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Townsend's Chiara Warner

Townsend’s Chiara Warner has already posted a 1,600-meter time faster than the all-state record. Can she set the record this weekend?

Bainville distance runner Chance Hyatt, who has Class C’s fastest times this season in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter runs, knows his top competition at the state meet well.

Layne Lantis of Terry has the second-fastest time in the class in both events, while Culbertson’s Fabian Munoz has the third-fastest.

“This year, there was only two meets where I wasn’t running against one of them,” Hyatt said. “It kind of helps me know where I’m at compared to those two. If I’m running against people like Layne and Fabian who push me, I have to stay focused on staying with them and keeping my splits kind of equal.”

Hyatt and Munoz were teammates on the Culbertson-Bainville consolidated cross country team in the fall, but the schools maintain their own track and field teams.

The relationship with Munoz "really hasn’t changed from cross country,” Hyatt said. “We kind of act like teammates, even though we’re not. It’s really friendly, but it’s still competitive, though.”

Hyatt finished fourth in the 1,600 at state last year and fifth in the 3,200. He’s improved his personal-best times in both races this year, shaving more than one minute off of his time in the 3,200.

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After finishing third in both the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the state meet last year as a sophomore, Park City sprinter Brianna Gray is ready to take the next step.

Heading into the State C meet in Laurel, Gray owns the class’ top times in the 100 and 200, as well as the 300-meter hurdles.

“(State) gets me nervous,” Gray admitted. “But I’m mostly excited about it. I’m confident in my ability and just want to go out there and do the best that I can do and hopefully pull off a few wins.”

In order to improve her already fast times — she recorded her personal bests in all three events at the Southern C divisional last week — Gray says she needs to focus on her starts.

“I’m trying to stay low when I come out (of the blocks),” explained Gray. “And then gradually come up as the race goes on and not just stand up right away and use my arms a lot more than I have been.”

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By Ashley Olson’s standards, it’s been a “rough year.” The Plentywood senior missed the first couple of weeks of track practice while on a trip to Hawaii. When she got back, she pulled her hamstring.

So Olson, who placed in five events at state last year, kind of flew under the radar this season. Yet she’s still competing in six events at state -- the 100, 200, 400, high jump and both relays.

“I’ve kind of just been working to get back to where I was I last year,” Olson said. “And I feel like I’m finally getting back to where my times were.”

After winning the 200 and 400 at state last year, Olson posted her season-best times in both events at last week’s Northern B divisional. But she’s most looking forward to the 100 at this year’s State B meet in Bozeman. She placed third in the event last year and currently holds Class B’s fastest time this season.

“That was my favorite (event) last year,” said Olson, who has already signed to run college track at Dickinson State. “I didn’t really place like I wanted to. I hope this year it turns out good.”

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Colstrip’s Tucker Yates is inching closer and closer to the Class B shot put record. If history is any indication, the 6-foot-1, 285-pound junior will get closer this weekend at the state meet.

Yates won the shot last year with a then-personal-best throw of 52-3. He’s improved that mark to 53-3 this season, which is the best in Class B this season but still shy of the class record of 56-10.

"It will be a stretch,” admitted Yates, who also owns Class B’s top discus mark at 161-0. “But I hopefully can get close there. That’s kind of what I’m shooting for.”

Yates has been challenged by senior teammate Lane KnowsHisGun this year. KnowsHisGun has Class B’s second-best throw in the shot put this season.

“I’d be discouraged (if KnowsHisGun won),” laughed Yates. “I want to win, but I’d be happy for him, I guess. It’s his last year, so I hope he does really good.”

Footnotes

  • The North Star girls are projected to win their second consecutive State C team title by montanatrack.com by edging Superior. It could come down to the long jump, as Superior’s Nicole Stroot has the best Class C mark in the state. North Star's Bettie Carlon and Lisa Carlon rank second and third.
  • Parker McCafferty of Belt will be chasing four top-three finishes at the State C meet. The sophomore won the 200, 400, and 800 at the Northern C divisional meet last week and finished third in the 100.
  • Two of the best distance runners in Montana will be on display at the girls State B meet when Bigfork’s Makena Morley and Townsend’s Chiara Warner take the track. The all-class state record in the 3,200 is within reach for Morley, while Warner has already posted a time faster than the all-class state record in the 1,600.
  • Columbus sprinter Dustin Sobrero caps his stellar career this weekend at the State B meet, where he has a chance to set the class records in both the 100 and 200. Sobrero's best time in the 100 would be good enough for the Class B record.

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Online sports editor for The Billings Gazette.