BUTTE — The first track meet held in the Mining City this year will also be one of the biggest of the season.
All 14 Class AA teams will bring their boys squads to Charlie Merrifield track as the 2019 Swede Dahlberg Invitational gets rolling at 11 a.m. on Friday. It will be the only time this season outside of the state track meet they will all be in the same place at the same time.
With temperatures projected in the mid-60s and precipitation out of the forecast, it should be a day that’ll see plenty of personal records and new state bests.
It also should provide a great preview of what is to come at May’s Class AA meet in Kalispell. With that in mind, here are a couple things to watch for during Friday’s meet.
Mims vs. Tintinger
Last year at the state track meet Helena High’s Trey Tintinger and Billings Skyview’s Julius Mims went back-and-forth in the high jump finals. In a dramatic conclusion to the event, Tintinger finished first with a mark of 6-foot-9 that Mims just barely could not clear.
For the first time since that meet in Great Falls, the two jumpers will face off. Tintinger comes in with an impressive 6-11 mark that he cleared on April 6 at the prestigious Arcadia Invitational in Arcadia, California.
Mims, meanwhile, cleared 6-10 at the 4B’s meet on April 6 and has jumped 6-8 in each of his last two meets. Tintinger has competed in just one meet at the Montana prep level this season, but it seems likely he will jump this weekend.
Catch the 1600
The best battle of the day might just happen in the 1600 meter run.
Flathead’s Ben Perrin — who won the 3200 and was fourth in the 1600 at state last year — leads the pack of five runners who have already hit the state qualifying mark of 4:34:00. Perrin’s best mark is a 4:30.60 that he ran back on April 6, while Billings Senior’s Owen Smith isn’t far behind with a 4:31.46.
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Bozeman’s Griffin May, Great Falls-CMR’s Gordon Gentry and Senior’s Finn Bentler could all be in the mix as well.
With several other runners not far behind to the leaders marks, the distance races should all be compelling this season. The 3200 has a chance to be good as well, though Perrin’s 9:35.58 in that race is the best in the state by over 15 seconds.
Time to break 11?
Cold weather has hampered the start to the track season around the state and as such sprint times across the state have suffered. While five athletes have topped the state qualifying standard of 11.30 in the 100 meters, 11 seconds has yet to be beat this year.
Flathead’s Chance Sheldon-Allen has the best mark in the state with a personal record 11.12 on April 9. Missoula Sentinel’s Jaden Foster hit an 11.18 on the same day (though at a different meet) and currently sits at second in Class AA.
West teammates Connor Ryan and Eyezayah Boroughs are third and fourth, respectively, with times of 11.25 and 11.26.
Sheldon-Allen also leads the 200 with Ryan in second. The two juniors are the only Class AA boys to meet the qualifying standard and just four total athletes have broke 23 seconds in the race.
Don’t forget the throwers
While Rylan Ortt’s 198-6 javelin toss that currently ranks fifth in the country has been one of the stories of the season so far, it’s really a deep group of throwers across the state this season.
Last year’s javelin champ, Evan Todd, has had a good season so far for Kalispell Glacier and has a throw of 187-4, which ranks 21st in the country.
Four athletes have also already qualified for state in the shot put and are led by Billings West junior Jaden Bienvenue’s toss of 51-9.5. Carter Slade, who placed third in the discus at the state meet last year has already PR’d for Billings West this season. His toss of 160-2 leads the state by over three feet.