By Jason Shoot
BILLINGS Midway through Saturday, KG's chances of extending its consecutive Class C state boys track titles to three was slim and none, and slim was on his way out of town.
With few running and field events left before this past weekend's meet had concluded, KG was situated far back in the team standings, trailing Arlee by 21 points, 26-5.
An hour later, KG had blown past the field and earned its third-straight title with 45 points. Arlee faltered down the stretch and picked up 39 1/2 points for second place.
Crucial to KG's win was a surprising victory in the high jump by Casey Crites, who cleared a personal-best 6-foot-4 to give the KouGars 10 points.
Aaron Smith added a victory for KG in the 3,200 with a big kick over the final 100 meters, but the KouGars still trailed by a half-point entering the final event of the meet, the 1,600 relay.
Arlee failed to qualify for the finals, and KG's third-place finish was more than enough to give the KouGars a state title.
KG benefited from a great deal of team depth the KouGars were represented in 15 of 17 events.
KG's Kim Berg was the school's lone winner in the girls' meet, claiming a win in the javelin with a throw of 144-6.
Chester's Jeff Graham won both the 400 and 300 hurdles to help the Coyote boys earn a tie for ninth place overall with 22 points.
Chester's Michele VanDyke picked up the only victory for the Coyotes' girls team with a win in the high jump with a leap of 5-4.
Chester's girls placed 13th overall with 12 points, and KG's girls were 15th with 10.
Harlowton, behind Erin Jones's six first-place finishes, won the state title with 109 points.