The calves of the Kalispell Glacier runners read like a series of motivational posters, vertical columns of text and inspiration zooming by at high speeds.

Run strong. Run focused. Run fierce.

But none better embodied the feeling the Wolfpack had on its final run -- the victory lap around the track at Missoula County Stadium -- than the message on freshman distance runner Annie Hill's legs.

Run happy.

With Hill as its third leg, Glacier placed second in the 1,600-meter relay, making up a six-point deficit in the final girls' event of the Western AA Divisional track meet Saturday to claim team gold. The Pack edged Missoula Big Sky -- sixth in that fateful race -- by a single point, 105-104.

"It's a little bit of my motto," said Hill, explaining her maxim, slightly smeared from a day contested under drizzly skies. "I always want to have fun running and be happy."

Helena won the race in 4 minutes, 1.73 seconds; Glacier was 3 seconds behind but well ahead of the next pursuer.

The Helena boys capped their own divisional championship with a win in the 1,600 relay, totaling 118 points. Glacier was a near second at 114 with Flathead third at 110.

The Big Sky girls, last year's Western AA champs and state runners-up, posted four individual wins in nine events contested on Day 2 of this year's meet but had just seven overall placers.

Hannah Porch added three golds to her haul from Friday to finish with five wins. Including her effort in the Eagles' first-place 400 relay run from Day 1, Porch had a hand in 50 of Big Sky's 104 total points.

She swept the 100 and 200 meters, her time of 25.90 in the latter a season best. She also cleared a winning 36 feet, 2 1/2 inches in the triple jump.

Teammate Hannah Coburn won the 100 hurdles in 15.41, pairing it with Friday's victory in the long hurdles.

But the Glacier girls placed 10 times on Saturday, Hill's gold in the 1,600 (4:55.27) the team's only individual championship. Hill also won the 800 and 3,200 the day before.

Missoula Sentinel, which was a more distant third to Big Sky and Glacier with 89 points, took a pair in the field with Tana Garden tossing a season-best 130-7 in the discus and Jordyn Schweyen tying her best at 5-1 in the high jump.

Schweyen was the only girl to top 5 feet, but the freshman expects more of herself at next week's state meet.

"Decent, but I want to be able to clear 5-3 at state, even 5-5," said Schweyen, who's hit 5-1 for three straight weeks. "It was hard with the weather, but it could have been worse."

***

Wind and intermittent rain that seemed always ready for another shower led to times a step slower than Day 1's performances.

Get the latest sports news and scores sent to your email inbox

Sometimes it was all about catching the breeze and precipiation at the right time, Helena's Connor Matthews said.

"The wind really pushed us down that back stretch," Matthews described the opening 200 meters of his 400 race. "I felt like I might have split it too fast, because you could feel it coming into the home stretch when that wall of wind hit ya."

Matthews was a rarity Saturday, traversing nature's blockade to finish the 400 in 49.44 seconds. The time not only gave him a divisional title, but also broke the school's record set by Kyle Cochran last year (49.49).

Matthews also ran in the Bengals' 1,600 relay that clinched Helena its divisional crown.

Glacier was a 20-point dog after Day 1 to Helena but nearly made up the space with four winners on the final day. Cain Boschee swept the sprints, going 11.47 in the 100 and 22.37 in the 200, before Aaron Robinson's 15.06 claimed the 110 hurdles.

Harrison Kauffman's bomb of 165-9 in the discus, surpassing Missoula Hellgate thrower Zayne Babbitt (164-3) for gold, marked the day's last event that broke a tie with Flathead for sole possession of second place.

The Braves' Jake Perrin won the 1,600 (4:24.74) and Jess Beaman continued his tear in triple jump with a leap of 44-7. That would be the second-best jump in the state this season, though he already owns the first at 44-11.

He had a jump an inch or so shy of that on his final go Saturday, but scratched by leaping with a toe on the line.

"I was just going for it on that last one," Beaman said, having clinched the event already. "... As you're running you've got to cheat a bit, watch the board to make sure you're gonna get your foot right, but that last one I was just going my hardest, keeping my head up and hoping."

Beaman and the rest of the state qualifiers from this weekend have one last meet to improve those personal bests. The top six placers and relay teams from divisionals advanced to the State AA championships beginning Friday at Kalispell's Legends Stadium.

0
0
0
0
0