Charlo Vikings seek to extend district streaks
Last season, the 2018 rendition of Charlo track fared quite well. Both boys and girls teams took first place at the District 14C meet. At the Western C Divisional, the Lady Vikings finished fourth, while the Viking boys tied for fifth.
Lady Viking divisional placers included Tyrah Hammond, Carlee Fryberger, Kaitlin Cox, Allie Delaney, Destiny Manuel and Kira McPhail. At the State C meet, Hammond placed in two sprint events (100,200), the short relay and the pole vault. Fryberger placed in the 100, high hurdles, short relay and triple jump. Cox placed in the triple jump, high hurdles and ran a leg in both relays. Manuel ran a leg in the short relay, while Delaney ran a leg in the long relay. Most, but not all, have returned this season, but some absences may factor into various meets on account of scheduling conflicts with other involvements.
Viking divisional placers included both Charlo boys relay teams, Landers Smith in sprints (100,200), Wills DeGrandpre in distance, Garett Vaughan in the hurdles and two in pole vault. At State, Charlo placed in the long relay, Landers Smith in pole vault and Wills Degrandpre in the long distance events as the team finished in 11th place.
Veteran Charlo track coach Bret Thompson enters his 32nd season at the helm. Last season was the 16th straight district title for the boys and 19th in the past two decades, placing runnerup to Arlee in 2001. The Viking boys have won two dozen district titles, eight divisional titles and a state title four-peat from 2011-14 during the tenure of coach Thompson. The Lady Vikings have accrued nineteen district titles along with two divisional titles under Thompson as well.
Thompson is glad that there will be a half dozen weeks of track events to prepare before the postseason arrives. Thompson points out, “We need to stay healthy, but I think we will get stronger as the year goes on. We also have good senior leaders.”
Arlee slated to climb further up the ladder
Arlee Scarlet thinclads graduated state placer Shawntaya Nelson, but return junior Peyton Lammerding in throws. Lammerding, state runner up as well as school record holder in shot put, is anticipated to be among state leaders in the event despite coming off shoulder surgery.
Among Arlee Warrior boys tracksters, district multi-event placer Colt Crawford is slated to compete in sprints and distance events. Coach Ryan Landolfi considers Crawford as “our utility, do-it-all man.” District throws placer Sam Fowler returns with the goal to improve on his results in the shot put from last season.
The Warriors look to have some speed in relay this season with Jason Miller, CJ Forgey, Garrett Stringer and Colt Crawford running legs. Coming off a successful basketball campaign, Billy Fisher and Isaac Fisher should have an impact in distance races along with jumping events.
Arlee head coach Ryan Landolfi enters his second season at the helm of the Arlee track program after serving a preceding season in the capacity of assistant. Landolfi says, “Last year was a building year and the beginning of a culture change ... I want to continue to build on the successes from last season, and bring more personal and team bests to Arlee this season.”
Mission vies to extend postseason success
The 2018 rendition of Mission St. Ignatius track had a trio of state placers last season. On the boys’ side, Mission graduated lone event placer Michael Durglo in throws. At the Western B Divisional, the short relay team placed sixth, while Flint McPherson finished in eighth place in a pair of jumping events.
On the girls side of the slate, the Lady Bulldogs return state placers Karolyna Buck and Afton Brander, who both placed in the high jump. Mission finished fourth among the team standings at the Western B Divisional last season. The B&B tandem were absolutely golden at divisional jumps last season with Buck divisional champion in high jump and Brander divisional champion in long jump. Both ran legs in the divisional placing relays along with Sydney Brander and Hunter Eichert, the latter pair also participating in other events.
Mission co-coaches Tyler Murray and Chris Eichert along with volunteer assistant coach Matt Lawrence hope to build upon the successes of last season.
Coach Murray is optimistic about the upcoming season. “We expect to have our older/more experienced kids compete at a higher lever and place in their events at divisionals and state, along with helping some newbies figure things out. We have some new kids out that will help our relays as well as potentially place in their individual events. It’s an exciting group to coach because they are all willing to learn and help each other out,” he said.
Charlo, Arlee and Mission were slated to compete at the Frenchtown Invitational this Saturday, April 6, which has been relocated to Big Sky in Missoula.