George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor firstname.lastname@example.org
The high school track and field season might have been rudely interrupted by mother nature, but the end is still here, and Class C athletes from the Hi-Line will be seeking glory on the track this weekend in Helena. The District 9C will be wellrepresented in Helena this weekend, with two-time defending girls champion Big Sandy back for a run at a three-peat. North Star also brings strong girls and boys teams into the meet, and teams from Chinook, Turner and Rocky Boy all have contenders in certain events. Further down the Hi-Line, the Chester/J-I Hawks bring experienced and deep teams to the Class C state meet, and all that means the Hi-Line will have plenty to say about the outcome of this weekend’s meet. On the girls side, the meet will again be about Big Sandy’s Kourtney Danreuther. The junior already has nine state championships on her resume, and she will go for five more this weekend. Danreuther swept the 9C and Northern C titles in the 200, 400 and 800 meters, the long jump and the 300-meter hurdles. The 800 and the long jump are events Danreuther hasn’t competed in at the state meet, so she will be looking to add those to her growing list of amazing track and field accomplishments this weekend. But Danreuther won’t be the only big gun the Pioneers have this weekend. Amber Amsbaugh is a returning state champion and she has the ability to win several events for the Pioneers. Big Sandy also has a state title contender in the discus in junior Laci Keller, while Desirae O’Neil is a standout jumper and Mariah Gullickson should fair well in the sprints. If anyone is going to keep pace with the Pioneers this weekend in Helena, it could be a trio of Northern C teams. North Star’s depth helped the Knights to a 9C championship and a runner-up finish at last week’s Northern C meet in Great Falls. The Knights are paced by Natasha Dyrland, who should contend in all of the throwing events, as well as Sarah Helmbrecht, who is a standout jumper and is tough in the sprints. The Knights will also get help from Britt Kapperud, and they have one of the top 400-meter relay teams in the state this season. Meanwhile, C/J-I may have finished in the middle of the Northern C pack, but with Daina Kolstad competing in five events, and distance runners Hannah Schweitzer and Jessica VanDyke running in top form, the Hawks have the athletes to score points in Helena. And while Chinook and Rocky Boy don’t have the numbers that the other Hi-Line teams do, they do have a pair of athletes that are seeking gold medals this weekend. The Sugarbeeters have one of the favorites in the 100 and 200 meters in Tia Bower and the Morning Stars have one of the top distance runners in the state in Jasmin Dumas. In the team race, Big Sandy is the heavy favorite, but the aformentioned 9C schools, along with C/J-I and Geraldine should push the Pioneers, as well as contend for a trophy. The Class C boys meet should be a little more wide open this weekend. Big Sandy, which has placed in the top three in each of the last three seasons, lacks the depth that it once had. Still, the Pioneers have a pair of state championship contenders in Patrick Louvar in the sprints and Darin Ray in all of the distance races. Ray is a defending state champion, and Louvar has competed at the state level for two straight seasons. The 9C team with the best chance in Helena might be North Star. The Knights have sat in Big Sandy’s shadow for some time now, but they are coming off a 9C championship and a runner-up finish at the Northern C meet last week in Great Falls. The Knights have an experienced and deep group led by seniors Cody Jurenka, Josh Beaudry and Adam Chvilicek. Also, Kellan Warren is a favorite in all three distance races, and Zack Halter is a standout in the hurdles. That group alone is talented enough and good enough to get North Star plenty of points this weekend. The 9C also has some excellent individuals in the meet, including Turner’s Wade Hofer and Taylor Fouts, and Chinook also has several key athletes entered, including Greg Qualls in the 200 meters. Chester/J-I is another team that could score points this weekend, because like the Knights, the Hawks have plenty of depth. The Hawks have Chase Pimley in the jumps, as well as Callen McKinley and Tyler Han, all ex p e r i e n c e d a t h l e t e s. Jon Faugherbach is another of the Northern C contenders in the distance races, and Garret Graff and Anthony Markuson should provide C/J-I with enough depth to score plenty of points this weekend. The boys race should be lowscoring, but Northern C champion Centerville has the inside track on another state title thanks to the do-everything Craig Halko. Still, 9C teams and C/J-I should compete for trophies this weekend. The Class C state meet gets under way this morning at Vigilante Stadium in Helena and will run through Saturday afternoon.