LAUREL — Ty Morgan is big.
And maybe most important, versatile.
Not many athletes can win the shot put competition, gather their gear, change shoes and run the second leg of a state championship 400-meter relay in the span of approximately 15 minutes.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound athlete did most of the heavy lifting, helping Ennis win its third consecutive Class C boys state track and field title at the Laurel Sports Complex on Saturday.
The Mustangs finished with 61 points. Darby was second with 46 and Richey-Lambert third at 34. Ennis used five athletes in the two-day meet.
Fort Benton scored in 16 of 17 events to win the Class C girls state title with 72 points. Manhattan Christian was second with 56.3 and Twin Bridges third at 46. It is the Longhorns' first state track title as a Class C program. They won Class B championships in 1997, 1983 and 1982.
Morgan, who signed to play football at Montana State next fall, won the shot put with a personal record and school record effort of 55 feet, 9.5 inches.
“I was going for the shot put record, but this is good enough I guess,” said Morgan, who won the discus title Friday.
He didn’t have much time to savor his second state championship.
“I was getting a little bit worried about the time,” Morgan said. “I heard them say first call for the relay and there were still a couple of people left in the shot put. I was, ‘Let’s go.’ It wasn’t too bad. I’m used to doing this all season.”
The 400 relay of Corbin Wood, Tanner Wood, Austin Baum and Morgan won in 44.4. The Mustangs also got important points from Corbin Wood, who was second in the 100 and 200, third in the long jump and fifth in the high jump. Tanner Wood added points with a sixth in the 100 and fifth in the long jump.
“Corbin and Tanner are just gifted athletes,” Morgan said. “Corbin is really talented.”
Ennis won its third straight despite the loss of state champion hurdler Cleet Wrzesinski, who moved to Baker last summer.
For Morgan, his preference of events was easy.
“The shot put. That’s what I’m best at,” he said. “In the shot put, you have to be mentally tough. The other events, all you have to do is run.”
Other boys state champions were: Mark Estes, Drummond, 100, 200; Evan Duggan, Darby, 1,600; Tanner Fix, Ekalaka, 110 hurdles, 300 hurdles; Bryar Lange, Savage, triple jump; Allexander Kosel, Roberts, high jump; Seeley-Swan, 1,600 relay.
Girls state champions Saturday were: Maddy Thompson, Fort Benton, 100; Zoe Delaney, Winnett-Grass Range, 200; Alex Veltkamp, Manhattan Christian, 800; Averi Parker, West Yellowstone, 3,200; Kailee Oliverson, Twin Bridges, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles; Twin Bridges 400 relay, 1,600 relay; Alex Bohlman, Seeley-Swan, javelin; Jessica Thompson, Plains, shot put; Jourdain Klein, Ennis, triple jump, high jump.
Veltkamp also won the 400 and long jump Friday.
Estes, who suffered a season-ending knee injury in football last fall, won the 400 on Friday. The junior decided not to defend his triple jump title this spring to protect his knee.
“I was just looking for PRs (personal records),” Estes said. “I knew if I did that, I would be good. “After the injury, I was motivated to get back on the track.”
Fix won both hurdle races by a combined 0.20 seconds over Kye McCollaum of Darby. The end of the 300 hurdles was reminiscent of a NASCAR wreck, with bodies strewn around the finish line, including Fix.
“I was leaning at the finish line and fell,” the senior said. “I was leaning so far forward to get a little extra and my legs gave out from being tired. I looked back and saw all the bodies and thought, ‘We had a pretty good wreck here, didn’t we?’
“I felt I ran good races. My goal, honestly, was to perform my best. If I did that, I would be OK. I’m just a little scraped up.”
Klein, a sophomore, is halfway to four consecutive high jump titles. “Going for four, that’s the plan,” she said.
She matched a personal best by clearing 5-5. Earlier in the day, she went a personal best 36-1/4 to win the triple jump. Klein was seeded first for the high jump and fourth in the triple jump.
“This is really exciting,” she said. “My goals were to get first in both. I got a career best in the triple jump and matched my career best in the high jump … it’s the best day I could ask for.”
Being a newcomer to the 300 hurdles didn’t hamper Oliverson. The junior won in 45.79 seconds, in just her fourth time in the event.
“I didn’t run my best today, but I’m happy,” said Oliverson, who also ran legs on Twin Bridges’ winning 400 and 1,600 relay teams. “Getting into the 45s was my goal.”
The strategy in her new race was simple.
“You have to just push the whole way,” she said. “Go until your legs are tired. The first time I ran them, it was like, ‘What have I done?’ But once you run them, you fall in love with them.”
Fort Benton had two winners — Kaitlyn Bird in the 1,600 on Friday and Maddy Thompson in the 100 on Saturday — en route to the girls title.
All seven competitors scored for the Longhorns, coach Kevin Shaw said.
“We have a broad spectrum of athletes in different events,” he said. “We had a great day on Friday and a couple of things went our way today. Kaitlyn Bird winning the 1,600 on Friday was big. That got us going. She’s done that all year.
“And Maddy Thompson winning the 100, that was big. It was a great team effort. They symbolize everything about being a good fundamental team.”