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Superior Bobcats claim 14C track titles

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | May 17, 2023 12:00 AM

Two massive understatements from the District 14C track and field championships in Missoula this past weekend: The Superior Bobcats were in control, and Isabella Pereira had a good couple of days.

The Bobcats rolled over the competition in the women’s 14C team race, piling up 211 team points to nearly double the 107 points put together by the Charlo Lady Vikings. And on the men’s side of the event, the Cats had just enough to edge Charlo for the men’s team title, 165-163.

Pereira, meanwhile, was entered in five events and won all five of them to lead the Lady Bobcats. The senior standout won the women’s 100 meter sprint, the 200 meter sprint, was first in the pole vault competition, first in the triple jump and ran a leg on Superior’s winning 4X100 meter relay team.

Also having an outstanding meet for the 14C women was Noxon senior Emily Brown. After finishing second to Pereira by .09 seconds in the 200 meter sprint, Brown finished first in the 400, 800 and 1600 meter runs. She also won the javelin throw, helping the Lady Devils finish third overall in the team standings with 68 points.

St. Regis’ girls also had a strong showing in the District showcase, thanks to the efforts of freshman Jamie Kearbey, who won the long jump with a leap of 15 feet, eight inches, part of a surprisingly strong fourth-place team finish for the Lady Tigers. Kearbey added a second place finish in the 100 meter sprint for St. Regis.

Superior’s men's team, meanwhile, rode strong performances by juniors Jaxson Green and Lucas Kovalsky, along with solid depth in the form of senior Decker Milender as they nosed out Charlo for the 14C team title.

The top competitors in each event this past weekend now move on to the Class C Divisional championships this Friday and Saturday, also at Missoula’s first-class facility on the campus of Big Sky High School.

The Cats' depth was instrumental in offsetting the dominance by Charlo runners in the sprints, middle distance and long distance events.

Charlo senior Keaton Piedalue won the 100, 200 and 400 meter sprints. Teammates Hayden Hollow (800 meters) and Hayden Smith (1600 and 3200 meter distance runs) added to the Vikings haul in the running events.

Along the way, Superior used it’s deep roster to collect a host of second and third place finishes as they held off Charlo for the team championship.

Kovalsky, who had already qualified for the upcoming State championships at the end of this month, won the pole vault with a vault of 12-06. Milender cleared the same height but finished second on the basis of fewer attempts to clear the winning height. Kovalsky, using a new pole supplied by his vaulting coach, had cleared a school record 13-03 the week before.

Milender added third place finishes in the 100 meters and 400 meters events. He is headed to Colorado State University-Pueblo this fall on a wrestling scholarship after winning the Class C state wrestling championship at 126 pounds this winter.

Hot Springs continued its season-long strength in the hurdle events, with David Chapman coming home first in the 110 meter hurdles and second in the men’s 300 meter hurdles event. Savage Heat junior Quincy Styles-Depoe won the 300 meter hurdle event with a time of 45.87, while Chapman posted a time of 47.76 in his second place effort.

Superior’s boys swept the relay events, beating Charlo in both the 4X100 and 4X400 relays.

Green, a junior, won the shot put for the Bobcats with a throw of 41-08.50, almost two feet further than runner up Jacob Tomlin of Charlo. Superior’s Jason Merrill was third with a personal best put of 37-01.

Green added a second place finish in the men’s discus, behind the winning throw of Hot Springs sophomore Weston Slonaker who heaved the plate a personal best 123-10. Merrill was fourth with a personal best toss of 104-05.

Alberton sophomore Colton Baughman was a surprise winner in the men’s javelin when he unleashed a throw of 145-08, a new personal record. His throw was well ahead of second place Tucker Love of Charlo, who threw the spear 140-04. Styles-Depoe was third with a personal best throw of 136-10.

Noxon sophomore Ricky Williams was a double event winner, taking home first in the long jump with a leap of 19-02.50. He also won the triple jump, hopping, skipping and jumping 40-11.

Williams sustained a minor ankle injury during the meet and was forced to withdraw from the high jump competition, which was won by Superior eighth-grader Landon Richards, who cleared 5-06. Williams was well above that height on his final attempts before withdrawing, but each time his trailing foot clipped the bar.

Richards was third in the triple jump with a leap of 35-01. Teammate Tritzen Avila was second in the triple jump. Avila also finished second in the 100 and 200 meter sprints for Superior.

The women’s competition became a defacto tug of war between Pereira and Brown. Both standouts figure to be major factors in this weekend’s Western Divisional Championships. Pereira is heading to Whitworth College in Spokane next year on a track scholarship to run the 100 meters.

Brown continued her late season surge as she piled up four more first place titles in Missoula.

Superior also got good points from junior Alysha Ryan, who won the 100 meter hurdles, the 300 meter hurdles and was second in the 3200 meter distance event. She also ran a leg on Superior’s winning 4X100 relay team and was the anchor on the Lady Cats second place 4X400 meter team.

The Lady Cats swept the top two places in the women’s shot put, with sophomore Eddy Betts winning the event with a throw of 31-10.76. Teammate Makenzie Reum was second with a personal best throw of 28-09, while St. Regis junior Brooke Filek was fourth at 27-06.50. Alberton ‘s Georgia Fredette finished fifth.

Another underclassman, Hot Springs freshman Kara Christensen, was a big point getter for the Lady Savage Heat, finishing second in the discus behind Charlo’s Aida Cote. Christensen was fourth in the javelin, just behind third place thrower Payton Milender of Superior. Christensen also finished second in the 100 and 300 meter hurdle events.

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Superior senior sprinter Isabella Pereria leads the pack across the finish line on her way to winning the women's 100 meter sprint Saturday at the District 14C track and field Championships in Missoula. St. Regis freshman Jamie Dearbey (yellow jersey) was second. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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Superior's Isabella Pereira clears the bar on her way to first place in the women's pole vault competition at Saturday District 14C championship meet in Missoula. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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St. Regis freshman Conner Lulis watches as his javelin heads down field during Saturday's 14C Championships in Missoula. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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Superior senior Decker Milender soars way above the pole vault bar during the 14C District championships in Missoula this past weekend. Milendeer was second to teammate Lucas Kovalsky. (Kami Milender photo)

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Superior eighth grader Turner Milendere (left) hands off to his brother Decker during the Bobcats winning 14C 4X100 relay race Saturday in Missoula. (Kami Milender photo)