HELENA — There's a chance some all-class records could fall during the Class AA-B State track and field meet that begins today at Helena's Vigilante Stadium.
Bozeman's Carlee Clark, Kalispell's Zoe Nelson, Conrad's Loni Perkins and Florence's Kim Heinz could erase some marks, one of which has lasted for 30 years.
The records that are most likely in jeopardy are in the 400, 800, 1,600, 3,200 and javelin. Official state marks can only be set in a state meet.
Four of them (400, 1,600 and 3,200 and javelin) have been on the books for just a year. Perkins established the all-class mark of 55.99 in the 400 and Heidi Lane of Great Falls C.M. Russell set the 1,600 (4:55.18) and the 3,200 (10:44.63) records in 2002. Also last year the restricted flight javelin was used for the first time and Kim Berg of Kremlin-Gildford threw it 140-3.
The 800 is the oldest record still standing. That record (2:11.0) was set in 1973 at 880 yards by Billings Senior's Julie Brown.
Clark has run a 2:12.1 this year and won last year's race in 2:11.18. Last weekend at the Eastern AA Divisional, Clark turned in a 55.73 in the 400. Clark may also be a threat to the 100 record of 12.24 by Sidney's Stacey Rehbein, having a 12.2 to her credit (Perkins has a 12.3).
Nelson was second to Lane last year in the 1,600 and 3,200, but the diminutive sophomore has been outstanding this year. Her season best in the 1,600 of 4:56.6 is a little over a second slower than Lane's record and her 10:29.9 is almost 15 seconds faster in the 3,200.
Heinz has the state's best mark in the javelin at 148-4.
On the boys side, Helena Capital's Matt Larson is back to try and beat his own state mark of 14.21 in the 110 hurdles. He's run a 14.2, as has Justin Schwartzenberger of Butte.
As for the team races, the girls should again be a battle between Flathead County of Kalispell and Bozeman. Kalispell is a solid favorite in the boys meet.
"It's looks like it's going to be a battle with Kalispell," said Bozeman girls coach Steve Schwab. "There's a handful of points that separate us."
"It's shaping up a lot like last year," said Kalispell coach Jerry Boschee, who's team beat Bozeman 132-125.33 in 2002. "We've got 16 kids who qualified and we hope they can all place. We've got all of the events covered. Bozeman is so tough on the track that it's scary."
Clark could win as many as four events (she's also running in the relays) for Bozeman, which should also get major points from their distance corps led by Elisabeth Driscoll and Laura Snepenger.
Besides Nelson, Kalispell has major point producers in Halladay Quist (jumps), Krista Jimenez (400, 800), Becky O'Neil (shot put, discus) and Caitie Holliday (high jump, javelin).
Senior's girls are seeking a fifth straight trophy at state behind hurdles favorite Jenna Schardein. Saskia Boogman (jumps), Steph Radke (jumps, 400), Jessica Baldwin (discus) and Amy Carroll (discus) could be major contributors.
Skyview's Torey Scheafer, who's won the last two 100 titles, will battle Clark in the sprints. The Falcons' Brianna Harris is among the top pole vaulters.
Kalispell's boys appear to have enough depth to claim a fourth consecutive championship with the likes of sprinter Brandon Dwyer, jumper Bryce Jahner and distance runners Caleb Ambrose and Matt Parker and thrower John Danielson.
Bozeman, behind sprinter Ty Norris and distance ace Daniel Driscoll, and CMR, with sprinter-hurdler Kyle Wade, will battle for trophies. Capital, Senior, and West might be in the hunt as well.
The Broncs have defending champions Evan Wilson (shot put) and Jimmy Stanton (discus). West's Mark Blackford (200, 400, 800), Joe Mavencamp (hurdles, 100) and Chris Reno (javelin) all have a chance to score well.
In Class B, Fort Benton appears to have the advantage in the boys race, but the girls could be quite close with defending champion Conrad, Malta, Wolf Point, Townsend, Plentywood and Florence.
Fort Benton's bid is led by Loren Utterback, who could get big points in the 100, 200, shot put and discus. Based on divisional results, Eureka, Missoula Loyola, Plains and Fairfield should vie for second and third.
Conrad won the girls title last year and could repeat with Perkins. She's heavily favored to win the sprints and is a threat in the high jump and long jump. Malta could contend with Lyndie Neville (distances) and Roshon Nordlund (hurdles).
Teddi Anderson (shot put, discus) and Bethany Long (distances) lead Wolf Point and sprinter-hurdler Patrice Foster paces Townsend. Heinz could place in as many as four events for Florence.
Baker's Julie Ho has the top time in the 300 hurdles.