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Whitefish’s Ells heading down homestretch in fine form

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | May 1, 2021 9:49 PM

WHITEFISH — When Mikenna Ells got to be a freshman at Whitefish High, track coach Kelliann Blackburn knew she had a speedster on her hands.

She was right: When Whitefish surged to the 2019 State A girls’ track and field title, a 400 meters win by the then-sophomore Ells helped pave the way.

“Then we took last year off,” Blackburn said. “And now here she is.”

On Saturday Ells won the 400, the 100, anchored Whitefish’s short relay and took the high jump as the Bulldogs won their own A.R.M. Invitational going away.

In fact it was a Whitefish sweep, with Gabe Menicke’s wins in the 100 and 200 sprints helping the Bulldogs to the boys’ title.

Ells’ win in the 100 was perhaps the most surprising, since teammate Brooke Zetooney — another in a seemingly endless string of Bulldog sprinters — had been edging ahead. Saturday Ells ran 12.79 seconds, not far off her season best, and nudged Zetooney (12.83) at the tape.

“Going against a freshman who’s crazy fast,” said Ells. “It was nice to race against her and catch her at the last second.”

“My humble, gentle giant,” Blackburn said of Ells. “She’s definitely a finisher. If you watched the 100, she beat (Zetooney) right at the end. She just powered up.

“I knew she was fast, and she’s surprising me. She’s qualified for state in the 1, 2, 4, both relays and high jump. She’s talented. That’s why she’s going to go run for the Griz.”

Montana’s track and field program is getting an athlete that owns Class A’s best time in the 200 (26.06) and 400 (59.15, which she did Saturday).

Ells won the State A title in 57.47 in 2019; she was frustrated not to have gotten under 58 at the A.R.M.

She also didn’t have much elite competition in her signature event Saturday; Tuesday’s Western A-B-C Top 10 in Hamilton may provide more.

Or it may just come from within, with Zetooney, who cruised to a 200 win Saturday, playing the role that Ells used to play while Lauren Schulz was leading the Whitefish sprints a couple years back.

“I think we just all have commitment, and want to make each other better,” Ells said. “We want to get to state and do well. We know we have the team to do it and know we just have to work hard and make it happen.”

Two years ago Whitefish was a dark-horse winner after a so-so divisional performance.

“We knew there were teams we had to compete against and if we pushed ahead of them we had a chance,” Ells recalled. The key: Whitefish won the 400-meter relay, the first event Saturday morning.

“The girls showed up and we did it,” Ells said. “We won that and that gave us a quick lead.”

“She becomes a better racer every season,” Blackburn said. “She’s always been a good athlete and now she’s becoming a better racer. And I think that comes with maturity. She knows how to race.”

No meet records were set Saturday, though Whitefish’s short relay came extremely close. A sub-par exchange between Zetooney and Erin Wilde on legs 2-3 possibly kept the Bulldogs from reaching their own record of 50.09. They ran 50.60.

“We’ll clean it up,” Blackburn said, noting that Whitefish’s best time coming in was 51.25. “I’m super happy with that mark.”

Columbia Falls’ Lara Erickson also had a happy time: She ran the 1,600 in a Class A-best 5:22.39, and teammate Siri Erickson is sitting fourth in A after running 5:31.53.

Freshman Ally Sempf ran her personal best while taking second in the 400: 62.44, and the Wildkats also got wins from Hannah Sempf in the pole vault (9-0, edging teammate Cheyanne Johnston-Heinz on criteria), Madysen Hoerner in the javelin and Maddie Robison in the long jump.

Columbia Falls’ long relay was also victorious.

Whitefish’s Hailey Ells pulled off the hurdles double, and her time of 16.92 in the 100s sits fifth in Class A. Bailey Smith added a win in the triple jump for Whitefish.

Menicke’s time of 11.52 in the 100 was his personal best and ranks eighth in Class A;

Teammate Colter Gaernter is No. 7 in the 400 rankings after winning in 52.54. Gortner and Menicke teamed with Marvin Kimera and Bodie Smith for the fastest 1,600 relay time in Class A, at 3:32.52.

