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Class A track and field preview

April 4, 2014
Northwest Montana A Conference


Class A track and field preview

•  By JEFF HEDSTROM montanatrack.com representation

(Editor's note: Jeff Hedstrom is a representative at montanatrack.com, an online resource for Montana high school track and field results, records, etc. Jeff is compiling previews and will publish them on the gazprepsports.com blog. While we're confident in Jeff's research, if you see a mistake in any of his previews, please contact me at skimmel@billingsgazette.com.)


With the first few meets already underway (or close to it), the high school track and field season is in full force, so get ready for high-flying jumps, quick-as-wind running, and power-blasting throws throughout the year leading up to the state competition. This year’s Class A-B state meet is inButteMay 30-31. We continue our coverage of the 2014 track and field previews; next we address the biggest questions heading into the season for Class A.

After witnessing the State A meet inLaurellast May, I have come to the conclusion that the 2013Corvallisgirls team will go down as one of the greatest teams inMontanatrack and field history. I had a chance to visit with a few of the girls from last year’s team and what a class act they are.

Check out my weekly column coming in April, Elite Track & Field Lists, which will be published Wednesday of every week on www.gazprepsports.com. Also check out www.montanatrack.com for the latest results and deep lists.


1. Which schools will make a run at the State A championship in 2014?

Whitefish won the 2013 team championship, but with only a couple of key contributors returning, the boys’ team title might be up for grabs heading into 2014. Billings Central and Dillon rounded out last year’s trophy ceremony. Glendive’s sixth place finish last year has a ton of talent back this year, including returnees Luke Hill, Taylor Schwartz, Tanner Schwartz, and Dillon Silvernale.Hamilton, taking fourth last year, can make some noise at state as well with Karill Apendaile, Anthony Schmalz, Easton Albert, and Abe Westfall as notable returnees for the Broncs. In the end, I like Glendive to take the trophy home, butHamiltonwill be in for a battle. For the third and final trophy, there will be a number of teams in the mix, including Whitefish, Central and Laurel.

2. In the sprints, which athletes have a chance to make some noise throughout the season and into late May?

Many of the top sprinters were lost to graduation, so that means there are three open titles to fill. Waiting in the wings to break out are Brock Butcher (Lewistown), Gharret Olson (Frenchtown), Mick Paffhausen (Dillon), Tai Sokoloski (Glendive), John LeSeur (Glendive) and Josiah Osborne (ColumbiaFalls). Many of these ready-made stars were on the podium last year. We might not have a three-event winner like graduated Logan Harwood, but we’ll have some very competitive races. Watch for Butcher, Osborne and Olson to battle in the 100- and 200-meter races. In the 400, it is Luke Hill’s (Glendive) title for the taking (finishing second last year), but Butcher will give him a run.

3. Both state champions return in the hurdle races. Which one has the advantage to repeat this season?

Keaton Grove (Whitefish) and Mick Paffhausen (Dillon) won the 110- and 300-meter hurdle races, respectively, last year at state, but is there anyone that can challenge the throne? Yes, there is. Besides both competing in the same events as each other, there’s Ben Herzog (MilesCity), Jadin Casey (Stevensville) and Luke John Koslosky (Dillon). Each of three athletes stood on the podium and can taste sweet victory heading into 2014. Believe this, though: It will come down to the last hurdle in one or both races between Grove, Paffhausen and Herzog.

4. Who will emerge out of this collection of very talented, young distance runners?

This quite possibly could be a year to remember for the returning distance runners. Ty Mogan (Laurel) narrowly won both 1600- and 3200-meter races last year. But with everyone back, this could be one wild ride coming in 2014. Closely trailing Mogan is Anthony Schmalz (Hamilton) and Jonathan Eastwood (Belgrade). These three individuals were top three at last year’s state cross county, with Schmalz ultimately winning that round of competition. Others that could compete for points at state will be Wyatt Mad Plume (Browning), Easton Albert (Hamilton) and Sage Schoonen (Dillon). In the 800-meter race, there is no clear preseason favorite yet. Those that have their eye on the title are Karill Apendaile (Hamilton), Ryan McKinney (Lewistown), Laden Ricketts (Livingston) and Jake Purlee (Corvallis).

5. Can any of these high-flying athletes take control of the jumps podium?

Sitting here last year we were talking about how deep the field was coming into the year. Well, some sportswriters could tell you we’re due for a down year, but something is telling me otherwise. Abe Westfall (Hamilton) is the only returning champion (triple jump) from last year; his competitors will have plenty to say about that. There were several underrated jumpers that ended 2013 in disappointment. Look for Tanner Schwartz (Glendive), Brandon Stubbs (Belgrade) and Timmy Regan (MilesCity) to rebound and get on the podium. I really like Schwartz to take the long jump, and his brother Taylor could join him on the podium in either event. Long jump returnees Brock Butcher (Lewistown), Sean Foley (Whitefish) and Nakia Alexander (ColumbiaFalls) will be super competitive as they also look to improve on last year’s placing. In pole vault, both Foley and Tanner Schwartz cleared 13 feet, 6 inches at state and took second and third, respectively. It appears both athletes are heading on a collision course to battle for the title. Other contenders include Dillon Silvernale (Glendive), Thomas Gruber (Havre) and EJ Havens (Whitefish).

