HELENA — Several track athletes will attempt to qualify for the Class AA state track meet at the divisional contest Friday and Saturday at Vigilante Stadium.
It's the final opportunity to qualify for the May 24-25 state meet at Legends Field in Kalispell. The top six contestants at divisionals qualify.
For the Helena High girls, Caroline Bullock will look to qualify in the triple jump. Bullock and teammate Haily Tolman, who competes in the high jump and long jump, will have a good shot to qualify for state, coach Sheila Williams said.
"I am very excited, and we have some younger kids who have stepped up and have done some really exciting things," Williams said. "Kylie Hartnett and Odessa Zentz have been huge for our team in the distance, and our seniors have also done a nice job. Emilie Maes has also done a great job in the distance, and I think we will have some decent depth."
Williams also credited Jamie Pickens, who after three years of competing in softball, decided to try a new sport. Before this season, Pickens had never competed in high school varsity track and field.
Helena's Garrett Bywater will be a competitor to watch, according to coach Manny Garza. For the majority of his high school career, Bywater, who is now a senior, has been a member of the junior varsity. Now he's on the cusp of qualifying for state in the pole vault.
"I think he just needs to do what he has been doing," Garza said. "He pole vaulted 13 feet, and if he repeats that he has a good chance (to qualify) if he did what he did in last weekend's crosstown."
Garza knows in the sport of pole vaulting anything can happen as several variables depend on your success.
"Pole vaulting is a volatile sport," Garza said. "It's an event depending on the condition of the day, and at the same time, I feel like if he gets in the 13 feet or the top-six, he will be moving on to the state."
Zach Spiroff, who is signed with Carroll College to play football, will also be looking to punch his ticket to the state meet.
"Spiroff is the sixth seed in the 100, and if he sets a personal this weekend, he'll sneak into the postseason," Garza said.
The Capital boys and girls track teams are filled with promise, according to long-time coach Lon Carter.
"We will be very young, and very lucky to develop our juniors and sophomores," Carter said. "We have a very talented group of freshmen."
Dawson Ziegler, Tyler Little and Dylan Cunningham were three notable athletes who Carter mentioned would have a chance at qualifying for state, among other competitors. Ziegler competes in javelin and pole vault, while Little and Cunningham compete in the shot put and discus.
The Capital girls have some young athletes who will make an impact, according to coach Dick McMahon.
Three pole vaulters are close, including sophomores Pressly Smith, Emma Rohrer-Fitzhugh and Jaymee Sheridan. In the discus, it is Jaden Kalchbrenner, Amanda Haab and Ashley Bono who will be looking to qualify.