Districts and Divisionals are done; and, all that is left of the 2009 High School Track season are the carnivals known as the state meets. These meets are always filled with great performances, fantastic back stories, upsets, anguish, joy, celebration and two great days of all-track, all-the-time.
A couple of my picks for events and individuals to watch.
For me - the races of the weekend are going to come in the girls AA 800 and 1,600. In the 800, Kelli Dennehy of Butte, Dani and Alexa Aragon of Billings Senior and Nicole Reitz of Billings West have been battling away all year. They've had multiple races where they have finished within a second or two of each other; and, I don't see any let up when all the marbles are on the table.
Then, on to the 1,600. REplace Reitz with Heidi Turner and you have the same set up. This group has run under 5:10 on a couple of occasions. At Divsionals last weekend, less than 1/2 second separated Dennehy and the Aragons from 1st to 3rd; and, Turner was only 3 seconds back of this group.
These girls have all been running very well all year (going all the way back to cross country); and, they seem to be staying sharp right to the end of the track season. Aside from the question of who will come out as champion, two other questions are connected.
First - will we see a state record in either of these two events (800 = 2:11.10 & 1,600 = 4:55.18)? If one of these girls decides to put it all on the line for one of the events, anything is possible.
Second - can Dennehy pull off a tri-fecta (800, 1,600 and 3,200). It will be tough to pull out wins in all 3; but, it would cap an amazing season if she could run the tables.
Now on to some individuals - Can Chris Wilson of CMR get new state records and state bests in the 100 and 200 meter runs. For state records (which are only recognized from races at the state meet) he'll be chasing times of 10.74 and 21.51. He'll be chasing state bests (which can be set at meets outside of the state championships) of 10.48 and 21.37 - both of which Wilson set last weekend at the Divisional Meet in Great Falls.
Now, I've never been one to take stock in fast 100 and 200 meter times from early season meets. Inexperiences timers, wind, hand time, etc. Just too many variables that affect the times. But, Wilson has run some super fast times at some meets using fully auto timing; and, he has been running fast, fast, fast. If he has a good weekend, he could bring the times in both of these events to a whole new level.
Can Drew Coco of Whitefish finish off a stellar season. To go along with his state XC championships can he pull off multiple wins this coming weekend? Not sure about what he'll run; but, he is qualified in the 800, 1600, 3200 and 4x400 relay. He's at or near the top of the yearly list in each event; and, he's shown himself to be a tough competitor. Going undefeated at state meets would be a heck of a way to finish off your senior season.
And, finally - will Class B athletes be able to pull off the best performances of the year in the boys and girls javelins? I've been amazed this year to see that these small school performers throw the javlin as far, or farther, than athletes from the big schools. Will Aaron Palmer of Troy pull out another 200+ throw? Can Ashley Vandolah (Choteau) or Rheanna Padden (Thompson Falls) approach 140 for the girls?
For those of you that are able to make the meets this coming weekend - you have lots of great track coming up. For those that can't be there, check the newspapers and see if your favorites took the gold.
I'll do some follow ups of my performances of the meets and let you know who I think deserves to be considered the best of the best.
The Muddy Buzzard