LAUREL — Martin Farver’s eyes welled up after winning the State C boys 400-meter dash on Friday. It was his first ever state track and field title, and he set a personal record in the race.
He was mainly crying for a reason unrelated to those feats.
The Scobey senior fell face-first as he crossed the finish line. He spent about a minute on the ground, having scraped a large part of his chest as he slid on the Laurel Sports Complex’s rubberized track. He also bloodied his shoulder, elbow and chin.
A trainer tended to Farver for minutes after the race and rubbed disinfectant on his wounds. The chemical stung so bad, it brought Farver to tears.
The scars will take a while to heal, but Farver will happily trade some pain for a massive gain. The 400 win was no guarantee going into state, and he expects Friday’s gold medal to be the first of many this weekend.
“The medal will last a lot longer than the pain,” Farver said.
Scobey senior Martin Farver scuffed up his chest, shoulder, elbow and chin on this dive, but it was worth it. He won his first ever State C title and broke 50 seconds in the boys 400 for the first time in his career. #MTscores pic.twitter.com/Xm01V47cMJ— Victor Flores (@VictorFlores_BG) May 24, 2019
Last season, Farver finished third in the State C boys 400 with a run of 50.36 seconds. His best time going into state this spring was 51.19, more than a second slower than top-ranked Hunter Shelmerdine of Seeley-Swan.
On another day, Shelmerdine’s Friday time of 50.21 would have been good enough for gold. But Farver saved his best high school 400 race for last, finishing in 49.77. The last 100 meters or so were hazy to Farver, who said he wasn’t intending to dive over the finish line. He didn’t trip, either.
“I just kind of ran out of gas,” he said.
Farver owns the top Class C boys marks in the 100 and 200. He also runs for Scobey’s 4x100-meter relay team, which finished second in Friday’s preliminaries, and the 4x400 relay team, which is currently third in the classification.
“My goal coming into the season was to hopefully win the 1, 2, 4, and I thought this would definitely be the hardest step,” he said of the individual sprinting events. “Getting this one out of the way was huge.”
Farver signed with Dickinson State’s track program last week, and he has a good chance to win at least two more gold medals on Saturday.
Shortly after his wounds were disinfected on Friday, he considered the probability of capping his magical week with more wins. But he wasn’t quite ready to devote all of his attention on Saturday’s races.
“Excited to go to bed,” he said.
Seeley-Swan, Fort Benton eyeing team titles
Farver’s upset win over Shelmerdine might play a role in the final team standings. Going into Saturday, Fort Benton leads the State C boys race with 29 points, five ahead of second-place Seeley-Swan.
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Manhattan Christian and Fairview are tied for third among boys teams (20 points), and Scobey is fifth (11).
Seeley-Swan has dominated the girls race through five events, tallying 37 points. Manhattan Christian is second (16), Fort Benton is third (14), Hinsdale is fourth (12) and Winnett-Grass Range is fifth (10).
Here’s a look at the other individual winners on the first day:
• Fort Benton's Damon Bird felt a pang of panic as he finished the first lap of the boys 800-meter run. His time through 400 meters was right around 60 seconds, likely too slow if he wanted to break his previous PR (2 minutes, 3.26 seconds) or win the state title, he said. The senior ran the next 400 meters in nearly identical time, thanks to a frantic finish that helped him break away from Seeley-Swan’s Caleb Maughan and win his first ever state title. Bird’s final time was 2:00.94. “That’s all I wanted ever since I started this race,” Bird said. “I’ve been thinking about it every single night this last week. It’s all that’s been on my mind, for that moment right there. It comes down to who wants it more.”
• Fort Benton's Leah Gannon entered the final long jump of her high school career unsure if she’d even break her PR (17 feet). The senior got a confidence boost shortly before the event began when she discovered Class C’s best girls long jumper, Thais Boava, wasn’t competing because of a torn ACL, according to Lone Peak athletic director John Hannahs. But Gannon might have won even if Boava was healthy. Gannon took first with a jump of 17 feet, 5 ½ inches, topping the classification’s previous best girls mark of 17-5, set by Boava. “I definitely wasn’t expecting to win it,” Gannon said. “I don’t even know how to feel about it. Just super happy.”