Columbia Falls’ Jaxon Heinz cleared 12-0 and teammate Lane Clark got 11-6 in the pole vault to both sit in the top six in A; Bigfork’s Seth Osborne won at 12-6, and he sits fourth in Class B with that height. The Vikings’ Shelton Woll cleared 11-6 to move into the rankings.

Bigfork’s Wyatt Duke, looking ahead toward the Hamilton Top 10, didn’t high jump Saturday but won the 110-meter hurdles. The Vikings also had wins from Jack Jensen in the 1,600 (4:41.09, No. 3 in B), Jordan Betts in the 300 hurdles (43.86, No. 6 in B), Levi Taylor in the high jump (personal-best 6-0) and Cormac Benn in the long jump.

Polson got a win from Ryan Dupuis in the 800.

Frenchtown, with Jeffrey Jacobs’ second leg setting the tone, ran Class A’s best short relay time of 44.34. The Broncs’ Jake Houlihan added a throw of 50-6.5 in the shot, the best mark in Class A.

Whitefish A.R.M Invite

GIRLS

Team scores — Whitefish 177, Bigfork 120, Columbia Falls 116, Frenchtown 62, Polson 35.

100 — 1, Mikenna Ells, Wfh, 12.79. 2, Brooke Zetooney, Wfh, 12.83. 3 (tie), Audrey Buenz, Bfk, and Erin Wilde, Wfh, 13.60; 4, Afton Lambrecht, Bfk, 13.68; 5, Addyson Lewis, Ftn, 13.72.

200 — 1, Brooke Zetooney, Wfh, 27.11. 2, Tommye Kelly, Wfh, 28.20. 3, Coralyn Shillam, Bfk, 28.85. 4, Audrey Buenz, Bfk, 28.97. 5, Chloe Raats, Bfk, 29.15. 6, Afton Lambrecht, Bfk, 29.46.

400 — 1, Mikenna Ells, Wfh, 59.15. 2, Ally Sempf, CF, 1:02.44. 3, Chloe Raats, Bfk, 1:04.60. 4, Coralyn Shillam, Bfk, 1:06.26. 5, Margaret Pulsifer, Wfh, 1:06.73. 6, Danika Bucklin, Bfk, 1:07.56.

800 — 1, Abigail Sherwood, Ftn, 2:33.08. 2, Paetra Cooke, Wfh, 2:38.41. 3, Morgan Grube, Wfh, 2:40.70. 4, Courtney Hoerner, CF, 2:43.10. 5, Adison Carlson, Pol, 2:44.68. 6, Taleah Hernandez, Pol, 2:46.75.

1600 — 1, Lara Erickson, CF, 5:22.39. 2, Siri Erickson, CF, 5:31.53. 3, Abigail Sherwood, Ftn, 5:36.94. 4, Ashtyn Wagner, Pol, 5:47.20. 5, Morgan Grube, Wfh, 5:52.50. 6, Paetra Cooke, Wfh, 5:55.25.

3200 — 1, Maddilyn Huffine, Pol, 13:39.66. 2, Isabel Seeley, Pol, 14:14.72. 3, Kodi White, Ftn, 14:21.37. 4, Erika Dowling, Bfk, 16:10.79.

100 hurdles — 1, Hailey Ells, Wfh, 16.92. 2, Kristina Shestak, Wfh, 17.28. 3, Ashlyn Savik, Bfk, 17.86. 4, Addison Reichner, Bfk, 18.25. 5, Rebekah Walker, CF, 19.13. 6, Michelle Dale, Pol, 19.56.

300 hurdles — 1, Hailey Ells, Wfh, 48.95. 2, Ashlyn Savik, Bfk, 53.33. 3, Rebekah Walker, CF, 56.25. 4, Bailey Smith, Wfh, 56.30. 5, Michelle Dale, Pol, 1:00.78. 6, Kate Hatfield, CF, 1:03.77.

