Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Best of The Best

So, the high school track season has come and gone; and, already it seems like so long ago since last weekend and the State Meets in Bozeman and Helena. Please permit me one last look back at the season and give you my picks for the performers of the year on the boys and girls sides.

Let me start with the girls; and, the athlete who I think may have been the overall trackster of the year. She didn't have an undefeated season, and didn't win all entered events at State. And, I'm slightly biased since I watched this young lady since she was a wee infant and I've known her family for over 15 years. But, I am hard pressed to identify anyone else in the state who combined her range of events and level of performances.

Alexa Aragon, a mere sophomore, was among the top 8 performers in all of the state and placed in the AA state meet at 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters and the pole vault. Her performances included 400 @ 58.70 (8th on yearly list), 2:15.6 @ 800 (2nd), 5:02.0 @ 1,600 (1st), 11:20.6 @ 3,200 (3rd) and 10' 6" @ PV (tie for 3rd). She won state titles at 800 and 1,600 meters, and placed 2nd in the 3,200, 3rd in the pole vault and 5th in the 400. Other than the 400, her marks at the state meet were seasonal bests.. I'm not sure that I can ever recall anyone who placed at state in all the flat track events above 200 meters. Then, what an unusual combination of adding the pole vault. A distance running pole vaulter? What the heck?!?!?!?!?

Honorable Mentions - Kourtney Danreuther, Big Sandy. Top 10 on the seasonal lists @ 200, 400, 800 (1st on list @ 2:12.0) and 300 Hurdles (1st on list @ 45.1). State titles @ 300H, Long Jump, 200 and 800; and, a 2nd place at 400.

Heather Haug, Livingston - state championships at 800, 1,600 and 3,200.

Whitney Henderson, Corvallis - state championships at 100, 200, and 400.

Performances of the year - Caitlan Stone's 5:04.7 and 10:53.4 races at the Western B Divisionals in Missoula. All alone, solo efforts (she lapped the entire field in the 3,200) on days when the track temperatures were in the '90's.

On the Boys side, I have to go with the distances again. And, again, it's a competitor from the East side of the divide. This runner has shown remarkable racing awareness in such a young athlete. At the State meet he won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meter titles to add to the XC championship that he won this fall.

Not only did Patrick Casey, a graduating senior, win 3 events, he led the seasonal lists at 800 and 1,600 and was 2nd on the 3,200 list. And, he ran in the low 50 second range in the 400 at the Eastern A Divisional meet. And, to my knowledge, at 800 meters and above, he was undefeated this year, including cross-country. Having had the chance to watch the Western A runners this season, I was surprised by the margin of victories that Patrick had over runners such as Whitefish's Drew Coco and Logan Torgison of Polson.

Honorable Mentions - Alex Brekke of Bozeman. 2nd on the 1,600 seasonal list and 1st @ 3,200, he won both at the state track meet to add to his spectacular AA XC crown. If he had added the 800 to his list, he would have been a dead heat with Patrick.

Josh Pelczar, Billings West. On the seasonal lists for the 100, 200, 400, he won the 400 and the 200 at State and was 2nd in a very strong AA 100 meters.

Performances of the Year: Brian Schenavar, Thompson Falls, 14-9 1/2 inch pole vault at state. Indoors, likely for the first time ever, he set what I believe was the only class record in the state this year.

Darby's Paul Abrahamsen's 58 second last lap to win the 3,200 meters at State B. Very few HS athletes from Montana can show those kinds of wheels on the last lap of a 3,200 meters, even if it was coming off a relative slow pace.

Well, that's my take on the season. Let me know if you agree or if you think others are worthy of mention.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Who Takes Home The Hardware

Boys and Girls from Big Schools and Small. Coming from the North, South, East and West. Sprinter and Runners, Jumpers and Throwers. The Best of The Best have made it through Divisionals and are making the trek to Helena and Bozeman to see who will come out on top at the Montana High School Track and Field Championships.

All four of the meets (AA and C in Helena - A and B in Bozeman) will be be "action-packed" and full of drama, highs, lows and everything in between. Undoubtedly there will be exceptional performances by a host of athletes. But, it's always fun to predict what will happen. And, so, let me take a minute to add my prognostications to the list.

I think that there are a handful of events and athletes who have the potential to rise up and leave us breathless.

My first choice is the girls AA 800 and 1600 meter events. In both events we have Keli Dennehy of Butte, Alexa Aragon of Billings Senior and Elizabeth Spartas of Bozeman. In the 800 add Nicole Rietz of Billings West, Auriele Fain of Billings Senior and Chantelle Grey of Missoula Sentinel. In the 1600, throw in Heather Fraley of Kalispell Glacier and Heidi Turner of Bozeman.

If we get the perfect storm of cool, calm weather with athletes all peaking at the right time and what a sight it could be. Imagine 5 to 6 girls coming down the home stretch of each race running sub-2:15 in the 800 and sub-5:10 in the mile. State record on the line in the 800 and sub-5:00 in the mile? That would be so cool. To me, these have the potential to be the races of the weekend. I'm going to go out on the limb and pick Aragon to get both wins.

