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Northern C track time

 

Havre Daily News/Colin Thompson

Fort Benton's Leah Gannon runs a sprint during the District 9C track meet last week in Havre. Gannon and the Longhorns will be in Great Falls today at the Northern C Divisional, where they will try to win a third state championship.

No matter what the sport, when it comes to being a Class C athlete, advancing to state is a big deal and today in Great Falls, a number of local track standouts will try to punch their tickets at the Class C state meet.

To do that however, they will need to shine in the Northern C Divisional track meet, which began this morning at Memorial Stadium in Great Falls. The meet features the top athletes from the Districts 8C, 9C and 10C and the top finishers in each event, as well as some who have pre-qualified, will advance to state track, which will also be in Great Falls May 25-26 for the State C meet.

While there will be plenty of individuals to keep an eye on, as far as the team competitions, the Fort Benton girls might be the strongest in attendance and will try to win the divisional track meet for the third straight year. The defending Class C state champions are loaded again with point-scorers like Leah Gannon, Nicole Axtman, Abby Clark and others such as Maddy Thompson, McKenzie Clark and Aspen Giese.

Axtman, who led all girls at the District 9C track meet in points, is coming off wins in the triple jump and the high jump. She has also done damage in the 100-meter dash, the 100 hurdles and both relay events. Gannon, her teammate, also notched multiple first-place finishes at districts, winning the 400, 800 and the high jump. She also was a member of both relay teams and anchors for Fort Benton in the 1,600-meter relay.

"We aren't trying to focus too much on the team stuff," Gannon said last week at the 9C track meet. "We are just trying to PR and trying to push each other as much as we can."

Another local team that should notch some points Thursday in Great Falls is Chinook, as the Sugarbeeters bring Megan Molyneaux and Raynee Hasler, who each won a pair district titles at the 9C. Molyneaux won the 100 and the 200. For her part, Hasler won both the 1,600 and the 3,200.

In the boys competition, the North Star Knights will come in with plenty of momentum after winning their fifth straight district championship last week in Havre. The Knights will be led by Dylan Miller, Devon Miller and Caden Rettig, who were essential to the effort to win the 9C. The Miller brothers will each run in the 100 and 200, along with Rettig, who also qualified for divisionals in both events.

However, those aren't the only events for the Millers or Rettig. Dylan Miller will also participate in the pole vault and the triple jump, while his brother Devon will throw the discus, javelin and shot put. Rettig will also take part in the long jump, an event he won at the 9C. He will also compete in the pole vault, where his sister is a former Class C state champion.

Another local boys team that should make some noise in Great Falls both today and at state are the Turner Tornadoes, who will bring two stellar athletes to divisionals in Eddie Harmon, a state champion in the 800 a year ago and Cody Welsh. Harmon carried an incredible weight in Havre last week, helping his team earn a third-place trophy after winning district titles in the 800, 400 and the 200. He was also third in the 100.

But not to be outdone, Welsh also put together a really solid season and won a slew of events at the 9C, including the 110 hurdles, the 300 hurdles and the high jump. Trajan Hannum and Cord Schneider of Chinook are two other athletes to watch. Hannum is a distance runner and won the 1,600 at the 9C. Schneider is a thrower and will try to qualify for state in all three throwing events after capturing a 9C crown in the shot put. Fort Benton also has some solid athletes such as Garrett Diekhans in the jumps and hurdles, Logan Giles in the distance events and Stephen Gannon in the throws. Spencer Richter of Chester-Joplin-Inverness is another name to monitor in the sprints, along with Dominic Pullin and Peyton Gardipee of Box Elder. Cameron Davis, a CJI thrower, should also contend for state, particularly in the discus.

The Northern C track meet got underway this morning in Great Falls at Memorial Stadium. The Class C state track meet will also be in Great Falls May 25-26.

 

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