KALISPELL -- Missoula Sentinel's Marshall Beatty said it best, under beating rays and on top of steaming asphalt, after his 3,200-meter run at Kalispell's Legends Stadium on Friday.

Or at least his quoting a Nike co-founder and runner extrodinaire did.

"I like running in the cold personally, but I try not to let weather affect me at all," Beatty professed. "Like Bill Bowerman says, there's no such thing as tough weather, just weak men."

Beatty outlasted the elements and his competition in the race, though the Helena boys blazed to the Day-1 lead at the State AA track and field championships. The Bengals tallied 40 points through seven events with Kalispell Flathead (37) second and Billings Senior (30) third.

The Kalispell Glacier girls hold a one-point lead in their competition over Missoula Sentinel, 33-32. Five-time defending champion Senior is lurking nearby at 29.5 points, though.

Beatty, a sophomore at Sentinel, was one of two Missoula boys to notch school records at the meet. Hellgate's Zayne Babbitt set a shot put mark in the morning's first contest.

Beatty broke his program's record by close to 5 seconds when he crossed the line in 9 minutes, 22.92 seconds. The 3,200 is the Spartan's best race, though not his favorite.

"I like the 1,600 more because I just like being done," Beatty said with a self-deprecating chuckle. "I just don't think I have as much raw speed as everybody else, though. The 3,200 itself, you've got to do what you're good at and I love it also."

Do what you're good at. It's the perfect sentiment for Babbitt, a senior Knight built to throw the shot. The 300-pounder scratched on his first two throws in the finals before unleashing a massive 62-foot, 9.5-inch toss in his last attempt.

"I almost scratched that, too. My whole body was over the toe board but I was able to bring it back in," explained Babbitt of his first career 60-footer. "I was trying to go faster out of the back and ... I just stayed on my toes the whole time so I was over-rotating to the left and that was making me throw out."

The old school record was 61-8.5.

Helena won the 400 -- Connor Matthews extended his school record in 49.16 -- and 800 (Jeremiah Coon) while pole vaulter Chase Smith set an all-class state record at 16-4.

No other competitor made it to 14-6 with Smith's first attempt coming at 15-0. He is the only boy in Montana history to clear 16 feet, doing it for the third time Friday.

Glacier long jumper Austin Cook and Flathead's Chade Gonter wrapped up the winners.

Gonter was one of five boys even at 6-3 in the high jump, earning the tiebreaker on fewest attempts. Hellgate's Conner Schenk finished third with Tristan Gray fifth after each also hit 6-3.


Senior's Christina Aragon had a career day on the girls' side, but she was the team's only winner as Glacier squeezed ahead through five events.

Keyawna Larson led the Wolfpack with a record-breaking javelin throw and teammate Annie Hill had one silver and one gold performance.

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Larson claimed her third straight state title with a throw of 144-7, surpassing the old mark for AA competition by a foot.

"When I threw it, I felt it come right over my back," Larson described her winner. "It was fairly aligned and the javelin was shaking so I knew it was going to be a powerful throw."

Hellgate's Darby Henthorn (129-4) and Sentinel's Emily Malone (128-7) finished 2-3.

Hill ran second to Aragon in the 1,600 and third to Helena's Carly Smiedala in the 400. Aragon, a Broncs junior, set all-class records in both events at 55.87 and 4:46.34.

Shayla Palmer earned Missoula its only win with a 12-foot pole vault for Sentinel. The height marked a PR for the senior and the second best jump in the state this spring.

Fellow Spartan Jordyn Schweyen tied for second in the high jump at 5-3 with Billings Skyview's Hailey Copinga. Bozeman's Camille Landon did them one better at 5-5.

Copinga also won the long jump (17-1). Missoula Big Sky's Hannah Porch took second, leaping 17-0.25 twice to fall just short of the leader. Fellow Eagle Hannah Kearns was fourth (16-5).

Great Falls CMR's Ashleigh Lehotsky (shot put) wrapped up the winners.

Competition continues Saturday at Legends Stadium.