The Glasgow Courier - Serving Proudly As The Voice Of Valley County Since 1913

By Georgie Kulczyk
The Courier 

Trio of Scottie Tracksters Make History

Season Ends Without Team Hardware

 

Andrew McKean / For the Courier

Emily Kolstad clears the bar during her vault at the State B track meet held in Kalispell on May 23. Kolstad made it to the podium in all of her events during the meet, including a state championship in the 400m.

Glasgow is brimming with Scottie pride this week following the trackster's performances at the State B track meet this past weekend, May 23-25.

The Scottie cruiser departed for the 420-mile trek to Kalispell on Thursday, carrying nearly three dozen of Glasgow's best track and field athletes and their support system.

Post-season events are typically held several hundred miles away from home for the Scotties, but Northeast Montanan athletes (especially spring sportsters) are a special breed and they seem to take the distance in stride.

Events began Thursday night with the pole vault. Glasgow had six competitors qualify for the event, including freshman Tyann Graham. "We had some good happen, but also some tough times," said head coach Tim Phillips of the squad's efforts. Of the six Scotties, Emily Kolstad was the only one to medal in the event as she finished third at 9'6". Anika Peters just missed the podium, despite achieving a new personal best vault of 9'.

Despite her best effort, senior Katie Kaiser was unable to place in the event. "She really did not look in sync at all on her attempts," explained Phillips. "She bravely fought and got her first height, but it just wasn't to be. It certainly wasn't from a lack of effort. She's been a workhorse in the vault and has been an example of what having some grit can do for you."

Graham just missed tying her personal best according to Phillips. "But she's just a freshman and we're excited to see what she'll bring next year."

Tim Wageman and Caden Gustafson represented the boys at the vault. Although they both tied their personal best marks, the competition was too tough for either of them to place. Wageman finished at 11 feet, and Gustafson at 11' 6.

On Friday, Alec Boland and Brett Glaser took on the javelin. "Both Alec and Brett missed finals, but they didn't really falter either," noted Phillips. "There were some kids who really blew it up from other schools. Both Alec and Brett had their second farthest ever, and even their p.r.s would have only gotten one of them to finals."

For the girls, Friday morning began with the 4x100 girls relay. Due to a minor, but troublesome injury, Abrianna Nielsen stepped in to run Peters' leg of the race. Despite fighting back issues of her own, Keely Fossum stayed in the lineup, but was hampered by pain, according to Phillips. "It's hard to replace members at the last minute who have worked together a couple weeks," he said. "Blaire (Westby) had a great lead-off leg, but we bogged down a little in the middle. We somehow squeaked into 10th and made it to finals on Saturday."

For the finals, Phillips and assistant coach Trint Gamas opted to put Peters and Fossum back in the race. "We were debating a long time over who to use in this race. The girls' backs seemed better, so we put them back in. They did a very good job, but we just didn't have that extra fire you need at state," he explained. "We still ran our best of the year, but it wasn't enough to place. The girls showed some fighting spirit to give it a good shot."

The boys 400m relay team of Tyler Fitzsimmons, Blake Lloyd, Colton Pewitt and Dylan Nieskens ran their fastest time of the year, according to Phillips, "But we just didn't have that upper level speed you need at state. Considering we lost three of the four members from last year, I thought they held their own."

Phillips was most disappointed to lose Garrett Lloyd in the event. "He injured his leg in the 400m relay at District, which cost us points in each meet after, but also cost us one of the nicest kids around," he explained. "I appreciate his efforts to try to get it healed in time for state, but we just didn't have enough time."

The boys 1600m relay was plagued with injuries and replacement runners as well. "We ended up leading off with Blake, who we just found out could run a great 400m within the last two weeks," laughed Phillips. "Next on the list were Merlin and Ellis (McKean), and we finished with Dylan. We ended up running a six-second p.r. but it wasn't enough to place on Saturday." 

The girls' 4x400 relay was a "pretty courageous race," according to Phillips. "We went with Alaina, Iris, Blaire and Emily. The three girls kept it close enough for Emily to gain some ground and finish fourth. If we had been healthy this year, I think we would have gone under 4:10. But this was still a six-second personal best for our team."

