For the first 30 state AA girls track meets, Billings Senior managed to bring home one trophy. That was a third-place finish in 1975.
Over the last four years, that's changed a lot. While the Broncs haven't won a state championship, they've been a factor. The Broncs finished second for three straight years (1999-01) and were third last year.
Third is probably the best Senior can do this year, considering the strength of Kalispell and Bozeman.
This state meet will mark the last ones for Bronc seniors Steph Radke, Saskia Boogman and Jenna Schardein, who've played a prominent role in the Senior's success.
During last three years, Radke and Schardein have placed in six events and Boogman in four. Radke and Schardein are defending state champions, having won the triple jump and 100 hurdles.
Radke also had fifth places in the long jump and 200 meters and a sixth in the 400 in 2002. Schardein added a third in the 300 hurdles and a fifth in the 400.
As a junior Radke got a fifth in the triple jump and a third in the 400. Schardein finished second in the 100 hurdles as a freshman and was fourth as a sophomore. She also was third in the 300 hurdles in her sophomore year.
Boogman claimed third places in the triple jump and long jump in 2001 and was fifth in the long jump last year.
Radke may have a tough time defending her triple jump title considering the fact that Halladay Quist of Kalispell has gone over 37 feet and Radke's best is 35-4.
Carlee Clark is the solid favorite in the 400, but Radke is hoping to be right behind her.
"I got a little nervous when I saw the West (results)," Radke said. "I think I have a chance to be second in the 400. I think I could be first or second in the triple. It just depends on what kind of day I have."
Boogman has a shot at the high jump title and could place in the long and triple jumps.
"This could be my year (in the high jump)," Boogman said. "I'm excited. I've been much more consistent this year."
Schardein has a chance to win both hurdles races and, based on divisional results, the Broncs could get points from Jessica Baldwin (shot put, discus), Amy Carroll (discus), Julia Williams (javelin), Katrina Solomon (high jump) and Susan Kocab (1,600).
While a state title would be nice, getting another trophy would be a good finish.
"It's definitely been fun," Boogman said.
Time standing still There aren't too many records that last 30 years. At least, that's the case when it comes to the official Montana High School Association's state track and field records.
The oldest girls record on the books is Julie Brown's 2:11 in the 800. It has an asterisk with it, noting that it was accomplished at the English distance.
That means Brown ran in a time when races were measured in yards rather than meters and hers is the only girls mark in a timed event to have survived from that time (Montana converted to meters in 1981).
Brown ran 880 yards in 1973 and no one has been able to beat that despite the fact that 800 meters is a shorter race (by a little over five yards).
There's a chance, of course, that Brown's record could fall this year. Bozeman's Clark has the best chance to break it. Clark has run a 2:12.1.
There is one other girls record that predates the change to meters and that was Vicky Sturn of West, who ran 24.4 to win the 220-yard race in 1975.
I was curious about what Brown's time would be converted to for 800 meters and Jo Austin of the MHSA had the answer. According to the National Federation Handbook conversion table, you would deduct .7, making Brown's time 2:10.3.
But Austin cautioned: "This isn't recommended for official records. It's just for comparison."
Clark won't have to beat 2:10.3 to break Brown's mark. Anything under 2:11 will do.
For what Sturn's time would be over 200 meters, deduct .1 for a 24.3.
On the boys side, there are two marks that survive. Jeff Muri of Miles City owns the 200 record of 21.4 (for 220 yards) set in 1975 and Mike Guon of Great Falls has the 400 mark of 47.9 (for 440 yards) established in 1976.
If you're curious about how those times convert, Muri's would be 21.3 and Guon's 47.6.
(Ed West can be reached at 657-1325 or by e-mail at email@example.com)