Here is a look at the State AA track & field meet in Kalispell on Friday and Saturday.
Defending team champs: Kalispell Glacier (boys), Missoula Sentinel (girls).
Returning individual champs: Sentinel’s Lauren Heggen (girls 100 hurdles, triple jump), Billings Senior’s Tavy Findon (girls 300 hurdles, won’t compete in this event due to injury), Bozeman’s Delaney Bahn (girls long jump), Kalispell Flathead’s Ben Perrin (boys 3,200), Helena’s Trey Tintinger (boys high jump, won’t compete due to injury) and Glacier’s Evan Todd (javelin).
Overview: Sentinel’s boys and Helena Capital’s girls enter as the Western AA Divisional winners while Billings West’s boys and Bozeman’s girls took the Eastern AA Divisional crowns. All of those schools will be seen as favorites for the team titles heading into this weekend’s meet in Kalispell.
Bahn, a senior for the Hawks, could walk away with a historic weekend when it’s all said and done. Heading into the state meet, Bahn holds the top Class AA marks in the 100, 200 and high and long jumps. Bahn narrowly missed breaking the all-class long jump record last year but comes in this year with a mark of 19 feet, 11.25 inches, almost a foot farther than the current all-class record of 18-11.75 which was set by Flathead’s Lexi Miller in 1979.
Bahn and Bozeman teammate Terra Trom could set the Hawks up for a big weekend on the girls side. Trom, a junior, leads AA with the fastest times in the 800 and 3,200.
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The girls triple jump record might also fall for the second straight year. Sentinel junior Lauren Heggen broke the record a year ago at 39 feet, 7 inches but on May 3 she went over a foot farther and enters the state meet with a mark of 40-07.50. Teammate Ashley McElmurry also went 40-02.25 at the same meet, so either Spartan has a legit shot to break the record. Heggen and McElmurry are just the second and third female athletes in Montana high school history to break 40-foot triple jump marks, according to the MHSA.
McElmurry, a senior and Nebraska track commit, enters state with the fastest times in both hurdles races. West High junior LaKeema Williams leads the state in the discus and shot put.
On the boys side, quite a bit of attention will be turned toward the javelin competition where two nationally ranked throwers will go head-to-head.
Evan Todd, last year’s state champion, currently ranks sixth in the nation in the javelin at 208 feet, 8 inches, a mark he achieved on May 9. The Glacier senior and future Griz track and field athlete will battle Sentinel senior Rylan Ortt as they have all season. Ortt, last year’s runner-up and future Bobcat football player, ranked as high as fourth in the country at one point, and currently sits at No. 13 in the nation at 203-02, a throw he completed on May 3.
Flathead senior Ben Perrin, who will run at Montana State in college, also looks to wrap up his decorated prep career. Perrin enters with the best times in the 1,600 and 3,200, the latter of which he won last year.
West has a pair of athletes who rank at the top in AA. Senior Carter Slade tops the state in the shot put and discus while junior Connor Ryan owns the fastest 100 and 200 times. Sentinel senior Elias Dewaters, a future Griz football player, also ranks among the state’s elite with the top marks in the long and triple jumps.