HELENA — The Capital High and Helena track teams will take part in the Western AA Divisional Meet on Friday and Saturday in Missoula at Big Sky High.
The postseason is generally regarded as the "real track season," and all four local teams would like to add to the number of tracksters they've already qualified for the State Meet, which takes place May 25-26 in Great Falls.
The top-six in each event at divisionals advances to state.
The Capital girls are led by a trio of athletes ranked in the top-five of montanatrack.com's Class AA "Deep Lists," consisting of senior Elena Carter, junior Audrey Bloomquist and sophomore Melissa Moreni.
Carter is No. 2 in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.06 seconds and No. 4 in the long jump at 17-feet-4¾.
She is last year's state champion in the long jump. Bloomquist is listed third in the 100 meters in 12.66 and eighth in the triple jump at 35-5, and Moreni is No. 4 in the 110 hurdles in 15.31.
Capital's 400 relay team of freshman Leigha Carter, Elena, Moreni and Bloomquist own the No. 2 time in the state, getting the stick around in 50.18. The 1,600 relay quartet is listed sixth.
"We had a fantastic dual meet season but divisionals gives us the opportunity to see how we match up against all the other Western team competing under the same conditions," Capital coach Dick McMahon said. "Hopefully, we'll be able to get a few more events at the state meet covered and a few more girls on the bus.
"We truly believe we are one of the deeper teams in the West, but now we need to prove it."
Helena coach Sheila Williams' squad is paced by senior Kamden Hilborn, who sits atop the AA pole vault leader board with a clearance of 12-0. She is also No. 7 in the 100 hurdles at 15.79.
Helena teammates Kaci Lloyd in the high jump (5-3) and Ginny Kerr in the triple jump (35-6¾), are listed fourth and fifth in the deep lists.
"Presently, we have eight individuals that have pre-qualified for state," Williams said. "Our goals are to do well as a team, improve our times and distances, and qualify more athletes for state. It would be great to have some divisional champions."
On the boys side, coach Lon Carter's Capital athletes are paced by seniors Justin Jenks, Conor Quick and Jacob Hofer.
Jenks leads the Class AA standings in the shot put with a heave of 61-3½, and the discus at 170-2. He is undefeated this season in the shot. Quick is rated No. 3 in the shot put at 53-0, and Hofer is tied for third in the pole vault at 14-0.
Capital's 1,600 relay of Matt McGinley, Joe Hagengruber, Shane Haller and Xavier Melice is No. 4 with a time of 3:28.34.
Helena's Caleb Ferguson owns No. 3 rankings in two events, the triple jump with a leap of 44-2, and the pole vault (tie) at 14-0. Ferguson has now vaulted 14-0 in five straight meets.
Also in the top-five for Helena coach Tony Arntson are Ray Trudeau in the 400 run (51.02) and Gabe Dalbec in the javelin (174-2), both listed fifth.