With the track postseason fast approaching, Scottie coach John LaBonty wants his athletes to take a break.
“Right now, we need to rest a little bit,” he said. “We’re a little beat up.”
The Scotties’ season started slowly with cancellations and relocated/rescheduled meets constantly shifting their schedule. Recently, however, it’s been a steady stream of competition, including three meets in eight days, starting in Glendive on April 26-27 through the Top Ten on May 1 and then Wolf Point on Saturday.
Between the Scotties’ rough schedule, the decision to rest the distance runners, and the state music festival, the Scotties took a limited team to Wolf Point.
“We took a handful of kids down there – mostly the throwers and jumpers to get used to Wolf Point’s runways and surfaces,” said LaBonty.
The District 2B Meet is also in Wolf Point on Saturday.
The Scotties still were able to place 19 times in the meet, headlined by Chase Fossum, Julia Kolstad and Dana Hughes, who each placed in three events. Fossum completed a the jump cycle for the Scotties. He was first in the high jump, second in the triple jump and third in the long jump. Hughes placed in all three throwing events for the Scottie girls. She took fourth in both the discus and shot put and fifth in the javelin.
Kolstad was first in the 100-meter hurdles, second in the 200 and third in the 100. Her time in the 100 hurdles, 14.01, was a personal best for her, breaking her previous best that she set at the Top Ten meet just days earlier. Right behind her in the short hurdles was Keirsten Wethern, who was second, rounding out the girls’ day.
The Scottie boys had a pair of placers in the javelin. Jason Thibault turned up gold and Jake Kolstad brought home the bronze. Robbie Henville was fifth in the shot put, Ethan Etchart took fifth in the 300 hurdles and Walker Allen finished in sixth in the 400.
The boys also had a pair of relays place in the short relay. They took first and fourth to finish the boys’ day.
“I think we just kind of went down with the idea to have some fun. We ran a couple of boys’ relay teams to have a good time, not worrying about [finish] times or trying to do anything extra or too hard,” said LaBonty.
The Scotties are expecting a much more serious competition at districts, though.
“Right now, we know that we have strong distance kids. Plentywood’s got the sprinters. Malta’s got the throwers and will probably throw in a couple sprinters,” said LaBonty, referring to Malta’s sibling duo of Tucker and Darby Schye.
“The Schye kids are running really well,” he said.
Tucker Schye took the top spot in the 100-meter dash at the Top Ten Invite on May 1. Darby was second on the girls’ side, just behind teammate Courtney Henry. Though, the Scotties have their own short-distance runners that should gain some points but Malta and Plentywood may not have the distances kids to compete with all the Scotties have to offer.
“The weight of our distance kids should carry us through the districts,” said LaBonty.
Last season, the Scottie girls ran away from the field with 227 points at the district meet, easily out-pacing Plentywood’s 133. It was the distance events that scored the most points for the girls. They took the top three spots in both long runs, scoring 48 points in those two events alone.
On the other side, the boys’ team was neck-and-neck with Malta for most of the day last season. They ultimately fell by 30 points, 186-156, in a series of big performances for the Mustangs late. The Scotties did top Plentywood, though, who finished with 109 points.
The goal is not necessarily winning as a team, though. The track postseason is a battle of attrition. The top six placers in each event move on to the next stage, so being able to qualify in as many events as possible, thereby giving a team the best opportunity to score as many points as possible, is the key, as evidenced last year when the Scottie boys fell to Malta at districts last season, but were able to qualify many of their athletes and came back to beat Malta at divisionals.