With district meets set to begin next week (Classes B and C), we'll recap last week’s action headlined by the Russ Pilcher Western Top 10 meet on Tuesday, Saturday’s Skor-DeKam Invitational in Helena and the Bob Reed-RCIA Invitational in Corvallis. Those weren’t the only meets over the last week, so we’ll go around the state recapping what happened and highlighting different performances. If there are any time corrections please feel free to contact Jeff Hedstrom via Twitter (@Montana_Track) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: This recap will not include the Cascade Top 8, Glasgow Top 10, or Midland Roundtable Top 10 that took place Monday and Tuesday. We’ll recap those performances next week.
• The Class A boys' 400-meter loaded lineup will likely be one for the ages. With five podium winners already returning and a few others likely to challenge, it will be a must-watch event at state. Jadin Casey of Stevensville (49.85 seconds) and Taylor Sylvester of Corvallis (50.07) faced off at the Bob Reed Invitational, and the two athletes are Class A's top performers on the elite list. Karill Apedaile of Hamilton (50.60) and Michael Gulledge of Billings Central (50.85) dueled at the John Tomich Invitational (Butte), which Apedaile got the better slice of the pie. Others that are projected to challenge for a podium position at state are Brock Butcher of Lewistown (ran a 50.63 on Tuesday in Laurel), Nate Rismon of Havre (ran a 51.18 on Saturday in Whitefish) and Dakota Pew of Glendive (ran a 51.92 on Saturday in Glendive).
• Rahkei Eyer (Jefferson) is a very special talent, making huge improvement from 2014 where his best 400 time was just 52.46. His time is down this year by more than a second, running a 50.79 at the Western Top 10 meet. With much of the second half of the season remaining, he’ll begin to prepare for the postseason as he’ll likely face off against Class B 400-meter leader Sean Opland (Troy).
• The Gary Benson Border War Meet in Wyoming had some action over in the pole vault area. Charlie Barron of Billings Senior (15-0) and Jake Bradford of Billings West (14-6) both placed in the top three at the meet and now move up to second and third among the state leaders in pole vault. Chase Smith of Helena set a meet record, school record and all-time Montana record with a vault of 16-5 at the Western Top 10 meet.
• Alex Bohlman (Seeley-Swan) put up an impressive performance at the Fairfield-Belt Invite, winning two events and was a part of the winning 1,600-meter relay (4:21.67, which leads all Class C teams). Bohlman surfaced as the favorite in the javelin with a throw of 128-7, which leads all Class C throwers. She also ran a 27.10 to win the 200-meter dash.
• Hailey Phillips of Plains set a Western Top 10 meet record and a state-best time in the 300 hurdles (44.21). Though Phillips took third in the 100 hurdles, she accumulates a bundle of points each and every meet. She regularly competes in the maximum number of events (five), and she's among the state leaders in the 200 (third) and 100 hurdles (third). Rachel McGree (Butte Central) is starting to emerge as a challenger to Holly Andersen (Dillon) in the Class A 100 hurdles. McGree, a sophomore, won the event at the Western Top 10 meet, edging both Andersen and Phillips.
• Josey Smiedala of Helena had one heck of a performance Saturday at the Skor/DeKam Invitational. She ran her personal record by nearly two seconds in the 300 hurdles, clocking in at 46.23, which ranks fifth in the state. Class AA leader Hailey Copinga (Billings Skyview) will have something to say about that at state. She also ran a season-best time (46.08) at the Border Wars, third-fastest in the state.
• Katelyn Frost (Corvallis) continues her senior season and possibly her best season, as she won four events on Saturday at the Bob Reed-RCIA Invite. She won the 100 (12.90), 400 (59.60), long jump (16-5 ¼) and pole vault (10-6), with season-best performances in all but the pole vault. Frost took second in the 200 (season-best time of 26.29) and won the pole vault (11-6) at the Western Top 10 on Tuesday. She is on the elite list in the pole vault, 200 and 400.
• Madi Cicierski (Billings Senior) had the best day of her career at the Gary Benson Border Wars when she threw the discus 131-11, as she now leads Class AA and is third on the state elite list. Kayla Holmes (Plains) had a monster personal record with a throw 145-6 in Whitefish on Saturday, as she won the event easily by nearly 20 feet. She has the leading throw in the state.
• Keyawna Larson (Kalispell Glacier), the two-time state javelin champion, is seeking to break the state record of 143-7. On Tuesday, she threw a career best 141-11 at the Western Top 10 to win the event, inching her way closer to one of her final goals in high school. Larson will look to break the state record on her home turf, as the state meet will be at Legends Stadium May 22-23.