400 relay — 1, Whitefish 50.60. 2, Bigfork 52.32. 3, Frenchtown 53.98.

1600 relay — 1, Columbia Falls 4:21.60. 2, Whitefish 4:39.63. 3, Polson 4:41.79.

Discus — 1, Kayla Botkin, Ftn, 130-4. 2, Olivia Ellison, Bfk, 106-8. 3, Jennifer Patten, Wfh, 97-2. 4, Madeline Stutsman, CF, 97-0. 5, Scout Nadeau, Bfk, 91-6. 6, Trinity Bell, Pol, 89-6.

Javelin — 1, Madysen Hoerner, CF, 107-7. 2, Madison Chappius, Bfk, 103-11. 3, Olivia Ellison, Bfk, 96-6. 4, Jennifer Patten, Wfh, 88-0. 5, Madeline Stutsman, CF, 84-11. 6, Scout Nadeau, Bfk, 83-10.

Shot put — 1, Sadie Smith, Ftn, 34-5. 2, Olivia Ellison, Bfk, 33-5.5. 3, Scout Nadeau, Bfk, 31-8.5. 4, Jennifer Patten, Wfh, 31-5. 5, Madeline Stutsman, CF, 31-2. 6, Quinlan Nissen, Bfk, 30-1.5.

High jump — 1, Mikenna Ells, Wfh, 5-0. 2, Hailey Ells, Wfh, 5-0. 3, Sophia Zohrer, Wfh, 4-8. 4, Demi Smith, Ftn, 4-6. 5, Inga Turner, Bfk, 4-6. 6, Taylor Weaver, CF, 4-6.

Long jump — 1, Maddie Robison, CF, 15-10.5. 2, Tommye Kelly, Wfh, 15-6. 3, Audrey Buenz, Bfk, 15-1.5. 4, Demi Smith, Ftn, 15-0. 5, Inga Turner, Bfk, 14-1. 6, Katherine Deschamps, Ftn, 13-10.

Triple jump — 1, Bailey Smith, Wfh, 33-4.5. 2, Madysen Hoerner, CF, 31-6. 3, Cheyanne Johnston-Heinz, CF, 30-10. 4, Madison Chappius, Bfk, 30-6.5. 5, Katherine Deschamps, Ftn, 28-7. 6, Maddie Young, Wfh, 27-7.5.

Pole vault — 1, Hannah Sempf, CF, 9-0. 2, Cheyanne Johnston-Heinz, CF, 9-0. 3, Rebekah Walker, CF, 8-6. 3, Allie Reichner, Bfk, 8-6. 5, Charlie Ham, Ftn, 8-0. 6, Kate Hatfield, CF, 8-0.

BOYS

Team scores — Whitefish 150, Frenchtown 122, Bigfork 110, Columbia Falls 81, Polson 50

100 — 1, Gabe Menicke, Wfh, 11.52. 2, Jeffrey Jacobs, Ftn, 11.64. 3, Carter White, Ftn, 11.68. 4, Marvin Kimera, Wfh, 11.69. 5, Noah Kinslow, Bfk, 11.84. 6, Evan Ellington, Ftn, 11.87.

200 — 1, Gabe Menicke, Wfh, 23.52. 2, Marvin Kimera, Wfh, 23.74. 3, Colter Gaertner, Wfh, 24.05. 4, Jarrett Wilson, Pol, 24.10. 5, Kia Golan, CF, 24.22. 6, Trevor Hill, Bfk, 24.31.

400 — 1, Colter Gaertner, Wfh, 52.54. 2, Jace Duval, CF, 53.74. 3, Drifter Skillicorn, Pol, 54.22. 4, Bailey Sjostrom, CF, 54.49. 5, Kaden Hanson, Ftn, 54.86. 6, Evan Ellington, Ftn, 55.05.

800 — 1, Ryan Dupuis, Pol, 2:08.35. 2, Gabe Lund, Wfh, 2:09.01. 3, Mason Genovese, Wfh, 2:09.25. 4, Dryse Davey, Ftn, 2:10.55. 5, Mason Sloan, Pol, 2:10.58. 6, Wyatt Ehredt, Ftn, 2:16.50.

