Charlo High School track coach Bret Thompson, and his staff got a gauge of just how good Charlo High School’s Carlee Fryberger would become early in her career.
Fryberger and the Charlo Middle School track and field team, who competed against some of the best middle school runners in the western portion of Montana, allowed the staff to see the glimpse of the promise of a trickster that would become a Montana High School Class C state champion.
Fryberger fulfilled that promise, as the sophomore was crowned a two-time Class C Montana High School Association State champion on May 17-18 at the Laurel Sports Complex at Laurel High School.
“In junior high, she was competing, but you never know when they compete at a younger age (where they stand),” Thompson said. “Fortunately, in middle school, she was competing against some of the better athletes in the state of Montana, and in our case, she ran against the Seeley girls even when she was in junior high, and they have had some of the best athletes in the Western Divisionals the last few years.”
Before this season, Thompson offered Fryberger some advice.
“I told her ‘every year is different, and you have to take advantage of your time,’” Thompson said. “Carlee took advantage of her position this season to be successful, and she is the cream of the crop.”
Thompson attributed Fryberger’s excelled performance to her maturity.
“I thought she did a great job recovering from the first day of hurdles,” Thompson said. “At state, the times for the hurdles and sprinters are not as fast on the second day. There aren’t as many (state records) broken in the finals, as they are done in the trials.”
Fryberger captured the state title in the 100 with a personal record of 12.70 and won a second state title in the 100 hurdles with a time of 15.81. She finished third in the 200 with another personal record time of 26.54.
Fryberger wasn’t the only Viking that excelled on what would be a banner day for the Vikings’ track and field program.
Vikings’ distance runner Wills Degrandpe was another Charlo runner, along with Fryberger, that would finish at the top of the podium of the MHSA Class C meet May 17-18 at the Laurel Sports Complex at Laurel High School.
Degrandpe finished with a state-winning time in the 1,600-meter of 4:39.28, capturing the state title.
Degrandpe’s track times were special for Charlo because they had not had a good distance runner since Skyler Perry, in 2001, captured gold for Charlo.
Vikings turn in a banner year
Degrandpre and Fryberger weren’t the only members of the Charlo boys and girls track teams that turned in great performances, and both sides excelled on Montana’s biggest stage.
The Lady Vikings, who finished second as a team, scoring a cumulative team total of 48, behind their Class C foe Seeley Swan, now a track and field dynasty, who scored 90 points.
“The girl’s track team has been the most consistent group in the last couple of years, and it came down to a numbers game with our boys,” Thompson said. “We were able to win Districts with the smallest group of boys, and we were still able to score as many points. This is one of the most fun groups in a long time I’ve gotten to work with.”
Tyrah Hammond, who overcame a career’s worth of knee injuries, finished tenth in the 100, recording a time of 13.29, and in ninth place in the 400 with a time of 1:02.42. Teammate Allie Delaney recorded a time of 1:04.22 in the 400 to finish in 14th place.
Aryal Love recorded a 21st-place time of 15:10.12 in the 3,200.
Kaitlin Cox and Allie Delaney finished seventh and eight in the 100 hurdles. Cox recorded a time of 17.02, and Delaney finished eighth with a time of 17.07.
Delaney also finished fifth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 48.53.
The Lady Vikes’ relay team consisting of Cox, Fryberger, Hammond and Allie Delaney recorded a time of 4:11.62 in the 4X400 relay to finish in third place.
The relay team in the 4X100 finished in third place with a time of 51.20.
Charlo had three girls finish in the top in the pole vault competition.
Hammond finished seventh, clearing a height of 8-06.00. Destiny Manuel finished 16th with a height of 7-06.00 and Cox finished 18th clearing 7-06.00.
Cox excels in the triple jump
Lady Vikings jumper Kaitlin Cox all season was active on the podium, and the senior finished her career strong.
Cox cleared a distance of 16-01.25 to finish seventh in the long jump, and placed second in the triple jump with a range of 35-02.50.
Degrandpre leads boys in top finishes
Charlo High School’s Wills Degrandpre set a personal record in the 3,200 meters run at the MHSA Class state to place third.
Degrandpre’s time of 10:13.15 was good enough to finish third, and there were several other performances from the boys team that were exemplary.
Charlo’s Landers Smith finished ninth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.31.
Smith, along with football teammate Garett Vaughan, competed in the 300 hurdles. Smith set a personal record of 41.33, finishing fourth.
Garett Vaughan finished 14th with a time of 43.60 seconds.
Isaiah Allik, Vaughn, Degrandpre and Smith placed eighth in the 4X100 with a time of 46.21.
The Vikings 4X400 placed tenth with a time of 3:41.49.
Nick Daugherty placed 14th in the javelin with a throw of 137-03.
Garett Vaughan finished 10th in the pole vault with a height of 11-00.00.
The season ended well for the senior-laden Vikings team.
“This was an exceptional group of seniors that we have,” Thompson said. “Our success at Charlo had to do with them over the last four years, and they have put the team first in most cases.”
Charlo, who is in the process of developing their track, got help from the Ronan High School coaching staff and their team to conduct several practices during the season.
“We are very appreciative to Ronan,” Thompson said. “They allowed us to come out at night to work on track relays and distance. It was great for the opportunity to work with them (this year).”