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Hi-Line Athlete Profile: Leah Gannon, Fort Benton Track

Leah Gannon races after more hardware


Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Fort Benton's Leah Gannon wins a race handily at last week's Cal Wearley Invitational in Havre. Gannon helped the Longhorns win a state championship last season, and she is hoping to do it again this spring.

On the track, or on the hardwood, Fort Benton star always makes an impact

Over the past couple of years, the Fort Benton girls track team has turned itself into a powerhouse, winning a Class C state championship last season. The rise of the Longhorns has coincided with the arrival of Leah Gannon, who is now in her junior season with Fort Benton, which is off to a strong start in 2018.

While it's no surprise to see the Longhorns looking like contenders again with a slew of top performers back from a team that dominated the Class C meet a season ago. In addition to Gannon, who placed fifth in the 400 and helped both the 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams find the podium, the Longhorns also have a returning state champion in Maddy Thompson and a number of other individuals capable of scoring in just about every event.

Gannon has done most of her work as a Longhorn as a sprinter. As a freshman, she found the podium at state in both the 200 and the 400. She finished sixth in the 200, but bettered that by finishing third in the 400. Last year at state, in addition to the points she scored as a runner, she also helped the state title effort with a third-place finish in the long jump.

On top of winning a Class C state championship in track last season, the Longhorns have also won two consecutive Northern C Divisional championships and two District 9C titles as well. And this year, with the emergence of others, such as talented freshman Abby Clark and Aspen Giese, the Fort Benton girls look about as strong as ever.

Gannon's track career has been a success, but she has also excelled in other sports for the Longhorns, including basketball, where she earned All-State honors during the 2017-18 season and helped Fort Benton win the District 9C tournament championship.

Even though it seems like track is just getting started, the postseason is coming up fast. The Longhorns will defend their 9C crown next Wednesday at the Havre Middle School track in the annual District 9C track meet. Then, the Class C state meet is May 25-26. With the track season quickly coming to a close, at least the regular season, the Havre Daily News caught up with Gannon for five questions.

HDN: So do you have a favorite out of basketball and track?

Gannon: "It's really hard because I love basketball. I love being on a team and being a teammate. But track, I am probably better at and it's fun to push people and the track team is really fun, too."

HDN: What do you think is the key to trying to repeat as state champions?

Gannon: "Just really focusing on all of our events. Just every meet try to push ourselves to get better. Don't look to just beat someone, but get your own PR."

HDN: So you added the 800 this season, why is that?

Gannon: "I just feel like I am better at it. I feel like it is a better pace for me."

HDN: You have gotten third at state, is winning a state title a goal of yours?

Gannon: "Yeah, I would like to do it in long jump. That is one of my favorite things and I would love to win that. It's probably my best chance. I got third last year, but a teammate placed over me, so I can't be upset about that."

HDN: How are you guys handling being state champions?

Gannon: "There is a little more pressure. "But we are really just focused on doing the best we can each meet. We can't win state right away, we just have to keep working and keep trying to help each other get better. But I think our depth is one of the big reasons we have had so much success."


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