6. In the throwing events, who has a chance make a huge mark at state?

Sean Ward (Billings Central) surprised the entire field when he threw the mark of his career last year at state. Can he do it again? No one will be surprised this time around, but several athletes will have a chance to beat him. Luke May (Whitefish), Ty Morgan (ColumbiaFalls), Tyler Colsen (Corvallis) and Edward Ryan (Corvallis) are key returnees in which looks to be a great javelin competition once again. In discus and shot, Chris Emter (Livingston) will be the favorite in both events. Others in contention to compete for the top thrower are Gage Smith (Whitefish) and Quinton Holmlund (Laurel).


1. Can the Corvallis girls four-peat this spring and win yet another title?

Well, I was wrong aboutCorvallislast year, but there is no doubting this year. They’re for real! Coming into 2014,Corvallislooks to continue its dominance with the return of Sadi Henderson, Ayden Eickhoff, Jane Booth, Katelyn Frost and Isabella Pape. TheBelgradegirls team will have its work cut out if it wants to compete for the top spot, as I predict they’ll take the second-place trophy home. But it certainly won’t be a 100-point victory byCorvallis. Whitefish andSidneyhave some talent coming back, which should make for a good trophy race for third. Whitefish has the multi-talented Marlow Schulz, who seemed to have won every event last year. She won three events and was on two second-place relay teams.

2. Can Marlow Schulz three-peat in her three sprinting events?

Schulz (Whitefish) nearly single handedly earned Whitefish a trophy last year, as it took fourth. She may get some help this season, but her sole task is to three-peat her individual events (100- , 200- , and 400-meter races). Sadi Henderson (Corvallis) will be her main competitor as she narrowly was beat in all three events last spring. Henderson stands a good chance to beat her at least once, but Schulz has extraordinary athletic talent, so I’d give her the advantage to win two out of three. Other athletes that will battle for podium positions are Katelyn Frost (Corvallis), Holly Anderson (Dillon), Madeline Orrell (Belgrade), Isis Covington (Livingston) and Courtney Stromme (Belgrade). There should be a good finish top to bottom for both sprint races. In the 400 race, Schulz and Henderson will be the favorites. Looking to return to the podium will be Cierra Lamey (Dillon) and Tanna Holiday (Belgrade).

3. Can Holly Anderson follow Lakyn Connors’ lead and sweep both hurdle races?

With Connors graduated the hurdle crowns are up for the taking. Holly Anderson (Dillon) took second in both races last season and will look to improve her times and, of course, win both. This task won’t be easy as Lexi Prevost (Sidney) and Courtney Stromme (Belgrade) are huge threats heading into the season. Podium battles will be interesting as there is a mixture of young ladies that got experience at state last year. Kyra Fisher (Belgrade), Shealea Wallen (Frenchtown), Megan Hawkins (Livingston), Allie Schulz (Whitefish) and Mikayla Jefferson (Hardin) all should battle for medals.

4. In the distance races, which athletes will we be watching come late May?

Three names to remember for 2014: Ayden Eickhoff (Corvallis), Isabella Pape (Corvallis) and Kaycie Stewart (Corvallis). All three stole the show inLaurelin the distance events with Eickhoff sweeping all three. The trio took the first three spots in the 1600- and 3200-meter races. I’d expect more or less the same results inButtewith exception to three young ladies who will look to break the three up, Sadie Reddick (Belgrade), Kaitlin Stromberg (Hamilton) and Samantha Mundel (ColumbiaFalls). In the 800, look for Eickhoff to repeat as champion, but will closely be followed by Reddick, Peyton Filius (Havre), Sarah Latcham (Whitefish) and Cladia Hewston (Polson).

5. Who will jump to the top of the podium this spring?

The jump competitions are usually interesting, mostly because they are so unpredictable. In high jump, Jane Booth (Corvallis) was in control much of last year; she looks to do the same this year. With the state record only two inches (high jump state record is 5 feet, 8 inches) away from her best jump, she could possibly make history. Jessica Lewis (Corvallis) will challenge Booth for the title. Anika Moore (Hamilton) and Madison Page (Belgrade) are the favorites to beat in the long and triple jumps. There’ll be several girls that will pose threats to the favorites, including Katelyn Frost (Corvallis), Krysten Mossberg (Libby) and Carla Nicosia (ColumbiaFalls).Sidneyhas dominated the pole vault podium for years now; Erin Harris (Sidney) and Lexi Prevost (Sidney) look to continue that trend. Frost, Aubrey Kessel (Sidney) and Lacey Waid (Havre) are also in the running for podium spots.

6. In the throwing events, which athletes have the best chance at winning state crowns?

There are no returning state champions in the throws, but plenty of talent still exists. Bethany Rides Horses (Hardin) stood on two podiums last spring (shot put and javelin). Can she make it three this season? I believe she can; she is one of better throwers that was consistent last year. Courtney Albright (Corvallis), Josee Pendleton (Dillon) and Martha Stocker (Havre) could test Rides Horses in multiple events. In javelin, Erin Harris (Sidney) and Kyla Lewis (Corvallis) both have experience and could be in for a high placing.

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