Two local girls are joining three athletes across Montana at the Hershey National Track and Field Meet Aug. 11 in Hershey, Pa.
Chinook's Jacque McMaster and Havre's Karla Hellegaard are making the trip to the national meet, which features athletes from around the country.
McMaster, an 11-year-old entering the sixth grade this fall, is making her second appearance at the event and will compete in the standing long jump in the girls' 11-12 division.
She jumped 7 feet, 2 inches in the local meet at Havre Middle School before returning to the same site for the state meet, where she qualified for nationals with a jump of 7-3 1/2.
"I want to work up in my event, and I'm trying to get second or first," she said.
Despite knowing what to expect, McMaster said she still feels a little nervous.
"I feel pressure from being there before," she said. "I'm going to have a little more fun because I know what's happening, but I have to be focused."
McMaster also plays basketball, baseball and soccer, and in school she especially enjoys reading, particularly works from Harry Potter.
Hellegaard, a 9-year-old, will also compete in the standing long jump, and she was grinning from ear to ear contemplating the opportunity to cross the country and visit Hershey's chocolate factory and Hershey Chocolate World.
An admitted tomboy,' Hellegaard said she loves to participate in sports.
"In fact," she said, "in school boys would play soccer and I'd be the only girl out there playing with them."
Hellegaard jumped 5-10 3/4 in the standing long jump in the local meet, but boosted that mark to 6-4 at state to qualify for nationals.
"I just wanted to try and see how it was," she said.
Hellegaard, who moved to Havre from Anchorage, Alaska, about five years ago has also flown to Hawaii. She said planes don't frighten her one bit.
"They scared me at first, but now I think it's fun being above the clouds and the mountains," she said.
McMaster and Hellegaard are joining Great Falls's Josh Huestis, who is competing in the standing long jump in the boys' 9-10 division, and Michael Forsley, who is competing in the 200 in the boys' 11-12 division.
Brooke Bryant of Missoula rounds out the Montana contingent, and she will compete in the 200 in the girls' 9-10 division.