Alaina Sallee had her third best time in the 100m hurdles, but "That's a pretty tough race this year, so she failed to advance to the finals," said Phillips, and Fynn Sukut struggled a little bit in the 110 meter hurdles. "I think it was his third best time, but not enough to advance. It was fantastic to get a freshman to state in that race."

For the jumpers, neither Sallee or Abrianna Nielsen were able to place for the girls, in part due to some nagging aches and pains.

Phillips shared a story about the efforts of junior Jaysen Turner in the boys long jump: "I can't say enough about Jaysen. He got beat out on a kid's last jump at Divisional in the triple. I knew his long jump wasn't that great, so was feeling pretty bad for him. But, he turned to me and said, 'That's OK coach! I'm gonna make it to state in the long jump!' Even though it was his second best event, that's exactly what he did. Then, he got to State and jumped an eight-inch personal best! It wasn't enough to place, but to me that effort was what being a true Scottie athlete is all about."

Brett Glaser competed in the triple jump for Glasgow, but "his foot was hurting him more than he let on, and he just couldn't find a flow. That's not surprising, considering he just hit the runway for the first time this season the day before district." explained Phillips. "Coach Menge has done a wonderful job with him, but we just couldn't pull out another miracle on that day. Brett's best mark will remain 44' 5, number three on the record board, and exactly one foot behind his former coach, the late Curt Wesen."

In the throwing events, senior Tehya Campbell was just a few feet shy of placing in the javelin. "She had her fourth-best throw ever, but needed just a couple more feet," explained Phillips. "She has obviously done fantastic over the past two years. To come out and set the school record in an event in just your second year is pretty amazing."

Reflecting back on the boys' performances in the discus, Phillips was mildly bemused. "I'm not sure what happened," he said. "I think the pressure got to the boys a little bit. I am not knocking them, they are some of our finest athletes. But six of the top nine had big personal bests and we needed to match that, and just couldn't. It's just one of those things that happens at a state track meet. It just saddens me that Chevy (Boos), Brett and Ben (Miller) are all seniors and won't get a chance at that again."

Brennan Peters qualified for two events at the State meet. "She wasn't quite at her best in the discus," noted Phillips of the GHS junior, "but got some valuable experience. She would have needed a huge p.r. to place there this year." Peters, along with Graham were part of a trio of throwers that competed in the shot put for Glasgow. "They weren't quite at their best, but not far off of it. Just getting to experience the state meet was tremendously valuable for them both."

"Riley Noser really showed great competitive spirit," he continued, "coming back on her last throw to get into sixth place. She's a gamer, and we're hoping she'll be healthy next spring so she can really excel."

On the track, the Lady Scotties were represented in the sprints and mid-distance races by senior powerhouse Emily Kolstad and three tenacious freshmen. "Nora Neumiller ran both the 100 and 200m for us at state. She set her p.r. in the 200m, but we lacked a little speed compared to some of the other schools."

Tyler Fitzsimmons and Dylan Nieskens ran the sprints for the Scottie boys. "Tyler failed to advance in the 100m, but had a strong 200 meter run to make it to finals on Saturday," said Phillips. Fitzsimmons finished in eighth place with a half-second p.r.

Nieskens ran the 400m and set a p.r., running it in just over 53 seconds, but the event was loaded with talent this season according to Phillips. "The top four runners were under 50 seconds. But Dylan has been one of the great finds this year and he will just get better and better."

Blaire Westby showed her passion for competing when she set a new personal best in the 400m run. "She had come a long way in a short time," said Phillips. "We've tried to change her form a bit this year because we thought it was something that was damaging to her in eighth grade and didn't want to have that happen again. She's gone from a 66 down to a 63 in the open 400 in just three weeks."

Another freshman that was impressive this year was Iris McKean, who set a new personal best in the 800m run.

"In the boys 800m, Alec ran a pretty good race," said Phillips of the junior. "He got trapped a bit in the pack early, and wasted a little energy getting out of there. But he kept his feet and competed pretty well. That was his best time this season and third fastest ever, so I'm pretty happy with that."