1600 — 1, Jack Jensen, Bfk, 4:41.09. 2, Richard Role, CF, 4:47.19. 3, Mason Sloan, Pol, 4:48.27. 4, Deneb Linton, Wfh, 4:53.60. 5, Wyatt Ehredt, Ftn, 4:56.18. 6, Jacob Henson, Wfh, 4:58.97.

3200 — 1, William Hyatt, Wfh, 11:03.69. 2, Jack Jensen, Bfk, 11:09.17. 3, Thienhoa Jacobi, CF, 11:09.40. 4, James Petersen, CF, 11:15.44. 5, Bo Modderman, Bfk, 11:27.59. 6, Logan Peterson, CF, 11:29.91.

110 hurdles — 1, Wyatt Duke, Bfk, 16.72. 2, Jordan Betts, Bfk, 18.57. 3, Bowdrie Krack, Wfh, 18.97. 4, Richard Babcock, CF, 19.03. 5, Hayden Mohr-Mead, CF, 19.25. 6, Levi Bachteler, CF, 19.36.

300 hurdles — 1, Jordan Betts, Bfk, 43.86. 2, Bodie Smith, Wfh, 43.92. 3, Noah Rausch, Ftn, 45.52. 4, Levi Bachteler, CF, 48.07. 5, Hayden Mohr-Mead, CF, 48.24. 6, Elijah Sailer, Ftn, 48.87.

400 relay — 1, Frenchtown 44.34. 2, Bigfork 45.45. 3, Whitefish 45.49.

1600 relay — 1, Whitefish 3:32.52. 2, Columbia Falls 3:39.30. 3, Polson 3:40.15.

Discus — 1, Tel Arthur, Ftn, 125-4. 2, Brock Fisher, CF, 121-3. 3, Talon Holmquist, Wfh, 120-5. 4, Jake Houlihan, Ftn, 114-5. 5, Bode Wold, Wfh, 112-8. 6, Kevin Hanenburg, Ftn, 100-9.

Javelin — 1, Jonathan Perez, Pol, 139-10. 2, Shelton Woll, Bfk, 137-0.

Shot put — 1, Jake Houlihan, Ftn, 50-6.5. 2, Tel Arthur, Ftn, 48-4. 3, Talon Holmquist, Wfh, 48-2.5. 4, Kevin Hanenburg, Ftn, 43-5. 5, Brock Fisher, CF, 42-7. 6, Levi Taylor, Bfk, 40-4.5.

High jump — 1, Levi Taylor, Bfk, 6-0. 2, Gabe Menicke, Wfh, 5-10. 3, Jarrett Wilson, Pol, 5-8. 4, Cale White, Ftn, 5-8. 5, Jeffrey Jacobs, Ftn, 5-6. 6, Devin Shelton, Ftn, 5-6.

Long jump — 1, Cormac Benn, Bfk, 20-0. 2, Cale White, Ftn, 19-11. 3, Bodie Smith, Wfh, 19-6. 4, Brandon Finley, Ftn, 18-8.50. 5, Jace Duval, CF, 18-8.25. 6, Jeffrey Jacobs, Ftn, 18-7.

Triple jump — 1, Cale White, Ftn, 41-6.5. 2, Jeffrey Jacobs, Ftn, 41-2.75. 3, Cormac Benn, Bfk, 41-1.5. 4, Barrett Garcia, Wfh, 38-6. 5, Levi Taylor, Bfk, 37-5.5. 6, Jaxon Heinz, CF, 37-0.5.

Pole vault — 1, Seth Osborne, Bfk, 12-6. 2, Jaxon Heinz, CF, 12-0. 3, Lane Clark, CF, 11-6. 4, Shelton Woll, Bfk, 11-6. 5, Jace Adams, Ftn, 10-6. 6, Aidan Boller, Ftn, 10-0.