HELENA — After an undefeated season in the pole vault, highlighted by a state championship which capped off her fourth all-state medal in the event, Helena High’s Kamden Hilborn is the Independent Record’s 2018 Female Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Hilborn’s 12-foot-3 clearance at the Class AA Meet in Great Falls last weekend is the third highest mark for a State AA title, after Helena’s Shannon Agee’s 13-0 all-class record in 1998 and a 12-4 by KC Dahlgren of Missoula Big Sky in 2005.
“It feels awesome,” Hilborn told 406mtsports.com, after clinching her third state title this year, to go along with team soccer and basketball championships. “It's been a long time coming and I’m really excited. It was a great day and it was really intense. There was some really good competition and I’m really happy with how I performed.”
Hilborn is also a 2-time IR Soccer Player of the Year.
She is one of only three Lady Bengals to crack to the 12-foot barrier, along with Agee, and Julie Penner, who went 12-1 in 2001.
Hilborn also qualified in the long jump and 100 meter hurdles for the 2018 state meet. In the long jump, she sailed 17-5 (improving her PR by 7 inches), but placed eighth in one of the event’s strongest fields in AA meet history.
The distance put her in a three-way tie for third on the school’s all-time bests, after Allison Morrison’s Helena record of 17-10 (2012) and Whitney Haseman at 17-5 (2007). Hilborn shares the No. 3 slot with Leslie Ursich (1984) and Sara Dudley (1992).
In the hurdles, she finished ranked No. 8 in the AA’s Deep List according to montanatrack.com, with a time of 15.60. That race earned her a fourth-place medal at the Western Division meet.
At State, she had the seventh-best time in the prelims, but was involved in a freakish wreck in the finals, and was disqualified.
Prior to this season, her all-state pole vault medals included a sixth-place finish as a freshman in 2015, third place her sophomore year, and state runner-up in 2017. She was also a three-time city vault champion, and a two-time divisional titlist.
Hilborn’s seven victories during this season took place at the Swede Dahlberg (11-0), Skor DeKam (11-0), Western Top-10 (10-6), CMR-Belgrade-Manhattan quadrangular (12-0), Crosstown (11-3), Western Divisionals (11-0) and State (12-3).
Earlier in the year, Helena vault coach Bill Hurford stated the keys for her “to jump high” were “health, speed and strength,” along with improvement in her plant and the weather.
Apparently all five of those factors were favorable in Great Falls last week, when she captured the meet’s first championship on Thursday night.
“Kamden has left an indelible mark in the Bengal track program at HHS,” longtime coach Sheila Williams said. “She has been able to excel in three sports at Helena High while balancing summer obligations, camps and workouts.”
Williams noted that Hilborn ranks in the school’s top-sevem all-time performances in each of her three events.
“The standard she set for herself was to be the best and compete at the highest level,” Williams said. “Kamden provided an excellent example for all the athletes in the program and set a high bar for them to follow. It has been a pleasure to coach her and watch her compete, and she will be missed."