"And, then there's Emily," said Phillips of the Scotties' first State 400m girls champion in school history. "She was really nervous before her 400. She had a slow start out of the blocks. She looked good down the backstretch but then got passed on the inside on the corner. She re-took the lead coming out of the corner and won the race in a school record 59.34."

With her time in the race, Kolstad broke a school record that was set in 1979 by Paulette Marks.

Kolstad followed up her performance in the 400m run with a fifth-place finish in the 800m race. "Her 2:24 was her second best ever," said Phillips. "And to finish fifth with what her year has been like was pretty amazing."

McKean set a new personal best in the same event, but fell short of a podium finish.

"Iris has worked really hard and has dropped a ton of time in her races," he said. "She started the year at 6:02 in the 1600m and got down to 5:29 on Friday, but the distance races are pretty loaded this year, and she missed placing by a couple seconds. Most years a 5:29 will get you a medal. The qualifying time was 5:34. She was terribly disappointed not to get a medal but she ran very well."

Junior Ali Cunningham set new personal best in both of her races over the weekend, placing 14th in the 1600m run and 10th in the 3200m run. "Ali had a phenomenal weekend, and finished 10th overall in the 3200m," said Phillips. "But it was her time that I really took notice of. She had a 34-second p.r. from her race a week ago. In fact, if you look at her best going into this year, she's cut 75 seconds off this season."

Despite achieving her second-best time ever in the 1600m run, Brooke Westby was unable to finish in the running. "She really struggled mid-season with some overuse issues," explained Phillips of the senior, "So for her to get to state was a pretty big deal this year."

He also noted that Lauren Padden has had some great breakthroughs this season and expressed he is happy with her progress. "She got a side ache mid-way through the 3200m run that really hampered her, but it ended up being her third best time."

In what may have been the most epic race of the weekend, Ellis McKean made history of his own when he became the very first boys 3200m state champion in school history. According to GHS Activities Director Brenner Flaten, his time of 9:59.52 is the fourth best mark in school history and the best since 1977.

Phillips summarized Friday's race for The Courier readers: "We saw the Manhattan boys lay it all on the line in the 800m just a couple hours earlier, so we knew we had to press early in the race. Plus, Brad Cichosz from Harlem had bested our boys on the last lap the previous two weekends. We knew we couldn't save it for the last 400m. We were also training pretty hard through both district and divisional. That was part of what cost us a team win at divisional but we knew we had our eyes on performing really well at state. So, we knew we had fresh legs for the first time and could definitely do well pushing early. Wilson (Overby) found himself in the lead 100 meters into the race, and just like last year at state, he followed the plan: he surged a lot. He broke open the pack a little on the third lap. The first 800m was pretty slow, at 2:37. I think the next 800m was 2:32. Ellis sat right behind him, and Merlin was just a second back. The pack broke open on the 5th lap, and Cichosz made a move to pass both Ellis and Wilson just before 1000 meters out. But Ellis responded immediately and didn't let him past. He surged right there and never let up. He went from running a 77-second lap to 74, then 69 and 69. It was a tremendous move that sealed it for him. I thought Wilson would be toast after leading so much but he came back and got third. Merlin had a fantastic last lap and went from 10th to seventh.

Ellis ran it in 9:59.52, fast enough to put him fourth on the Glasgow record board. He's only behind Jeff Secor's 9:44.5, Jeff Greg's 9:51 and Jim Coghlan's 9:56. Wilson ran 10:09.21, a couple seconds slower than state last year. But considering he didn't start running for real until the first week of April, that was tremendous. Ellis owes him a part of that title, because Wilson really took it for the team to lead that race. And, though I am sad Merlin doesn't have a medal from this race, he ran his heart out. His 10:20 was a big personal best, and he finished just a half second out of placing. And, I'd say our district is tough for boy's distance right now: The top four were from the 2B, and we had five of the top seven."

On Saturday, E. McKean secured his second gold medal of the meet when he ran nearly a 10-second personal best to win the 1600m for Glasgow. Flaten noted that he is the first Scottie boy to win multiple state events in one year since Ryan Grandchamp in 2014. "It's great to see seniors that pour so much into their careers get a deserving ending," he said. "I look at Ellis specifically who has been distance training 12 months a year with Merlin and Wilson. He had a goal of being a state champ and never let doubt creep in, even when his cross country year didn't go like he had planned."

