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A Pioneer Dynasty: Big Sandy girls win again


George Ferguson Havre Daily News sports editor [email protected]

Three times was nice. Four times is simply astonishing. On Friday and Saturday in Butte, the Big Sandy girls track team cemented its place in Montana prep track and field lore by capturing its fourth straight Class C state championship. Behind 11 trips to the medal stand and three individual state titles, the Pioneers racked up 76 points to easily beat second-place Geraldine and third-place Ennis. Geraldine scored 50 points while Ennis came in with 30. As expected, Big Sandy star Kourtney Danreuther did her part. Danreuther repeated as state champion in both the 400 and 800 meters and she also placed in the 200 meters, the 300 hurdles and the long jump. The star senior gathered her record-setting 13th and 14th state gold medals on Friday, first by winning the 400 in a time of 58.85, and then dominating the 800 in 2:16.42. Danreuther also placed fourth in the long jump on Friday and came back Saturday to finish second in the 200 meters and second in the 300 hurdles. But the Pioneers' state championship wasn't a one-woman show. Amber Amsbaugh three-peated as the Class C high jump champion. Amsbaugh won the event with a leap of nearly 5-7, while sprinter Mariah Gullickson put on a show of her own. Up against stars like Danreuther and Geraldine's Tegan McKinlay, who captured four gold medals in Butte, Gullickson finished third in the 100 meters with a time of 13.28, third in the 200 with a time of 27.00 and second in the 400 with a time of 59.89, just behind Danreuther. Big Sandy also got points to help make it a fabulous four-peat from thrower Laci Keller. The senior finished the discus in third place with a toss of 114.11. "Having a great athlete like Kourtney (Danreuther) is a huge asset," Big Sandy head coach Roy Lackner said. "And she has been phenomenal for four years. But we have some other quality kids and they really stepped up. They all did it as a team. They all performed well. "Winning four state championships is a huge accomplishment," he added. "It's not like it's done every year. It was 15 years since the last time this happened and it might be even longer until it's done again. So this is something we're all very proud of." Other Hi-Line teams also found success on the girls side in Butte. Chinook finished a solid eighth with 22 points, while North Star was 12th with 18 points and Chester/J-I was 14th with 16 points. Individually, North Star got a gold medal from its 400-meter relay team as the Knights finished first with a time of 51.15. The team was composed of Britt Kapperud, Jordan Spicher, Haylee Anderson and Sarah Helmbrecht. The Knights also got a second-place finish from Jenna Kapperud in the shot put. Chinook finished just behind the Knights in second place in the 400-meter relay with a time 51.44, while sprinter Tia Bower just missed out on repeating as the 100-meter champion. Bower captured the crown last year but finished just behind McKinlay in second with a time of 13.66 on Saturday. Kayla Hanson also scored for the Sugarbeeters, finishing fourth in the 100 hurdles. And C/J-I's Daina Kolstad wrapped up a brilliant track career for the Hawks in fine fashion over the weekend. Kolstad finished second in the 100 hurdles with a time of 16.89 and third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 47.39. It wasn't as successful a weekend for boys Hi-Line track teams, but several athletes did get things accomplished in Butte. Harlowtown captured the Class C boys state title with 52 points, while Joliet was second with 45 and West Yellowstone third with 32 points. C/J-I was the strongest local team with 13 points and a 15th-place finish overall, while North Star scored 11 points to finish 16th and Chinook came in with eight points to finish 21st. Individually, local distance runners had the best meet as North Star's Kellan Warren and C/J-I's Johnny Fauerbach placed in both the 1,600 meters and the 3,200 meters. Warren finished second in the 1,600 with a time of 4:36.87 and Fauerbach fifth with a time of 4:43.25. In the 3,200, Fauerbach came in third at 10:26.31 and Warren fifth at 10:49.78. The Hawks also got points from Garrett Graff, who tied for third in the pole vault, and the Knights got a sixthplace finish from Skyler Melby in the high jump. Chinook's 1,600-meter relay team placed second with an outstanding time of 3:33.93 to give the Beeters their points.


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