Now that they’re in, the Billings Senior girls have no intention of leaving.
After winning their first State AA team title in 2010, the Bronc girls track team has not looked back. Senior repeated in 2011, won its third straight last year and has its sights locked on a four-peat this weekend in Bozeman.
“Once you get that door open, it’s nice to keep going back through it,” said Senior girls coach Dave Creger. “It means a lot to these girls. They don’t take it for granted, and they want to keep it going.”
With the likes of Morgan Sulser and Christina Aragon leading the way, Senior has a legitimate chance to do just that.
Sulser, a junior, is the defending state champion in the 100-meter hurdles and ran on the Broncs’ state champion 400-meter relay team last year. She’s entered in the 100, 200, 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and both relays.
Aragon, a freshman and the last in the line of talented Aragon sisters, owns the state’s fastest time in the 800 (2:13.60) and is also entered in the 1,600, the 3,200 and the 1,600 relay.
“We’ll keep those two kids busy this weekend,” said Creger. “We don’t have quite the depth we’ve had in some other years, but we have kids that can score big points for us. You have to have that to have a shot, and we do.”
Senior Chloe Rector (100, 200) and sophomore Taylor Mims (high jump, long jump) will also be counted on for big points in the Broncs’ title chase.
“We’ve got a lot of girls qualified that have a chance to score points for us, and every point counts,” said Creger. “It’s a great group of girls … they work hard and they’re just good positive kids to be around.
“We’ve trained hard and we’ve been building toward this weekend. We’ll give it our best shot and see where the chips fall.”
Billings West, Billings Skyview, Great Falls CMR and Helena will be among the teams hoping to challenge the Senior girls.
Samirah Dennis (discus) and Kennedy Smith (triple jump) are title contenders for the West girls. Dennis owns the top discus throw in the state this season (138-1).
Skyview’s Shae Wacaser is among the best in Class AA in both the pole vault and the javelin, while the Falcons’ Haley Gellner is a contender in the 100.
Chasing Big Sky
On the boys side, defending champion Billings West will be among a pack of teams hoping to challenge Missoula Big Sky for the team title.
West has won five of the past seven AA boys titles, and features another strong team led by Jacob Kvilhaug and Fred Petsch on the track, Nate Deming in the jumps and the trio of Nick Jackson, Nate Bradley and Michael Quesenberry in the shot put and discus.
“Big Sky is definitely the team to beat … they’ve got a lot of talent and depth, and a lot of kids that are performing really well right now,” said West coach Rob Stanton. “But I still like what we’re capable of. If things go our way, I have no doubt that we can be in the mix.”
Jackson owns the top throw in the state this spring in both the shot put (58-8) and discus (171-4). Bradley ranks second in the discus (169-2), and he and Quesenberry are both among the top five in the shot put.
The Billings Senior boys are led by defending state champions Nolan Saraceni (100 and 200) and Alex Klatt (800).
Saraceni has run 10.84 in the 100 and 22.52 in the 200 this season. His time in the 100, which he ran at the Eastern AA divisional meet last week, is the best in the state.
Klatt, the two-time defending champion in the 800, owns a top time of 1:54.74 this season. Klatt is also among the top runners in the state in the 400.
Missoula Hellgate and both Kalispell schools will also hope to challenge Big Sky for the team title.
Kalispell Flathead’s Zach Perrin has run 4:09.24 in the 1,600 this season, and has his sights set on the state-meet record of 4:13.29. Perrin is also among the top-ranked runners in the 800 and 3,200.