The Scottie girls led from wire-to-wire.
Starting the day with the 3,200-meter run, the Scottie girls tallied 18 points to jump start their 164-point domination of the Northern B Divisional meet on Saturday in Glasgow. Josie Braaten finished first with a time of 11:44 and Amanda Wolff was just behind in second at 12:18.7. It was the first of five events that the Scottie girls had multiple placers.
Walker Allen scored the first points for the boys in the 3,200, finishing in sixth for one point. However, an injury cost the Scottie boys in both long runs as Austin Green was scratched due to a quadricep injury that hampered him at districts. If Green was able to compete in those events, the Scotties would most likely have won the divisional meet.
Instead, they finished in third with 83 points, behind Malta’s 91 and Choteau’s 93.5. Green was a pretty good bet for second place in both long runs, which would have contributed an extra 15 points (minus Allen’s sixth), giving the Scotties their second-straight divisional crown.
Still, the Scottie boys were able to qualify 13 for the state meet in Bozeman this weekend with several personal records (PRs) in the process.
“That’s what you want to see,” said Head Coach John LaBonty. “You want to see a step up from district with a lot of PRs to divisional with a lot of PRs and right to the state meet.”
The Scotties earned 22 PRs on Saturday.
“We’re running as well as we’re going to be running,” said LaBonty. “If we pop a few more seconds off things, and add a few more inches on to things, then we’ve got a chance of placing [at state]. The girls have a chance. They’ve set themselves up well. Our boys can make some noise, too.”
It will be a tough haul for both the boys and the girls, though.
“Plains is looking really tough,” said distance coach Tim Phillips. “If you go by the teams coming out of the division and you look at the times and distances, they’re head and shoulders above everybody else but lots of things can happen. It’s just a matter of .1 seconds or a quarter of an inch and a lot of things can change.”
Phillips also noted that Plentywood has a really good chance with the amount of “aces” – athletes that have the capability to win several events – they have.
“You can’t count out Malta, either,” added LaBonty.
Just a few small improvements can’t put Glasgow at the top of the list, though, said Phillips.
“I look through it, and if I could take 30 seconds and spread it through all of the races, we would have it,” he said.
In an attempt to provide that improvement, Glasgow may back kids off some events to get them in the best possible position in the key events.
“It’s just a little bit of a chess match,” said Phillips.
The first-place team score for the girls in 2012 was 53 for Loyola Sacred Heart. So instead of gunning for multiple placers in fifth or sixth, the Scotties will try to put their kids in the events they’ll be most successful to try for top two or three placements.
The boys would need a few more points, as Manhattan’s 66 was the winning total in 2012. Still, the goal is the same.
With the amount of multiple placements for Scottie athletes at divisionals, LaBonty and his coaches have several options.
Debra Griebel led the way for the girls, placing in five events. She took first in the 100-meter hurdles, where she’ll defend her state championship from last season, and second in both the 300 hurdles and the 200. Griebel dusted the competition in the 100 hurdles, finishing in 15.97 seconds, beating Fairfield’s Sydne Steinbach by nearly a full second.
Griebel also took third in the 100 and ran an incredible anchor in the 4X100 relay to lead the Scottie girls to gold. Griebel received the baton nearly 10 yards behind Malta’s Courtney Henry, who took fourth in the 100, but was able to outrun Henry to edge out Malta by .12 seconds. Amanda Wolff began the relay, followed by Amy Breigenzer and Abbi Helland.
Helland also placed third in both hurdles. Breigenzer was sixth in the 100 hurdles, edged out by teammate Julia Kolstad, giving the Scottie girls four placers in the event, a meet high tied with their 800. Rachael Zeiger led that race with a time of 2:26.19, followed by Wolff in second, Braaten in third and Emma Fewer in sixth. Zeiger was also fourth in the 400 and second in the 1,600.
Braaten was first in the mile and Wolff was third, sweeping the top three spots in the event.
Rounding out the running events, the girls’ mile relay of Wolff, Breigenzer, Helland and Zeiger was third.
In the field events, Megan Dailey scored 18 points, placing in first in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 2 inches. She followed that with a second in the long jump, bounding 15- 7.5. Vaulting 8- 0, Laurel Wageman took home bronze in the pole vault. In the triple jump, Breigenzer was fifth.
Dana Hughes, competing in her first track and field season, qualified for state in two events, placing in fifth in the shot put and sixth in the javelin, finishing the girls’ day.
Ryan Grandchamp was the high-scorer for the boys, leaping 20- 2.5 in the long jump for gold. He also was third in the 100, just in front of Bryan Larson, who placed fifth.
Larson also took sixth in the 200. Chase Fossum had the best dash in the 200, grabbing third. Fossum was also second in the 400.
Despite his injury, Green was able to out-leg distance phenomm Kyle Olson of Rocky Boy in the 800, passing him in the final 100 meters to take gold.
Bridger Sanders had his best time of the season in the 800 by far, finishing in third at 2:06.8, a full eight seconds better than his previous best this season. Sanders also joined Larson, Grandchamp and Fossum in the short relay to take second, just behind Fairfield. Larson, Fossum and Sanders also ran the mile relay, joined by Ethan Etchart, and placed in fifth. The mile relay was the final event of the day and they had a chance to steal a divisional win by placing first with Choteau placing in sixth or lower. However, Malta took first and Choteau was fourth, giving Choteau the divisional title and Malta second.
Rounding out the track events, Lachlan Vaira earned a fourth in the 110 hurdles.
Vaira was also fifth in the triple jump for the field events. Dillon Pankratz tied for third in the pole vault.
In the throws, the Scotties had four qualify. Lane Herbert and Jason Thibault placed third and fourth respectively in the javelin, Trevor Toavs was sixth in the discus and Robbie Henville was sixth in the shot put, finishing the Scotties’ day with the 83 points.
Behind Glasgow was Fairfield with 72, Cut Bank with 53 and Plentywood with 51. Rocky Boy was seventh, followed by Shelby and Conrad, who tied tied with 21, Poplar with eight and Harlem with two.
For the girls, It was a District 2B sweep of the top three spots. Following Glasgow was Plentywood with 102 points and Malta with 73. Following were Fairfield’s 62, Cut Bank’s 48, Choteau’s 30, Shelby’s 21, Wolf Point’s 19, Conrad’s five and Poplar’s three.
“I felt like we kind of beat up the other side, the 1B,” said LaBonty.
But now, the Scotties have to deal with several schools from the other parts of the state that will provide big challenges at the two-day meet.
“It’s just fun to be in the hunt and take kids that have a shot to take home some medals,” said Phillips.
They’ll get that shot starting Friday at 9 a.m. at Bozeman High School’s Van Winkle Stadium. Saturday also begins at 9 a.m.
The full event schedule can be found at MHSA.org.