Morgan Sulser was already over the first hurdle when the starter’s gun fired a second time.
“The gun went off so late, I knew it wasn’t a false start,” said the Billings Senior standout.
After leaving the starting blocks, again, she was approaching the first hurdle when the gun sounded once more.
The electronic timer was not functioning with the starter’s pistol, forcing two re-starts for the girls 300-meter hurdles race at Thursday’s Billings Public Schools meet at Daylis Stadium.
“It bothers you a little bit, but you just have to make the best of it,” Sulser said. “You just go back and get ready.
“I’d rather start over than run a race and not have an official time.”
The third time proved to be the charm as the final attempt of the race got off to a smooth start and Sulser set her second BPS record of the day.
She ran 45.45 seconds, bettering the old record of 45.53 set by Sawyer Ferguson of Billings Skyview in 2011.
“I’m actually glad it happened again,” said Sulser of making three starts for one race. “I feel like I got a late start on the second one.
“This stuff happens. It’s just one of those things.”
And Sulser was in a much better mood after her third win of the afternoon. She had already won the 100 hurdles and 100 meters prior to the 300 hurdles.
Her record time of 15.09 in the 100 hurdles was not to her liking.
“Not that one,” the uber-competitive senior replied about her time. “I definitely wanted to be in the 14’s.”
Sulser ran a Class AA state record of 14.11 last year in Bozeman. She was seeded at 14.45, her best this year, for the BPS meet.
Sulser was flanked in the 100 hurdles heat by four sophomores and one freshman.
“I feel old,” she joked.
The previous record was 15.18 by Jenna Schardein of Senior in 2002.
And as the minutes passed, so did Sulser’s initial reaction.
“This was one of my goals, so that’s a good thing,” she said. “It’s exciting.”
She closed BPS meet by running the anchor leg on Senior’s winning 1,600 relay team.
* * *
For few hours, or maybe even just a few minutes, Brett Dringman was the best pole vaulter in the state.
Dringman cleared a career-best 14-feet, 7-inches, with room to spare. It was a dramatic leap up for Dringman, whose previous best was 14-0.
He ended his afternoon with three attempts at the West program record of 15-1.
But while Dringman was setting the Billings bar higher, across the state Lonnie Sherman of Kalispell Glacier was going a state-best 15 feet.
* * *
Charlie Barron of Senior had a scare, followed by a moment of levity in the pole vault competition.
The sophomore, who won the BPS discus title, came down on the right side during a run at 14-0, crashing off to the side of the pad and into the stand. After the crowd watching gave a gasp, Barron popped up, assuring everybody, “I’m OK, I’m OK,’’ with a two thumbs-up.
* * *
The boys 800 meters lived up to pre-seed billing.
On paper, only one second separated the top three seeds — West’s Mark Hovland, Senior’s Jorey Egeland and Isaac Petsch of West.
Hovland led the first lap with Egeland a step back on his outside shoulder and Petsch a close third. Hovland fought off an Egeland challenge on the back stretch of the bell lap, only to have Petsch slingshot past both going into the far turn.
Petsch won in 1:58.19, just .56 seconds ahead of his teammate.
* * *
In another close race, Skyview junior Keegan Day won the girls 1,600 by just .16 over Jocelyn Elorriaga of Senior. The top five seeds finished according to form.
In other close events, only .54 seconds separated Skyview, West and Senior in the boys 400 relay, while Kennedy Smith of West edged Senior’s Taylor Mims by 1.5 inches in the girls long jump.