"It was another great day to run for the distance kids," said Phillips. "Our first meet with no wind. I was a little worried because we had run so well on Friday; I was trying to keep the boys from just settling for one great race when they could have two. They didn't settle at all. All three of our boys set personal bests. Wyatt Miller from Wolf Point took the early lead while we settled into the chase pack. It's really tough to front run at a state meet, so that says even more about Wilson's leading the way on Friday. By midway thru the third lap, Ellis started to really gain on him, and with 450 meters left, blew by him. Ellis's lap was his fourth: he ran 66, 69, 71 then 64 seconds to pull away for the first ever double win in the 1600/3200m in Glasgow history. Wilson, who doesn't have much of a kick, came back strong and grabbed sixth. Merlin was about 10th with a lap to go, and he ran a great final lap to finish in seventh." E. McKean's finish is the sixth-fastest in Glasgow history.

The Scottie girls finish in ninth place overall with 23 team points. "We knew about midway through the season that the top three spots were going to be tough to break into," explained Phillips. "I'm always disappointed for the kids that didn't do as well as hoped, but we aren't disappointed with their effort or their heart. We'll lose some really good athletes and it's always hard to say goodbye to them. But I'm excited at the group that is returning and hope they bring in some others from junior high to be part of this great adventure we call track and field."

The Scottie boys finish in fifth place overall with 37 points. "For the boys at state track, we had extreme highs and lows," Phillips noted. "Overall it was a great meet, but, as is the nature of sports, not everybody was at their best. But, man, did we come back with some stories that will forever stick in my mind! It's those stories that make it worthwhile to come back each season to see what kid will amaze you the next year. We will lose some super-quality athletes this year and will have to reload a bit, but I like the core group I see coming back and can't wait to see what they can do."

Flaten could barely contain his excitement following the meet when he tweeted, "109 state track champs in school history for our Scottie boys and girls, but ALL three this weekend are firsts for our program! We'd never had a champ in girls 400, boys shot, or boys 3200. Crazy!"

Phillips stated he wants to thank his fellow coaches. "They are all busy, successful people, so I know it's a sacrifice for them to carve out time from their families to be there. Wade Nelson has overseen the throws since 2001 and continues to pour his heart into not only the kids he coaches, but also the ones he teaches in junior high. You can see that connection from the start, and it's a big part of why we have the numbers we do. Kirk Capdeville has a tremendous passion for the vault and obviously has brought that event to a new level. Trint Gamas has done an excellent job working with our sprinters and relays, despite weather conditions that hamper us almost every single day of the season. Pat Menge has been great at not only working with the athletes in the long and triple jump, but also has an eye for other things as a coach that I sometimes miss. Kayla Larson always brings such positivity and exuberance with her, and that goes far beyond the high jump and the hurdles. 

Our volunteer coach base is huge. We just couldn't do what we do without them. Levi Sugg and Jessica Lewis have been great at helping with technique in the throws. Jessica is headed back west to be closer to family but her impact will be felt for a few years to come with our kids. Jami Johnson is a great role model for our girls; she hasn't been able to be up as much as I'd like because we felt like she was more vital in helping with the middle school since they had such big numbers. But it's awesome to have her at both levels of the program. And finally, a salute to my coaches who are also my running partners: Andrew (McKean) and Craig (Overby). They not only help me at the track, but are guys whom I've spent countless miles bouncing ideas back and forth. 

And thanks again to all the volunteers and parents who help out at our meets and who've been supportive in helping to push their kids to be better athletes and people."

