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Knights were building for this moment

The North Star Knights girls' track and field team has been on the verge of state supremacy for years now. And finally, after six years

North Star's Lisa Carlon leaps towards the pit during the District 9C track meet earlier this month in Havre. The North Star girls earned the school's first state championship at last weekend's Class C state track meet in Butte. The team will be honored tonight in Rudyard.

of dominating the 9C and Northern C fields, the Knights were able to take their dominance to the next level.

Competing at the Charlie Merrifield track at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, and after scoring 63 points over the weekend, the Knights were crowned the 2012 Class C state champions.

But this state title has been six years in the making, and it was a huge accomplishment for this year's squad and coaching staff.

"I think the girls have been working towards (a state title) all year," North Star head coach Brian Campbell said. "That was their team goal, they had won district championships, six in a row and they had won three divisional championships in a row, so I think the one team goal they set out to really accomplish this season was a state championship. For them to be able to do that was pretty amazing."

North Star took its sixth straight 9C title this season, competing in Havre and taking down the rest of the Big Sandy, Chinook, Turner, Box Elder and Hays Lodge-Pole field. And if that wasn't impressive enough, the Knights also captured their third straight Northern C title, competing in Great Falls. This season the Knights captured the Northern C with an impressive 116 points.

Seniors Haylee Anderson and Shelby Lipp have been a major part in the Knights success the last four years. They were around when the Knights' run really got under way, and were fortunate enough to see the program reach it highest accomplishment yet.

"Our run started a couple of years ago," Campbell said. "When you start winning divisional titles you are on the right track, and we still have a lot of talent left, and I think we still have a lot of good ahead of us for our team. Once you learn how to prepare as a team, and you have that mental advantage as a team, then I think you are setting yourself up for success in the future.

"I think we have been growing the program every year," Campbell added. "And I think our two seniors, Shelby Lipp and Haylee Anderson, were a big part of the progress the program has made. In their minds, that title was their goal, so for them to be able to accomplish that before they graduated was very important to them. They both contributed a lot, not only on the track but with their leadership as well."

But like Campbell said, they still have a lot of talent left. And if anybody is planning to knock off the Knights anytime soon, they better house a deep and talented team that can keep pace.

This year's roster was built up of 14 talented athletes, including Anderson, Tylynn Rettig, Hansen Mackenzie, Delainey Spicher, Sarah Massar, Lisa Carlon, Bettie Carlon, Sarah Human, Kristyn Lavery, Lipp, Kim Luttrell, Kassidy Hansen, Sierra Yanny and Emma Massar. And out of those 14, both relay teams, as well as six girls in individual events competed at the state meet this season. Anderson and Lipp were joined by Rettig, Spicher, Bettie Carlon and Lisa Carlon.

This year at state, Anderson managed to run away with two No. 2 finishes. Anderson finished second in the 100-meter (13.32) and second in the 200-meter (27.43). Bettie Carlon took first in the triple jump (35-2), but also took third in the long jump (16-6). Lisa Carlon took second in the long jump (16-10) and took fifth in the triple jump (34-0). Rettig also placed fourth in the 100 (13.66) and sixth in the 200 (27.92), while Lipp placed fourth in the discus (105-10). The short relay team also placed first (50.55) and the long relay team placed fifth (4:26.55) for the Knights.

It was an impressive outing by the Knights, and they captured the title with not only their athleticism, but their depth as well. Depth has been the key to a lot of their success over the years, as a lot of 9C and Class C teams in general can't match their numbers.

"What was special about us winning this year was that typically when you get to the state meet, teams that score well are dominated by one person," Campbell said. "They have that one star that scores so many points it is hard to keep up and they carry the team a long, but in this case, we scored everywhere. It was a team effort and that is appropriate for our team because that is what we worked so hard on, it is always team first and then we see what we can accomplish.

"Our preparation helped a lot because of the elements," Campbell added.

"But it was our depth that really helped us. We really noticed our depth on Saturday, when we had two kids in the 100 and two in the 200, three in the long jump and two in the triple jump. Those other schools didn't have the depth we had, and they didn't have the overall team that we had."

The Knights aren't looking to be one and done. They will return a lot of top-notch athletes next season, and will look to maintain their dominance.

But before the Knights prepare for next season, they will be acknowledged for this season. Tonight night in Rudyard, the Knights will have a parade and pep rally to celebrate the team's accomplishments.

Festivities will begin at the high school at 6:30 p.m. tonight night.


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