The annual District 9C track meet has always proven to bring out the best in local athletes, and while one boys team rose above the rest, every team got solid production across the board.
Wednesday afternoon in Havre, the Chinook Sugarbeeters, Big Sandy Pioneers, North Star Knights, Turner Tornadoes, Box Elder Bears and Hays-Lodge Pole Thunderbirds competed in the 9C track and field meet at the Havre Middle School track. The Beeters dominated the competioin with 194 points, while the Pioneers finished in second with 117, the Knights finished in third with 112, the Tornadoes finished in fourth with 34, the Bears finished in fifth with 24 and the Thunderbirds finished sixth with 12.
“We knew coming in that we had some capabilities,” Chinook head coach Paula Molyneaux said. “And it was nice to see everybody competing. Most of our kids got personal bests or made some improvements, and as a team they really did some good things. It was good to see (them compete even though they were favored), you have to earn it.”
Chinook earned the impressive win with 12 individuals placing in the top six on Wednesday.
Barry Murnion was the third highest point grabber in the entire meet, scoring 32 points for the Beeters. Murnion was first in the high jump (6-2), second in the javelin (129-2), third in the 100 meter (11.8), third in the long jump (17-2) and part of the second place short relay team.
Kaylan Johnson and Zach Molyneaux weren’t far behind, as they both earned 30 points each. Johnson took first in the 1600 (5:06.80), first in the 3200 (10:57.70), second in the 800 (2:09.70) and was also part of the long relay team. Molyneaux took first in the javelin (147-1), first in the discus (141-8), second in the shot put (42-7) and was also part of the short relay team that took second place.
Geoff Qualls, Dylan Surber and Brandon Riphenburg also performed well, as they Beeter boys proved to be deep and very well rounded.
Qualls finished first in the long jump (18-6), second in the triple jump and second in the 300 hurdles. Surber took first in the 400 (54.50), first in the 800 (2:04.50) and was on both relay teams. And Riphenburg finished second in the 200, third in the discus, fourth in the 100 and was also on both relay teams.
Other Chinook top finishers included Cody mccracken (1600 and 3200), Tanner Gomke (shot put, discus and javelin), Travis Roth (800 and 1600), Gavin Gunderson (200 and 1600 relay), Taylor Riphenburg (shot put and discus) and Jesse Mcdowell (800 and 1600).
“It is hard to say where we did our best,” coach Molyneaux said. “I think each one of our kids, in all areas came out and improved, so you could say that we executed well in all areas. I was pleased with the kids as a team, so it was a good day.”
The Pioneers lack the numbers to keep pace with the Beeters, but they too had great production.
Justin Stevens emerged as one of the top athletes in attendance, grabbing 33 points in five event. Stevens finished first in the 100 (11.6), first in the 200 (24.50) and second in the 400 (57.10). Stevens was also on both relay teams that took first place for the Pioneers.
But Adam Quinn, Zac Leader and Trevor Lackner also produced, combining for nearly 60 points. Quinn finished second in the 100, third in the 200 and fifth in the 400, while Leader finished second in the 1600, third in the 800 and fourth in the triple jump. Lackner finished third in the 400 and third in the high jump. Both Quinn and Lackner were on both relay teams and Leader participated in the long relay.
Kaden Beck also finished first in the shot put (42-7), while Jesse Bailey finished sixth in the 100, third in the javelin and ran with the short relay team. Kyle Strutz finished sixth in the 200, sixth in the 400 and fourth in the 800.
North Star was completely outnumbered this season, but made a statement with seven athletes, as they finished just five points behind the Pioneers.
Quinn Spinler was the top producer on the day, and managed to bring in 42 points for the Knights. Spinler finished first in the 110 hurdles (16.90), first in the 300 hurdles (44.10) and first in the pole vault (10-0). Spinler also finished second in the high jump (5-4) and fourth in the 400 (57.50).
Cooper Spicher was another big name for the Knights, as he went on to place in four events. Spicher took first in the triple jump (38-11), second in the 110 hurdles, second in the long jump and fifth in the 100.
Sam Ulmen placed in the 200, long jump, triple jump and pole vault, while Shelby Sizemore placed in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and shot put. Donoven Ulmen placed in the shot put, discus, javelin and short relay, while Christopher Lavery, Jaxon Simonson and Thatcher Smith all placed in the short relay as well.
“The boys had a shot at the second place trophy,” North Star head coach Brian Campbell said. “But we didn’t do the little things as team and that prevented us from getting second. We did a lot of good things individually, and had a lot of personal bests, but I think at the end of the day they will be disappointed because five points is just a place here or there.”
Turner, Box Elder and Hays-LP also had a handful of top performers while trying to keep up with the big numbers they lack.
The Tornadoes were led by Dusty Mohar and Lucas Reed, but also got top finishes from Dylan Welsh, Levi Humphreys and Aaron Van Valkenburg. Mohar placed in the 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles and short relay, while Reed placed in the long jump, triple jump and short relay. Welsh placed in the long jump, triple jump and short relay, while Humphreys placed in the javelin and short relay, and VanValkenburg placed in the 3200.
The Bears were paced by William Ketchum who placed in the 1600, 3200 and the long relay. But Quinn Baker also placed in the 3200 and long relay, while Geno Menard placed in the 300 hurdles and long relay. Zack Brown also placed in the long relay for the Bears.
And for the Thunderbirds, they were led by Garrett Doney and Codie Kirkaldie. Doney took second in the discus and Kirkaldie finished fourth in the 3200.
Next Thursday the top 9C athletes will compete at the Northern C Divisional track meet in Great Falls.