Results

Team Scores:

Mens

1. Huntley Project 122

2. Manhattan 43

3. Broadwater 41

4. Sweet Grass Co. 40

5. Glasgow 37

6. Loyola-Sacred Heart 35

7. Joliet 26

8. Fairfield 24

9. Jefferson 23

10. Wolf Point 22

11. Three Forks 20

12. St Labre Catholic 15

13. Malta 12

14. Troy 11

15. Bigfork 10

16. (tie) Thompson Falls, Powell County 9

18. Anaconda 6

19. Shelby 5

20. (tie) Red Lodge, Lincoln County, Harlem 4

23. (tie) Colstrip, Forsyth 2

25. Columbus 1

Womens

1. Baker 74

1. Huntley Project 74

3. Colstrip 63

4. Powell County 42

5. Three Forks 35

6. Cut Bank 32

7. Bigfork 29

8. Wolf Point 27

9. Glasgow 23

10. Harlem 18

11. Lincoln County 17

12. Malta 16

13. Manhattan 11.33

14. Red Lodge 11

15. Forsyth 8

16. Joliet 7

17. St Ignatius 6.33

18. (tie) Whitehall, Shepherd 5

20. Thompson Falls 4.33

21. Columbus 4

21. (tie) Rocky Boy, Roundup 4

24. (tie) Fairfield, Poplar, Lodge Grass 2

27. Jefferson 1

Individual Results:

Mens

100 Meters (Prelims) - 16, Tyler Fitzsimmons, 11.83.

200 Meters - 8, Tyler Fitzsimmons, 23.03.

200 Meters (Prelims) - 18, Dylan Nieskens, 24.31.

400 Meters - 14, Dylan Nieskens, 53.07.

800 Meters - 12, Alec Boland, 2:08.78.

1600 Meters - 1, Ellis McKean, 4:32.74; 6, Wilson Overby, 4:39.11; 7, Merlin McKean, 4:41.40.

3200 Meters - 1, Ellis McKean, 9:59.52; 3, Wilson Overby, 10:09.21; 7, Merlin McKean, 10:20.76.

110m Hurdles (Prelims) - 15, Fynn Sukut, 19.11.

4x100 Relay (Prelims) - 17, Tyler Fitzsimmons; Brett Glaser; Colton Pewitt; Dylan Nieskens, 46.42.

4x400 Relay - 13, Blake Lloyd; Ellis McKean; Brett Glaser; Dylan Nieskens, 3:39.44.

Shot Put - 1, Brett Glaser, 46-11.50.

Discus - 11, Ben Miller, 126-04; 14, Chevy Boos, 122-06; 18, Brett Glaser, 118-06.

Javelin - 11, Brett Glaser, 149-10; 15, Alec Boland, 146-00.

Pole Vault - 10, Caden Gustafson, 11-06; 15, Tim Wageman, 11-00.

Long Jump - 19, Jaysen Turner, 18-09.75.

Triple Jump - 18, Brett Glaser, 37-10.25.

Womens

100 Meters (Prelims) - 21, Nora Neumiller, 13.80.

200 Meters (Prelims) - 14, Nora Neumiller, 28.14.

400 Meters - 1, Emily Kolstad, 59.34; 15, Blaire Westby, 1:03.20.

800 Meters - 5, Emily Kolstad, 2:24.27; 11, Iris McKean, 2:28.62.

1600 Meters - 7, Iris McKean, 5:29.97; 14, Ali Cunningham, 5:47.03; 17, Brooke Westby, 6:06.65.

Andrew McKean / For the Courier

Colton Pewitt begins his leg of the relay during the State B track meet in Kalispell May 23-25.

3200 Meters - 10, Ali Cunningham, 12:36.29; 17, Lauren Padden, 13:25.76.

100m Hurdles (Prelims) - 19, Alaina Sallee, 18.81.

4x100 Relay - 10, Blaire Westby; Anika Peters; Keely Fossum; Emily Kolstad, 52.74.

4x400 Relay - 4, Iris McKean; Keely Fossum; Blaire Westby; Emily Kolstad, 4:15.40.

Shot Put - 6, Riley Noser, 35-07.75; 16, Tyann Graham, 29-04; 20, Brennan Peters, 28-04.75.

Discus - 15, Brennan Peters, 96-09.

Javelin - 8, Tehya Campbell, 114-08.

Pole Vault -3, Emily Kolstad, 9-06; 7, Anika Peters, 9-00; 10, Katie Kaiser, 8-00; 12, Tyann Graham, 8-00.

Long Jump -21, Abrianna Nielsen, 13-10.75.

Triple Jump-17, Alaina Sallee, 31-03.75.

 

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