By Tiffany L. Rehbein
The District 9C could easily represent first place for both the boys and girls in the Northern Division Thursday at Memorial Stadium at Great Falls. Here is a brief outlook at some of the teams.
The boys are the defending Class C champions and were the district champions, outdistancing second-place finishing Blue Sky 324-97 last on Saturday at Havre.
The KouGars are point-getters in every event, with any athlete capable of winning or placing in more than one event.
"We definitely want to send a lot of kids to state," KG coach Paul Anderson said.
At the district meet, the KouGars set five new meet records.
Eric Marshall set one in the 100 meters with a time of 11.1. He also placed first in the 200 meters. Justin Simonsen placed second in both races at districts and should compete well at divisional.
Justin Antonich set a meet record in the 110-meter hurdles (15.10). He is also a point-getter in the 300-meter hurdles and the javelin.
Joey Stuart set a meet record in the 300 hurdles (41.3) and placed first in the long and triple jump.
Aaron Smith is one of the strongest distance runners in the Class C. He set a meet record in the 1,600 meters with a time of 4:36.20. Smith has the second-fastest time in the Class C in the 3,200 meters with a time of 9:52.60.
Tel Sterner and Matt Johnson in the throws, and Roger Larson, Eric Hanson, and Jared Miller are also strong point-getters for the KouGars.
Stiff competition in individual events could push the KouGars, but their great depth and strength of the depth could lead to a divisional title.
Kyle Carlson of Centerville runs the fastest time in the 100 in the North. He has a fastest mark of 11.0 in the race. He also runs the fastest 200 in the state across all classes with a time of 21.8. Carlson is also a threat in the 400, where he holds the second-fastest time in the state (51.33).
Chester's Jeff Graham is also solid in the 400 with a time of 51.77. Graham is a competitor in the 300 hurdles, where he holds the second-fastest time in the Class C (41.3) in the event.
Denton's Tim Crabtree has a time of 22.4 in the 200, and he runs the second-fastest time in the Class C at this time.
Belt's Craig Widhalm will pose tough competition for Smith in the 3,200. Widhalm will also compete in the 1,600 meters against Smith and Hanson.
Belt's Randy Kortum runs a 41.5 second 300 hurdle race and should create a good race. In the short hurdles, Mike Mayernick of Centerville holds the second-fastest time in the Class C (15.1).
While the KouGars should dominate the 400-meter relay, Belt (3:35.9) and Chester (3:36.4) are strong in the 1,600-meter relay. KG has a personal-best time of 3:36.6 in that relay. However, the KouGars set a District 9C meet record in the 400-meter race with a time of 45.2.
Dutton's Dereck Logan is a fine high jumper, with a personal-best mark of 6-4 in the event. He could easily be the gold medalist in the event.
Tim McAllister of Centerville and Ian Ryan of Highwood should be strong in the long jump along with Stuart of KG.
Kim Berg, a freshman from KG, looks to lead the KouGar ladies. Berg set a District 9C meet record in the javelin with a toss of 116-11 1/2. However, that is nearly 10 feet short of her personal-best throw.
Berg is also a fine jumper, and placed second in both the long and triple jump and high jump at districts.
Kristin Preeshl could do well in the 400 and the triple and long jump. Marissa Hanson, Becky Henry, and Lindsey Johnson could also get some points for KG.
Big Sandy Pioneers
The Lady Pioneers are a favorite on the girls' side. Big Sandy waltzed through the District 9C with a 197-point victory. The Pioneers placed first in 11-of-17 events.
Jenny Silvan is a big-time point-getter for the Pioneers in both hurdle events and the pole vault. She placed first in the events at districts, running the 100 hurdles in 16.7 seconds.
In the pole vault, Silvan could easily be the toughest in the North and one of the best in the state. She has a personal-best mark of 9-3, which is the second highest in the Class C ranks.
Kristi Upham is strong in the sprints and high jump. Eryn Darlington is tough in the 800 and shot put.
Sheena Darlington, Celeste Darlington, and Lindsey Danreuther are also fine athletes for the Pioneers.
Kate Bitz, who was fairly silent at districts, could be difficult to beat in the 800 and 1,600. She has one of the fastest Class C times in the 800 (2:28.2), and could be unbeatable in the North.
Chester could pose the toughest competition for the Pioneers. Michele Van Dyke, who holds the highest jump in the high jump event in the state (5-6 1/2), will be tough to beat in the event. Carlane Jensen is also a solid athlete in the event. Jensen also shines in the triple jump, discus, and shot put. Kim Freeman of Augusta and Tobi Delaney of Grass Range might pose the only threats to the Coyote duo.
Upham will face competition in the sprints from Renee Knerr of the Grass Range Rangers, who is tough in the 100. She has a personal-best time of 12.92 in the event. Sunburst's Hillery Turner will also be tough in the event.
Knerr and Tiffany Olson, teammates for the Rangers, should make a strong showing in the 200. Olson has a personal-best time of 26.3 in the event. She is also strong in the 300 hurdles, where she boasts a time of 45.96 in the event.
Eryn Darlington, who runs a personal-best 62.77 in the 400 could be pushed by Centerville's Kristen Lorang, who clocks in at 62.93.
In the jumps, Katie Hatelid of Denton could pressure Chester's Jensen for the individual title. Brady's Laura Hitchcock should not be overlooked in these events. Last season, Hitchcock held the district record in the long jump, and has one of the farthest jumps in the state in the event this season (16-5).
Blue Sky's Carlye Reddig and Grass Range's Connie Degner could all vie for top spots in the long jump event.
In the throwing events, Brandi Miller of Judith Gap and Hannah Furlong of Geraldine are at the top of the shot put. Miller has a long toss of 39-4 behind her. Miller is also at the top of the Class C in the discus with a throw of 135-5. She is ranked fourth in the state.
The Big Sandy boys are led by Mace Mangold in the pole vault. Mangold is ranked second in the Class C with a leap of 13-6. He also set a new District 9C meet record at the height. Mangold is also strong in the javelin.
Teammate Lance Nelson is tough in the pole vault, and the duo could finish first-second at divisional. Nelson also competes in the 110 hurdles.
Ross Runnion in the middle distance events, Dan Weaver, Billy Pierce, Matt Myers, and Chris Ayers could also get some points.
Blue Sky Eagles
The Eagles might be a surprise of the Northern Divisional track meet. They placed second at the District 9C meet on Saturday with 142 points.
Carlye Reddig won the 100 at the district meet with a time of 13.5. She also won the long jump (15-7 3/4) and triple jump (32-10) at district. Teammates Naomi Lipp and Ledin Letang placed in the 100.
Natalie Strissel is a fine point-getter for the Eagles in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles. She placed in both events at the district meet.
Cassidy Han won the 3,200 on Saturday with a time of 15:02.2. She also competes in the discus for the Eagles.
Lindsey Letang and Jessica Patrick are capable of getting points in the races, while Hanna Warhank is strong in the throws for the Eagles. Both relays should do well at the meet.
Jeromy O'Neil has been coming on of late in the sprints for the boys. He placed in both events at the district meet. Mitchell McKinley and David Jurenka could get points for the team in the races.
In the throws, Tyler Hutchinson, Murray Warhank, and Matt Johnson are something to be looked for. Johnson won the shot put with a toss of 43-1. Dan Mikulecky and Justus Wendland compete in the middle distance races. Jon Lipp and Brent Petrick will compete in the jumps.