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Lady Hawks 3rd at divisional track meet

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | May 24, 2023 12:00 AM

So far, no one has figured out how to stop the Bigfork machine in Montana High School Class B track and field.

The Vikings (men) and the Valkyries (women) have now moved through the district and divisional track battles carrying off a pair of team titles for each gender, with the state B-C championships this weekend in Laurel their last challenge of the year.

The Valkyries won the women’s team title by amassing 163 points to more than double the total posted by runner up Loyola-Sacred Heart (Missoula), which had 81.

Thompson Falls women finished third in Divisional competition with 73 points, while Sanders County’s other Class B school, Plains, finished seventh.

In the men’s competition, the Vikings piled up 122 points to narrowly edge out Loyola for the team title 122-119. Florence-Carlton was right behind the two leaders in third place with 112 points.

Plains finished sixth, while Thompson Falls came in tenth.

Thompson Falls track coach Trenna Ferris was pleased with her team's efforts in Missoula.

"We had a fantastic Divisional Track meet this weekend," Ferris said. "The weather was great, the competition was tough and our athletes came to compete. I can't say enough about the girl's team. The power of five girls bringing home a third place trophy with all of them contributing. It was a combined effort and we couldn't be more proud of them."

The Blue Hawks had six athletes qualify for state, while the Lady Hawks had five.

Thompson Falls’ third place team showing in the women’s competition was due in large part to the running talents of senior Ellie Baxter, who is headed to Carroll College this Fall on a basketball scholarship.

Baxter continued her domination of the middle and long distance running events, bringing home first place medals in the 800 meter run, 1600 meter run and the grueling 3200 meter event. Baxter also ran the anchor leg on the Lady Hawks 4X400 meter relay team.

The star of the meet, however, was Loyola junior Isabella Berry, who swept the sprint events, winning the 100 and 200 meter races, and capturing first in both hurdle events (100 meter and 300 meter).

Thompson Falls senior Chesney Lowe was also a large team point contributor, finishing second in the pole vault, third in the javelin and fourth in the long jump for the Lady Hawks.

Plains sophomore Alexis Deming, meanwhile, continued her season-long battle with Bigfork senior Scout Nadeau in the weight events, with Deming winning the discus for the Trotters, then adding a third place medal in the shot put.

Nadeau won the shot put and was second in the discus. The two are expected to re-stage their season-long battle this weekend in Laurel. Trotters freshman Kali Tuma continued her promising season with a third place showing in the 100 meter hurdles and fourth place in the 300 meter hurdles.

Plains junior Peyton Wasson also had a good meet, placing fourth in the 800 meter run and fifth at 1600.

Thompson Falls junior Faith Palmer aided the Lady Hawks' cause with a second place finish in the 3200 meter and third in the 1600 meter run.

In the end Bigfork’s depth was the key for their run-away team title win as multiple Valkyries recorded top five finishes, although Nadeau’s win in the shot put event was their only outright individual title.

Lady Hawks’ freshman Katelyn Subatch and teammate Trinity Riffle also had strong meets.

In the boys B Divisional competition, Bigfork’s men also relied heavily on overall depth to squeak out the team win over Loyola.

Sanders County men were led by Plains senior Mason Elliot, who was fourth in the 400 meter run, second in the 300 meter hurdles and third in the 110 meter hurdles.

Junior long distance runner Cael Thilmony was the top running event finisher for the Blue Hawks, coming across the finish line fourth in the 3200 meter run. T Falls sophomore Braedon Ferris had a personal best throw of 130-01, good for fourth place in the discus, while senior Breck Ferris took sixth in the long jump, just ahead of teammate Nick Tessier, who was seventh.

The Class B-C State Championships are this Friday and Saturday at Laurel High School.

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Thompson Falls senior Ellie Baxter leads the 800 meter run field on her way to a first-place finish at the Western Divisional meet this past weekend in Missoula. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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Plains sophomore Alexis Deming on the medal stand after placing third in the shot put event during this past weekend's Western Divisional track meet in Missoula. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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Thompson Falls senior Breck Ferris (Blue and gold jersey) runs the anchor leg of the Blue Hawks 4X100 relay team which finished fourth at this past weekend's Western Divisional track and field meet in Missoula. (Chuck Bandel/VP-MI)

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