But, right behind them could be the boys A 800, 1600 and 3200. The field may not be quite as deep; but, the top end quality could be spectacular. The trio of Patrick Casey (Laurel), Drew Coco (Whitefish) and Logan Torgison (Polson) could have races that could closely resemble boxing matches with the winner being the last one standing.

They are all tough, gutsy runners who all have great racing instincts at their young ages. And they are all fast. Sub-2:00, low to sub-4:20's and around 9:40. Casey has been undefeated in Cross Country and Track this year, Coco seems to have reached another level this track season, and Torgison takes his scrappy, wrestling persona onto the track and keeps on punching away until he breaks the opposition. If the world was fair, I would like to see all three races be fast and close, with each walking away with a win. But, the world ain't fair and I think that they'll all be fast and close and I predict Torgi takes the 800 and Casey gets the 1,600 and 3,200. (And will Casey add the 400 (he ran 51.67 at Divisionals) to the mix to try to help his team win the state title?)

Now, who will post the big individual performances:

Caitlan Stone of Seeley Swan goes sub-5:00 in the 1,600 and sub-10:45 in the 3,200.

Brian Schenevar of Thompson Falls gets a new Class B record in the pole vault and clears 15'.

Kourtney Danreuther of Big Sandy has THE performance of all the meets and breaks Julie Browns 35 year old 800 meter record and runs sub-2:10.

Depending on what events she decides to run, Alexa Aragon could have a monster weekend. In adition to my predictions about her winning the 800 and 1600, she is also a potential top 3 placer (possibly winning) in the 3,200, has qualified in the 400 with a 58+, and has one of the top girls pole vaults.

Can Tyzer Cady of Colstrip pull off a 3-win weekend (100, 200, 400) after winning all 3 at Divisionals. More importantly, can he get the 100 record of 10.74?

Can any boys pop off a 200' javelin throw? Aaron Palmer of Troy has been close a couple of times.

Will the Billings West girls 4 X 100 team put it all together to get a state record in the short relay?

Can Harrison's super frosh Shannon Young win the 3 longest races?

Will Bozeman's Alex Brekke overcome the great season that Sentinel's Robbie Brooks is having and add the 1600 and 3200 wins to go with his shocking win at State XC last fall?

Can Dalton Sybrant of Covallis set a new B mark in the discus and overcome the disappointment of having a no mark in the Shot Put?

It should be a great weekend. If you can make it to either of the meets, I encourage you to attend at least some of the events and see the best that our fine state has to offer in youth athletics.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.


Monday, May 12, 2008

Craig K Does Canada

Craig Kenworthy ran the Mississauga Marathon in Mississauga, Ontario on May 11th. He finished 29th overall (1387 total finishers) and 7th in the 45-49 age group with a stellar 3:05:42 performance.

Congratulations to Craig.


Girls, Girls, Girls

Sure, we all know and love that line as a song by Motley Crew. But, last Saturday, it was the theme on the streets of Billings as the 27th Women's Run took place with a record field of 6,441 women.

Sarah Graves (Ballantine)(former member of MSU-Billings XC team and 52nd women @ April's Boston Marathon) led the field of 2,001 5-miles with a time of @ 31:09. 47-year old Karen Sanford Gall (Billings) finished 2nd @ 32:56 (Karen was a 4-time Oly Trials Marathon Qualifier) and Nicole Lair (Billings) rounded out the top 3 @ 33:25. [Of note, the 8th place finisher (34:33) was Lisa Rainsberger (nee Weidenbach). Rainsberger was the pasta night speaker. For those of you who recall, Rainsberger finished in the dreaded 4th place slot at two consecutive Oly Trial Marathons.]

Meanwhile, the 4,440 2-mile finishers were led by master's runner Kathie Perrins (41) of Columbus in 12:22. Running 12:25 for second place was 2004 Oly Trials Maratoner, 48-year old Kathy Aragon. And, right on Kathy's heels was her 8th grade daughter Danielle (13) in 12:49. Next year, Dani will join her sister Alexa as part of the power house girls distance squad at Billings Senior.

But, let's set the race details aside for a minute. 6,441 runners and walkers. Think about that number. That's more women in one event than reside in most towns in the state. And, once the numbers are in, it will rank as one of the top 10, if not the top 5, women only running events in the United States. In fact, the 2-mile alone will likely be in the top 10.

It's a great testimony to the commitment of the women's run board of directors and the overall Billings community. And, not only is it a great running event and a celebration of women's health, the event gives back thousands of dollars every year to the community. The provide funds to such causes as providing mammograms for under-priveledged women, women's programs at the Billings YWCA, funds to the Yellowstone Rim Runners, and scholarships to female runners on the MSU-B and Rocky Mountain College XC squads. All in all, there's lots of good connected to this event.

For those women of you out there who haven't experienced the event before, I encourage you to put it on your calendar for next year.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Come On Up To Plains Day

For anyone looking for a return to the old days and wanting to get in a race without all the crowds and hoopla of Governor's Cup, come on up to Plains on June 7th.

35th Annual Plains Day

“Surfin’ in the Rockies”
5K Fun Run

Saturday, June 7, 2008
9:00 a.m.
(Registration opens @ 8:00 a.m.)

