Clearing her final high jump gave Megan Dailey not only the event state title, but also her Scottie girls a spot on the podium.
The high jump, one of the last events of the day at the Class B State Meet in Bozeman on Friday and Saturday, looked to be anybody’s event to win with five to six girls coming in with season-best marks of 5 feet, 2 inches, the same personal record for Dailey.
“I wasn’t really expecting [to win],” said Dailey. “I was really hoping to place but I didn’t think I’d win.”
But after only four girls reached the 5- 2 mark, Dailey knew that she had already placed and had a chance at winning. Dailey’s friend, and season-long competitor in the high jump, Plentywood’s Lindsay Wangerin, was also left in the field. The duo each failed to clear the 5- 2 mark on their first leaps but cleared it in their second while the rest of the field missed. With only those two left, the mark was raised to 5- 3, which would have been a personal record for both girls.
However, neither jumped the bar in their remaining attempts, prompting the drop back down to 5- 2 for one attempt. Dailey missed. If Wangerin cleared it, she would be state champion. Instead, she barely tipped it and the bar fell.
Dailey had another shot. The bar was dropped down to 5- 1. Wangerin went first this time and hit the bar again. Dailey didn’t.
“I just remember going over the bar and I didn’t hit it and when I got off, it was still on,” said Dailey about her state-title winning jump. “It was so exciting.”
The title also gave the Scottie girls a big jump of 10 points at the end of the meet, a number they’d need every tally of as they took third place with 37 points, one point in front of Red Lodge.
It was just the ending the Scottie girls needed after a bad start to the two-day meet.
“It was a roller coaster ride,” said Head Coach John LaBonty. “We started off [on Friday] with our short relay prelims and we dropped the baton in that. At state track, it’s really hard to place without your relays scoring points.”
So, he said, the girls started off really low on Friday.
However, the Scottie girls got back on track by the end of the day. Dailey scored a third place in the long jump with a mark of 16- 1, breaking her previous PR by a half-foot. Josie Braaten got on the board with a fifth place in the 3,200-meter run, finishing in 12:08.34. Also, Rachael Zeiger scored five points with a fourth in the 800, finishing in 2:24.39, a season PR, and a sixth in the 400 with a time of 1:01.76, a career PR. Zeiger scored another PR and another two points on Saturday in the 1,600 at 5:28.34.
Debra Griebel, defending state champion in the 100 hurdles, bested last year’s time by over a second on Saturday but fell to third for six points. Griebel made up those points unexpectedly in the 200, however, running her best time of the season, 26.31, to finish in third for another six points.
“Deb ran a 26.31, which puts her on our [school] record board, either first or second, and put her in third [at state], which gave us some points we hadn’t counted on,” said LaBonty.
It also set up Dailey to put the girls over the top at the very end for the third-place team trophy.
“That got us a trophy and took some sting out of some of the disappointment,” said LaBonty. “Sometimes these third-place trophies are even more fun [than titles] because of how hard you have to fight for them.”
There wasn’t much of a fight for the top girls’ team spot. Plains ran away with the title with 71 points, 29 tallies in front of second-place Florence-Carlton, who had 42. It was the most team points scored at state for the Class B girls since 2010 and the most dominating win since 2003.
Townsend’s Chiara Warner had a trio of dominating wins in which she broke records. In the 800, she set a Class B record with a time of 2:10.51, breaking the four-year old record of 2:15.86 set by Malta’s Bobbi Knudsen in 2009. She shattered the Class B record in the 3,200 by 11 seconds, finishing in 10:35.85 to break Jefferson’s Sabrina Monroe’s 25-year-old record of 10:46.12. Then, she set an All-Class record in the 1,600, coming in at 4:48.24, besting CMR’s Heidi Lane’s mark of 4:55.18 set in 2002.
Just like the girls, the Scottie boys had a tough break early on Friday, as well.
Austin Green got stepped on in the 800, sending him falling to the track in pain. His time in the 800 at divisionals put him right in line for a top-six place at state before the incident.
“I give him all the credit in the world,” said LaBonty. “He finished the race.”
Unfortunately, the boys weren’t able to regain those lost points. Chase Fossum was the lone individual placer, finishing in 51.9, during the 400 to take fourth. He also set a PR in the 200, finishing in 23.5 seconds, but did not place.
Kayla Larson / For The Courier
Bridger Sanders, Bryan Larson, Chase Fossum and Ethan Etchart finished the boys’ meet with a fifth-place finish in the mile relay.
The Scotties did finish on a high note, though. Their 4X400 relay team comprised of Bridger Sanders, Bryan Larson, Ethan Etchart and Fossum were fifth, finishing in 3:35.81, a full seven seconds better than at divisionals a week prior.
Manhattan took the top spot for the boys for the second year in a row, scoring 73 points. Red Lodge was second with 50 and Ronan-St. Ignatius was third with 48. Glasgow finished in 20th with six points.
Also competing for the boys were Ryan Grandchamp, Lachlan Vaira, Lane Herbert, Jason Thibault, Dillon Pankratz, Trevor Toavs, Walker Allen and Robbie Henville.
Bryan Larson set a PR in the 100 with a time of 11.68 and Sanders set a PR in the 800 at 2:05.8. Vaira finished the 110 hurdles in 17.77 to set his PR.
For the girls were Abbi Helland, Julia Kolstad, Amy Breigenzer, Amanda Wolff, Laurel Wageman and Dana Hughes. Helland set PRs in both hurdles.