the University of Montana-bound Malaki is ready to step up his game. “I want to figure out what my body can handle, what I can put it through and there’s going to be some fast times that come out of those questions. I’m just looking forward to the coaching and teammates and basically having track be a full-time job. A job that I love.”

Aiden Krause

School: Glacier
Class: Senior
Honors: Class AA shot put champion, 2nd place discus

As a defending state champion, Aiden’s goal for his senior track season was to finish on top of the podium once again. He did, but not in the discus, his primary event, and one he hadn’t lost in 13 months.

Instead, Aiden found himself in the winner’s circle after launching the shot put more than 58 feet on the first day of competition in Great Falls, a full 3 feet past his nearest competitor. “It was definitely some of the most fun I’ve ever had in the ring. The last round everyone was throwing their best throws and we were all getting hyped for each other. My last throw was the last one of the competition and it was my best mark by a half inch.”

Honestly, I didn’t expect to do that well in shot put coming into this season, but I kept getting better and better throughout.”

With the discus competition the next day, Aiden had to cap his excitement of becoming a state champion, relax and bring back the competitive mindset. Despite having a great toss in the discus, he finished runner-up to a Gallatin thrower who shattered the all-state record.

“It’s hard not to be able to repeat in my favorite event, but I still came away as a double state medalist and it was a really good competition.”

Aiden will continue his athletic career at North Dakota State University, a program renowned for their throwing prowess.

Haven Speer & Sarah Downs

School: Glacier
Class: Seniors
Honors: Three-time Divisional Champions, 5th place at state

Sarah and Haven first came together as tennis partners during their sophomore year and immediately had the kind of chemistry a coach can only dream of seeing on the court. It’s a brand of teamwork forged through years of playing volleyball, basketball and, of course, tennis together. In their first year partnered up as sophomores the duo made an appearance at the state tournament finishing fifth. Last year they went undefeated until the championship.

“Each year we’ve just felt better working together and we’re always on the same page when we’re playing. It was really exciting to have our final season together,” Sarah said. The pair went undefeated again during the regular season, capped off with a third straight divisional championship.

“We definitely played the best tennis of our careers at divisionals, and it was so fun to play.”

The state tournament didn’t go quite as planned, starting with a late-season snowfall that moved the first day’s matches inside.

“That was a unique experience for us because we’d never really had a tournament like that. It was a little wonky and the schedule was pretty weird with games going until 2 a.m.,” Haven said.

Ultimately, both athletes look back at their time with Wolfpack tennis fondly.

“Glacier tennis is headed in such a good direction with a lot of tennis rising up and we’re excited to be able to come back and watch a few matches in the future and know we got to be a part of it all,” Haven said.

Alivia Rinehart

School: Flathead
Class: Sophomore
Honors:Class AA 200m champion, 3rd place 100m & 300m hurdles

Alivia is not shy about her intention to win as many events on the track as possible. Coming off a sophomore campaign that saw her earn four top-10 finishes, the Bravette was single-minded this spring.

“I just knew it was a realistic goal for me,” she said. “All season I was running consistently in all three of my main events and had very few bad races.”

At the Optimist Club Women’s Track Meet in mid-April, Alivia won all three of her signature events, and a week later at the Top 10 meet in Missoula Alivia set a personal best and state-leading mark in the 100m hurdles. “I was getting really excited at that point and just knew the season was going to keep going so well.”

She achieved her goal at the state meet winning the 200m and added to her medal haul with third place finishes in both hurdle events. Of the three races however, she might be most proud of her 300m hurdle performance.

“I didn’t expect to be very good at the 300s in general,” she said, adding that even though she fell on one of the hurdles, her time was as fast as she’d run as a sophomore. “Next year, the goal is to sweep all three events. And maybe add in a few more.”

Carson Krack

School: Whitefish
Class: Senior
Honors: Class A Champion 110m & 300m hurdles; 4th place Nike Outdoor Nationals 110m hurdles

Carson Krack was the busiest person at the Class A state meet in Laurel. The Carroll-bound athlete qualified for state in 10 different events — all three jumps, both hurdle distances, all three sprinting events and as a member of both relay teams.

Unfortunately, athletes can only compete in nine events, so he had to make some hard choices.

Including prelims, Carson ran seven races and competed in long and triple jump over the course of two days. He emerged with six medals and contributed 48 out of the 56 points scored by the Bulldogs.

“More than anything, I was just surprising myself each time I went out there to compete this season. Every time my coach would tell me what to aim for in an event, I’d have an idea of what I wanted to do and across the board I did better than I thought I could.”

He showed flawless execution in pulling off the double victory in the 110m hurdles and 300m hurdles in the same 48-hour period where he set three personal bests.

Many comparisons have been made to former Whitefish Bulldog Lee Walburn, who took up the decathlon at Carroll College and is bound for the Olympic Trials. Carson is stoked to follow in those footsteps and forge his own path as a multi-event athlete.

“The competition is going to be next level and I’m excited to learn the new events. Track has always been there for me and been the sport I love the most.”

