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AA track: Braves get off to flying start

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | May 25, 2024 12:27 AM

GREAT FALLS — It was a fantastic start for the Flathead Braves Friday at the State AA track and field meet at Memorial Stadium. The finish was pretty amazing, too.

If there was a hiccup in the middle — a false start — it might just buff out by the end of Saturday’s action.

The Braves’ 400-meter relay team of Jacob Dolezal, William Hollensteiner, Ben Bliven and Brody Thornsberry won the first timed event final of the meet in 41.47 seconds on Friday. That was fast enough to take a 15-year-old, all-class record off the books, if narrowly (Billings West clocked 41.48 in 2009).

“I thought we would win the 400 relay,” Flathead’s venerable coach, Dan Hodge, said. “I never thought we’d get a state record. But I ran the four best kids together, and I hadn’t done that all year.”

The result was one of two wins for Flathead on the day, the other being Hollensteiner’s impressive 400 meters in the last, timed final. After seven events Flathead had 31 points, right behind first-place Gallatin’s 32. Glacier and Great Falls High were tied for third at 24.

Helena, with sisters Madilyn and Logan Todorovich combining for three titles — and helping the Bengals win the short relay — took a commanding first-day lead on the girls side with 72 points. Gallatin was a distant second at 32, and Missoula Hellgate was next at 30.

Western AA Divisional champion Flathead was among four teams tied for seventh with 10 points, and Glacier scored nine.

On a blustery day, the Flathead boys sliced through the wind the best among the Kalispell teams.

“Ben just had —  he had a crazy leg,” Thornsberry said of the short relay. “He made up like four staggers, in one leg. By the time I got it, I was like, ‘All right, I just have to finish the race.’ “

“Our handoffs were good; we’ve been practicing them all week,” Hollensteiner said. “And also just pushing each other all year long, the four of us, every single day to get better helped a lot as well.”

The day’s hiccup came maybe 90 minutes later, when Bliven — last week’s divisional champ — false-started in the 100 meters trials. With four trials, it meant the top two in each heat plus the next two best times would make Saturday’s final. That likely adds a little pressure, and Glacier’s speedy Kash Goicoechea false-started in the next trial.

Bliven bounced back to zip through his 200 trials in 21.71. It’s his personal record by quite a bit, and was Friday’s fastest time.

“That kind of takes a hit on us, but we’ve just got to pull together and push harder,” Hollensteiner said.

Meanwhile the sophomore clocked 48.23 in the 400 — not a state record, but only a couple runners have gone faster (48.20) in Memorial Stadium.

“Will’s a tremendous athlete,” Hodge said of Hollensteiner, who hit his PR in the 200 (22.45) and placed fifth in the long jump Friday as well. “We found that as the season’s gone on. What did he run, 48.23? That’s extremely fast for a sophomore.”

Flathead got nine big points from Michael Mahar (third) and Trevin Olivier (tied for fourth) in the pole vault. Mahar cleared 14-3; Billings Senior’s Evan O’Toole won at 14-9.

Glacier got off to a strong start with Aiden Krause’s win in the shot put; the senior threw 58-2.5. Henry Sellards marked 53-1.25 on his final throw to move up to fourth in that event. 

The Wolfpack was second in the short relay, clocking 42.20; Owen Thiel added a fifth-place finish in the 1,600, where Bozeman’s Nathan Neil clocked 4:04.89, shattering the one-year-old all-class record of 4:10.68.

On the girls side, Logan Todorovich cleared 5-6 to win the high jump and leapt 19-3 to win the long jump. The latter was her third state title in that event; the Bengals seem assured of a third straight team championship.

Flathead’s Kennedy Moore cleared 5-4 and tied for second in the high jump; the Bravettes’ Zoey Bortz was fifth in the long jump, and Flathead was sixth in the 400 relay.

Glacier’s Kai Johnson threw her season best in the shot put, 41-10.75, but finished third in her quest for two straight state titles. Billings Skyview’s Rae Smart went 42-6 to win the event.

Jaidyn Peevey was sixth in the high jump, also clearing 5-4; the Pack also had sixth-place finishes from Charlotte Osler (javelin) and Breanna Barnes (pole vault).


State AA Meet

Friday at Great Falls

BOYS

Team scores (through 7 of 17 events) — 1, Gallatin 32; 2, Flathead 31; 3 (tie), Glacier and Great Falls 24; 5, Helena Capital 21; 6, Billings senior 17; 7, Missoula Sentinel 15; 8, Bozeman 14; 9, Missoula Big Sky 9.33; 10 (tie), Billings West and Belgrade, 8; 12, Butte 6; 13, Helena 5.33; 4, Billings Skyview 2.33.

400 — 1, William Hollensteiner, Fla, 48.23; 2, Wilson Schmidt, Bel, 48.64; 3, Nash Coley, Gal, 49.00; 4, Titus Sykes, Boz, 49.35; 5, Peyton Nelson, Cap, 49.61; 6, Luke Ruch, Hel, 49.83.