• Melstone senior Brody Grebe is hoping to win five gold medals this weekend, so winning the state boys long jump on Friday was just the first step. That doesn’t mean he didn’t appreciate the victory. His jump of 21-8 1/2 was below his PR but resulted in his first state track and field title, one year after finishing two inches short of the state boys long jump gold. “I didn’t know if I’d ever get here,” Grebe said. “I’m just thankful for everyone that’s helped me. Got a few more to win, though.”
• Compared to the boys 400, the girls race was relatively drama-free. Winnett-Grass Range’s Zoe Delaney took first by more than a second with a time of 58.15 seconds, just shorter than her personal record of 57.88, set at last year’s state meet. The junior has won back-to-back 400 state titles after finishing second as a freshman. “I was hoping for a 57, but I’m proud of how I did,” Delaney said.
• Winning the state girls discus was hardly in doubt for Klaire Kovatch. The main question was whether or not she would break her PR (150 feet, 2 inches). The sophomore fell well of her goal, and she was disappointed after the meet, even though her distance (144-2) would have won the State C boys title. She hopes to break her PR and win her third straight state discus title next season. She also intends to challenge the C girls discus record (154-11) and the all-class record (157 feet). “The biggest thing right now is just getting consistent. The fact that I can keep still hitting 140s is still good,” Kovatch said. “I want to thank my family, my friends, for always pushing me to go better, especially my dad for always working hard to find the solution to obstacles we face in my throwing.”
• Fairview sophomore Paul Hardy entered the state boys discus with a PR of 132-3, outside of the Class C boys top 10 and more than 27 feet short of the classification’s best mark, held by Augusta senior Ezra Bolles. Hardy didn’t come close to 159 feet on Friday, and he didn’t need to. He smashed his PR with a throw of 143-6, which beat out second place by just over two feet. “In eastern Montana, the wind blows a lot, and we’ve been having trouble with that throwing, so it was just nice to have a day where it was actually nice,” Hardy said. “The goal was to get on the podium or at least get in the finals this year, and I exceeded that.”
• Seeley’s Swan’s Sariah Maughan finished less than a second short of her PR in the 1,600, but that disappointment was minor. The freshman won the race by 1.73 seconds with a time of 5:23.15, with Scobey sophomore Gracee Lekvold hot on her heels (5:24.88). “As I was running, I’m like, ‘Crap, this is really way too fast, but I can’t slow down,’” Maughan said. “’I just have to keep pushing through.’”
• Riley Schott has now won two boys 3,200 state titles in his first two years at Manhattan Christian, and he cleared second place by nearly 10 seconds. His final time of 9:58.42 was well short of his PR (9:51.45), but considering the season-long pain in his right hip, he’s more than happy with the result. “This is the worst I’ve had it so far,” Schott said of the pain. “I just overcame it with adrenaline, I guess.”
• After finishing 10th in 2017 and fifth last year, Twin Bridges senior Steve Smathers took first in the boys javelin by nearly nine feet on Friday with a throw of 173-10 (about 2 ½ feet short of his PR) to end his track and field career. “I worked really hard at it all summer long, all winter long. … I’ve done a lot of lifting and training for this moment,” he said. “Now real life starts.”
• Girls pole vault was the only event that took place on Thursday, and Seeley-Swan’s Terra Bertsch won with a mark of 10 feet. She was aiming for the Class C record of 11 feet, and she fell short of her PR (10 feet, 6 inches), so the win was bittersweet. “I’ve cleared higher than that in practice, so it’s just a little frustrating to not get it when it counts,” she said. “But oh well. Next year.” But The junior has won two straight pole vault titles despite picking up the event just last year.
• Fairview junior Josh Herron was slightly embarrassed by his final pole vault distance of 12-9, considering his PR is 13-7, but the mark was enough to give him his first state title. “Personally disappointed, think I could’ve done better. But that’s alright,” he said. “Hopefully next year I can get 14, 15, somewhere better looking than 12-9.”