More Stars

Track and Field

AA Boys

Evan Barnes, Glacier, senior, 5th 100m, 4th 110m hurdles, 2nd 4x100m relay
Ethan Anderson, Glacier, junior, 6th 200m, 2nd 300m hurdles, 2nd 4x100m relay, 4th 4x400m relay
Shae Warner, Glacier, junior, 2nd 4x100m relay, 4th 4x400m relay
Mark Ahner, Glacier, junior, 4th 4x400m relay
Cohen Kastelitz, Glacier, senior, 4th 4x400m relay
Kash Goicoechea, Glacier, senior, 2nd 4x100m relay
Braden Capser, Flathead, senior, 2nd javelin
Owen Thiel, Glacier, sophomore, 5th 1600m, 5th 3200m
Henry Sellards, Glacier, senior, 4th shot put.
Michael Maher, Flathead, junior, 3rd pole vault
Trevin Olivier, Flathead, senior, 4th pole vault

AA Girls

Mikenna Conan, Flathead, senior, 4th 800m, 6th 4x400m relay
Lauren Bissen, Glacier, freshman, 3rd 3200m
Bristol Lenz, Flathead, sophomore, 5th 100m hurdles, 6th 4x100m relay, 6th 4x400m relay
Zoey Bortz, Flathead, junior, 2nd 300m hurdles, 6th 4x100m relay, 6th 4x400m relay, 5th long jump
Afton Wride, Flathead, senior, 6th 4x100m relay, 6th 4x400m relay
Rylee Thompson, Flathead, senior, 6th triple jump
Breanna Barnes, Glacier, junior, 6th pole vault
Kai Johnson, Glacier, senior, 3rd shot put, 4th discus
Charlotte Ostler, Glacier, junior, 6th javelin
Kennedy Moore, Flathead, senior, 2nd high jump
Rylee Bigelow Glacier, senior, 5th discus

A Girls

Hailey Ells, Whitefish, senior, 2nd 300m hurdles/ 3rd 100m hurdles/1st 4×100 & 4×400 relay/6th high jump
Rachael Wilmot, Whitefish, junior, 2nd 100m/ 3rd 200m/3rd 400m/1st 4×100 & 4×400 relay
Anna Boysen, Whitefish, freshman, 1st 4x400m relay
Bailey Smith, Whitefish, senior, 5th javelin, 5th triple jump
Soli Bullemer, Columbia Falls, sophomore, 2nd pole vault, 2nd triple jump
Emma McAllister, Columbia Falls, senior, 3rd pole vault

A Boys

Banyan Johnston, Columbia Falls, freshman, 1st high jump
Robert Merchant, Bigfork, sophomore, 6th 100m
Kai Golan, Columbia Falls, senior, 6th 200m
Simon Douglas, Whitefish, junior, 3rd 800m
Wyatt Johnson, Bigfork, senior, 3rd 110H, 3rd 300H
Carson Gulick, Whitefish, junior, 5th 110H
Jadon Persinger, Columbia Falls, junior, 1st 4x400m relay
Quinn Clark, Columbia Falls, senior, 1st 4x400m relay
Jack Phelps, Columbia Falls, junior, 1st 4x400m relay
Azure Stolte, Whitefish, senior, 2nd 4x400m relay
Ethan Amick, Whitefish, junior, 2nd 4x400m relay
Lane Voermans, Columbia Falls, junior, 3rd shot put, 2nd discus
Tamret Savik, Bigfork, sophomore, 4th high jump, 3rd triple jump
Oliver Kress, Columbia Falls, junior, 5th pole vault
Wyatt Barnes, Bigfork, senior, 5th triple jump


Engellant/Rudbach, Glacier, 2nd boys doubles
Kelch/Hunt, Whitefish, 3rd place boys doubles


Ella Farrell, Glacier, senior, All State * Also selected as a featured athlete, but had scheduling conflicts
Olivia Warriner, Glacier, freshman, All State
Emma Cooke, Glacier, senior, 2nd Team All Conference
Mackenzie Brandt, Flathead, junior, 2nd Team All Conference
Olivia Nyman, Flathead, freshman, 2nd Team All Conference
Cazz Rankosky, Glacier, junior, All-Conference Honorable Mention
Nakiah Persinger, Glacier, junior, All-Conference Honorable Mention
Zoey Allen, Glacier, senior, All-Conference Honorable Mention
Maddie Moultray, Columbia Falls, senior, 1st Team All State * Also selected as a featured athlete, but had scheduling conflicts
Tayler Lingle, Columbia Falls, junior, 1st Team All State
Demye Rensel, Columbia Falls, senior, 1st Team All State
Onnikka Lawrence, Columbia Falls, freshman, 1st Team All Conference
Italia Hoerner, Columbia Falls, junior, All Conference Honorable Mention
Kailyn Marengo, Columbia Falls, junior, 2nd Team All Conference.


Cody Schweikert, Columbia Falls, senior, All State
Kellen Kroger, Columbia Falls, senior, All State
Michael Miller, Whitefish, senior, All State
AC Chilson, Columbia Falls, senior, All State
Reggie Sapa, Columbia Falls, junior, All State
Matthew Mitts, Columbia Falls, senior, All State
Tait Orme, Whitefish, sophomore, 1st Team All-Conference
Tyelyn Rodriguez, Bigfork, freshman, 2nd Team All-Conference
Ryan Conklin, Whitefish, junior, 2nd Team All-Conference
Nico Young, Columbia Falls, sophomore, 2nd Team All-Conference
Grady Campbell, Bigfork, sophomore, 2nd Team All-Conference
Avery Caton, Whitefish, junior, 2nd Team All-Conference
Dawson Juntunen, senior, 2nd Team All-Conference