1,600 —  1, Nathan Neil, Boz, 4:04.89 (All-Class state record: old record 4:10.68, Weston Brown, Bozeman, 2023); 2, Quinn Newman, Snt, 4:14.35; 3, Ryan Harrington, GF, 4:18.00; 4, Tyler Inabnit, Snt, 4:18.63; 5, Owen Thiel, Gla, 4:18.81; 6, Henry Sund, Hel, 4:20.01.

400 relay —  1, Flathead (Jacob Dolezal, William Hollensteiner, Ben Bliven, Brody Thornsberry) 41.47 (All-Class record: old record 41.48, Billings West, 2009); 2, Glacier, 42.20; 3, Gallatin 42.55; 4, Capital 42.58; 5, Sentinel 42.67; 6, Helena 42.89.

Shot put —  1, Aiden Krause, Gla, 58-2.5; 2, Barrett Hageman, Cap, 55-5; 3, Cole Dawes, Cap, 43-7 4, Henry Sellards, Gla, 53-1.25; 5, Jack Murray, Gal, 52-9.25; 6, Maxx Lee, BSR, 52-5.

High jump —  1, Quinn Clark, Gal, 6-8; 2, Scott Klinker, GF, 6-4; 3, Sam Henderson, Butte, 6-4; 4 (tie), Boaz McKinney, Sky, Porter GIbbs, MBS and Aayden Simmons, Hel, 6-4.

Long jump —  1, Scott Klinker, GF, 24-5.5; 2, Quinn Clark, Gal, 23-1.5; 3, Trystin Chapel, BSR, 23-1.5; 4, Oliver Simianer, MBS, 22-4.5; 5, William Hollensteiner, Fla, 22-0.5; 6, Grady Walker, Snt, 21-10.5.

Pole vault — 1, Evan O’Toole, BSR, 14-9; 2, McKalester Johns, BW, 14-6; 3, Michael Mahar, Fla, 14-3; 4 (tie), Joey Sandberg, MBS, and Trevin Olivier, Fla, 13-6; 6, Brayden Brisko, Cap, 13-6.

GIRLS

Team scores (through 8 of 17 events) — 1, Helena 72; 2, Gallatin 32; 3, Missoula Hellgate 30; 4, Billings Skyview 16; 5, Great Falls 15; 6, Missoula Sentinel 14; 7 (tie), Billings West, Flathead, Butte and Billings Senior, 10; 11 (tie), Bozeman and Glacier, 9; 13, Missoula Big Sky 4, 14, Great Falls CMR 4; 15 (tie), Helena Capital and Belgrade, 2. 

400 — 1, Madilyn Todorovich, Hel, 57.82; 2, Sophie Miller, Hgt, 59.41; 3, Aliyah Voel, BW, 59.47; 4, Hazel Bishop, Hel, 59.85; 5, Grace Stewart, Bel, 1:00.10; 6, Isis Haslem, GF, 1:00.24.

1,600 —  1, Kaitlyn Skinner, Hgt, 5:00.64; 2, Isabel Ross, Gal, 5:01.51; 3, Kylee Neil, Boz, 5:02.36; 4, Claire Rutherford, Gal, 5:03.87; 5, Hazel Cooper, Gal, 5:09.92; 6, Sophia Miller, Hgt, 5:10.80.

400 relay — 1, Helena (Logan Todorovich, Hazel Bishop, Reghan Skogan, Madilyn Todorovich) 48.04; 2, Great Falls 48.58; 3, Billings Senior 49.21; 4, Big Sky 49.26; 5, Gallatin 49.65; 6, Flathead 50.00.

Javelin — 1, Brityn Stewart, Butte, 130-7; 2, Ava Dierolf, Gal, 128-6; 3, Rae Smart, Sky, 128-4; 4, Elsa Johnson, BW, 116-4; 5, Kaelyn Saari, Cap, 113-9; 6, Charlotte Osler, Gla, 112-10.

Shot put —  1, Rae Smart, Sky, 42-6; 2, Tesse Kamps, Gal, 42-1.75; 3, Kai Johnson, Gla, 41-10.75; 4, Tori Jamieson, BSR, 39-5; 5, Ava Epler, Boz, 38-11.5; 6, Shelby Taldock, CMR, 38-1.75.

High jump —  1, Logan Todorovich, Hel, 5-6; 2 (tie), Kennedy Moore, Fla, and Elly Reed, Hgt, 5-4; 4, Ava Kellenberg, Snt, 5-4; 5, Madilyn Todorovich, Hel, 5-4; 6, Jaidyn Pevey, Gla, 5-4.

Long jump —  1, Logan Todorovich, Hel, 19-3; 2, Reghan Skogen, Hel, 11-2.5; 3, Ava Kellenberg, Snt, 18-1; 4, Emily McElmurry, Snt, 17-3.25; 5, Zoey Bortz, Fla, 17-1.25; 6, Bryann Wilson, Boz, 16-11.75.

Pole vault —  1, Reghan Skogen, Hel, 11-9; 2, Anikka Nehring, Hel, 11-6 3, Bree MacDonald, GF, 11-6; 4, Landrie Anderson, Hgt, 1-10; 5, Addison Smith, CMR, 10-6; 6, Breanna Barnes, Gla, 10-6.