LAUREL — When it comes to technique, skill and fortitude in the pole vault, Sidney again proved it has no equal.
With a vault of 10 feet, 6 inches, Jalyssa Gorder won her second consecutive pole vault title Saturday during the State A track and field meet at the LHS Sports Complex. But more than that, Gorder’s victory extended the Eagles’ unprecedented pole vault title streak to seven straight years.
The University of Montana-bound Gorder became the third Sidney vaulter to win a repeat title in the last 15 years, joining former standouts Vanessa Bawden (2009-2010) and Leila Ben Youssef (1998-2000).
In all, the Eagles placed four girls in the pole vault, including 2011 state champ Mikayla Minow. Coupled with Whitney Leuenberger’s victory in the discus on Saturday, Sidney finished the meet with 60½ points, which was good for the second-place trophy.
Leuenberger’s discus title was her first. She finished second in the event at the previous two state meets. It was her second first-place medal of the weekend, following the third straight shot put championship she won Friday.
“I felt it right off the bat,” said Leuenberger, who won the discus with a throw of 133-4. “I was lower, I had the disc up more, my chin was up, my foot was turning in the middle … it just felt right.”
Still, it didn’t matter what Sidney or anyone else did Saturday. No team was going to catch Corvallis, which cruised to its third consecutive Class A girls team title.
After taking a huge lead Friday, the Blue Devils tacked on 104 more points on the meet’s final day. Their 185½-point total was a big payoff for an uncanny combination of talent and depth.
On the boys side, Whitefish stormed to the lead Saturday afternoon to win the team championship. With 78 points, the Bulldogs outlasted second-place Billings Central (69 points) and third-place Dillon (64 points) to win their first title since 2008.
It marked also marked the eighth consecutive year that the Class A boys championship was won by a school located west of the Continental Divide.
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As late as Saturday afternoon, Central’s boys clung to a lead in the team standings. A victory by Sean Ward in the javelin and a second-place showing by George Smith in the 300 hurdles gave the Rams a boost.
But Whitefish, thanks in large part to Logan Harwood’s victories in the 200 and 800 meters and a short-relay title, eventually grabbed the lead and held on. It was the Bulldogs’ eighth team title since 1997, the most in Class A in that span.
Corvallis, after winning four individual girls championships Friday, kept its foot on the gas on Day 2. Ayden Eikhoff won the 1,600 meters, following her wins in the 800 and 3,200 a day prior. The Blue Devils finished 1-2-3 in the 1,600, the same way they did in the two-mile Friday.
On top of that, Lakyn Connors was victorious in both the 100- and 300-meter hurdles, and ran legs on both Corvallis’ first-place relay teams that included speedster Sadie Henderson.
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Laurel’s Ty Mogan made a difficult decision Saturday morning. Mogan, who won the 1,600 meters on Friday, decided to opt out of the 800 on Saturday in order to be fresh for the two-mile race later in the day.
“I was thinking about it when I woke up,” Mogan said. “We talked about it last night a little bit when we were at our team dinner.”
It turned out to be a good decision. Mogan, a sophomore, added to his mile victory with an easy win in the 3,200, beating the next-closest finisher by seven seconds. Mogan’s time was 9:50.73.
“I think it was a good choice,” he said. “I had more energy in my legs to finish strong the two-mile.”
Mogan also helped the Locos clip Billings Central in a thrilling 1,600-meter relay race at the end of the day. Laurel, in the second (and faster) of two heats, edged the Rams at the finish line with a winning time of 3:26.87. Jon Nissen anchored the final leg.
Notes and quotes
- The boys from Whitefish may have won a team title, but Marlow Schulz stole the show. Whitefish’s Schulz, the fastest girl in Class A, finished off a sweep of the sprints (after winning the 400 on Friday) with victories in both the 100 and 200 meters. It was the second consecutive sweep for Schulz, who is also now a three-time 100 meters champion.
- Schulz, who won an 800-meter title her freshman year, has now captured eight first-place medals. And she’s just a junior. “I remember reading at the beginning of the year, ‘Can she do it again?’ That motivated me,” Schulz said. “I have some really, really good competitors that train all year round. So it’s always exciting to come out and perform. To sweep (the sprints), it feels that much better.”
- Mick Paffhausen of Dillon just missed winning the 110 hurdles, placing second by three-hundredths of a second. So Paffhausen returned to win the 300 hurdles, surpassing Central’s Smith with a time of 40.16. Paffhausen’s victory was added to that of teammate Austin Carver, who won the 100 (in 11.23) on Saturday for the second year in a row.