Start and Finish @ Plains High School
$15 includes t-shirt and refreshments

For More Information Call Lisa @ 826-7300 or
Tony @ 826-6108
Email @


Annual Female Migration On The Yellowstone

This Saturday will see the annual running of the Montana Women's Run 5-mile and 2-mile runs. I've had the honor of being able to help with this race over the last 15 years; and, I have to say, it is a great event.

It's a joyous celebration of women involving mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, sisters and friends. Many families schedule reunions around this Mother's Day weekend event; and, I have seen women representing multiple generations of a family participating. Whether they walk, jog or run, it's a great demonstration of women's fitness.

With an 8-week getting started clinic, kid's focused events and the main day events, it's an event that has been embraced by the community. And, with around 6,000 competitors, it's turned into one of the largest women only events in the U.S.

I have to tell you, when the 2-mile and 5-mile races merge at about a mile, seeing downtown Billings filled with the color of the race t-shirts is a site to behold.

So for all those making the trip to Yellowstone County this weekend, good luck and enjoy. Remember to run happy and take pride in your performance.


Montana Bloomies

Well, it turns out that the Bloomsday results site isn't very friendly when you want to seach for names by state, city or any general category other and first or last name. But, was able to find the top 25 Montanans. They are:

Top 25 Finishers from Montana

1. Jimmy Grant, 29, of Missoula, MT 0:39:50
2. Jason A Walker, 30, of Missoula, MT 0:40:44
3. Brandon Fuller, 28, of Missoula, MT 0:41:03
4. Moses J Leavens, 23, of Great Falls, MT 0:43:21
5. Brad Koster, 23, of Helena, MT 0:45:23
6. Ted Burnham, 38, of Kalispell, MT 0:45:29
7. Jesse Q Carnes, 22, of Missoula, MT 0:46:27
8. Tom Clary, 57, of Kalispell, MT 0:46:29
9. Donald P Rosenleaf, 34, of Butte, MT 0:46:31
10. Megan Lerch, 24, of Missoula, MT 0:46:55
11. Kelly R Rice, 29, of Missoula, MT 0:46:55
12. Kenneth B Ellis, 52, of Missoula, MT 0:47:12
13. Richard Menicke, 47, of Whitefish, MT 0:47:33
14. Russ Gates, 29, of Helena, MT 0:47:51
15. Mary K Thane, 44, of Missoula, MT 0:48:19
16. Steve Gideon, 44, of Hamilton, MT 0:48:41
17. Thomas Everett, 18, of Missoula, MT 0:48:57
18. Brian Petty, 28, of Missoula, MT 0:49:08
19. Anders J Sr Brooker, 27, of Missoula, MT 0:49:11
20. Patrick J Mcclellan, 28, of Missoula, MT 0:49:11
21. Gary L Caton, 49, of Bozeman, MT 0:49:22
22. Dean M Lipp, 47, of Missoula, MT 0:49:31
23. Joshua C Hamilton, 16, of Missoula, MT 0:49:42
24. Kirk Lentz, 40, of Livingston, MT 0:49:45
25. Joseph A Joy, 24, of Missoula, MT 0:49:47

If you want to search for someone by name, go to the results page of the Bloomsday sight @


Monday, May 05, 2008

Watch Lyle Weese @ Cardinal Invitational

Check out this link to watch Lyle's win in his section of the steeplechase at the Peyton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford yesterday. Link at

With his 8:38.19 time, he made the B standard for the Olympic Trials steeplechase.

Congrats to Lyle


The New Queen???

Last night at the Peyton Jordan Cardinal Invitational at Stanford University, Shalane Flanagan had a spectacular debut at 10,000 meters. Running strong and fast right from the gun, Flanagan took over 17.5 seconds off Deena Kastor's American Record with a first place finish of 30:34.49 (that's 4:55 pace). Shalane now also has the outdoor 5,000 (14:44.80) and indoor 3,000 meter (8:33.25) records. In addition, she dominated the field in winning the USATF Cross Country Championships in February.

I know that Deena is the bronze medalist from the 2004 Olympics, won the Olympic Trials Marathon a couple of weeks ago, and soundly defeated Flanagan at the 2007 Cross Country Champs. But, Shalane seems to have taken another step in her fitness and racing abilities. She may not the queen bee quite yet; but, Deena may have to consider sharing the throne.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Stallion Masters

No, that's not the title of some wild porn movie starring Kenworthy and Jarmilla (except in CK's midnight dreams !!!!) Rather, it's in reference to the great performance of some of our very own old guys at the Big Sur Marathon Relay last weekend (4/27/08).

The Los Cincos Stalliones team of Bozeman was made up of Montana master athletes Craig Kenworthy, Mark Slater, Dan Guggenheim, Harry Johnson and John Zombro. Running in warm and breezy conditions on what is considered on of the more challenging road marathons in the US, they turned in a stellar time of 2:43:57.

This placed them 4th overall. Unfortunately, the masters division was super loaded this year and they ended up as 3rd masters team. As a result, they got a podium finish and brought home some hardware.

Congrats to the 5 wild stallions of Montana.