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Locals post strong results at 7B District meet

by CHUCK BANDEL
Valley Press | May 15, 2024 12:00 AM

How important is depth in team sports?

Ask the Lincoln County High School (Eureka) boys and girls track and field teams, who swept the team titles at the Western 7B District postseason meet this past Saturday in Libby.

The Lions boys won three individual titles out of 15 up for grabs, and added a victory in one of the two relay races as they nipped runner up Superior 127-122.

The Lady Lions, meanwhile, also had three individual event title winners and first place finishes in both relay events to hold off Superior’s Lady Bobcats, 143-138 for the women’s team title.

Not to diminish in any way the number of multiple event winners for several teams, but depth and number of participants was the difference in the team chase at Libby.

In fact, Superior’s girls came within five points of the District title thanks in a big way to the winning ways of junior Braelynn Mangold, who won two events to go with three first place showings by teammate Mayrisa Swope, a sophomore. Both Lady Cats were also top five places in other events as Superior made a serious run at the women’s title.

Plains’ girls placed third in the team standings, thanks to dual wins by junior Alexis Demming, who easily outdistanced all comers in the discus and shot put events.

But the queen of individual titles Saturday was Thompson Falls junior Trinity Riffle, who swept the sprints, winning both the 100 and 200 meters events, and added the high jump crown to her tournament haul.

Riffle’s effort helped T Falls place fifth in the team standings with 63 points. Plains’ Trotters had 77 points (good for third) and Troy was fourth with 75.

In the boys competition, T Falls was third with 103 points, Plains was a close fourth (95) and Troy was fifth with 33.

St. Ignatius placed sixth in both team standings.

Superior’s Trizten Avila won the men’s 100 meter sprint, took second in the 200 meter event, and won the triple jump title for the Bobcats. Avila also ran anchor legs on the men’s winning 4X100 meter relay team and on the second place 4X400 meter squad.

The Bobcats also got a good day’s work from senior Lucas Kovalsky, who as expected won the pole vault competition, clearing 12-6. He also placed fifth in the 100 meter sprint, and third in the long jump. Kovalsky completed his medal harvest when he ran a leg on the Bobcats second place 4X400 relay.

Meanwhile, T Falls senior Cael Thilmony broke through to the win column with a victory in the grueling 3200 meter run, out-dueling Plains junior Mike Reistroffer, who placed second with a time of 11:27.32. Thilmony’s event winning time was 11:04.75.

Plains also got a fifth place finish from sophomore Kalem Ercanbrack in the 3200, and a seventh place from sophomore Asher Seymour, as the Horsemen showed off their talented youth.

Troy’s Nolan Morris, another standout sophomore in the competition, won the 1600 meter run with a time of 4:52.78. Thilmony placed third with a time of 4:56.90. Reistroffer was fourth in the 1600 meter run and Ercanbrack was seventh. T Falls senior Blake Schusterman finished tenth.

Another youngster turning heads at the meet for Plains was freshman Matthew Thurston, who won the 110 meter hurdles, clearing the 39” obstacles and placing first with a time of 19.08, a new personal best. Thurston added a fifth place showing in the 300 meter hurdles, while teammates Cody West (a freshman) took second and Cooper Meredith (also a freshman) was third. Superior’s George Hanson finished sixth in the 300 hurdles.

Superior also got a team total boost from senior Jaxson Green, who won the shot put title with a throw of 45-02, edging out runner up Jacob Gromley (Troy). Green’s Bobcat teammate Jason Merrill was third in the shot put with a toss of 39-9.

T Falls throwers James Schmidt (38-8, fifth) and Braedon Ferris (38-6, sixth) added to the Blue Hawks depth display in the event, as Gabe Hutton was eighth and Zack Ames finished ninth. Plains freshman Gabe Tatum was tenth in the shot put.

Ferris moved over to the discus event and captured first place with a throw of 144-10. Ames placed fourth (119-1). Plains junior Darren Standeford was sixth and teammate Brenden Vanderwall was seventh. Merrill placed eighth for Superior, just ahead of Green, who came in ninth.

Lincoln County got one of its few individual titles in the javelin, which was won by junior Jesse Day with a throw of 147-1. T Falls’ Ian Myers was second (140-3)

A pair of Superior javelin throwers, Wathen Reese and Merrill finished fourth and fifth respectively, while Plains got a sixth place showing from Joseph Martin, seventh from Vanderwall and eighth from Greg Tatum.

Superior freshman Landon Richards won the high jump event with a leap of 6-feet even, while Myers was seventh. Plains’ Cooper placed fifth in the high jump.

Superior’s youthful depth was also on display, as freshman Gannon Quinlan was fifth in the pole vault, just ahead of sophomore teammate George Hanson, who placed sixth. Quinlan also placed ninth in the 100 meter sprint

Richards added a fourth place finish in the triple jump and was sixth in the long jump for the Bobcats. Plains’ Standeford also had a third place finish in the 400 meter run, while Plains senior Zander Czifro was fifth. Myers (T Falls) placed seventh. Plains’ Martin was fourth in the 800 meters, just ahead of Superior senior Micah Acker

In the women’s individual competition, Plains runner Payton Wasson captured the 800 meter event with a time of 2:28.64, just one 100th of a second faster than Superior’s Mangold. T Falls’ Peighton Kenny placed fifth.

The Lady Hawks (Superior) also got a pair of wins from senior distance standout Faith Palmer, who won the 1600 meter run with a time of 5:59.41. Wasson was second in the 1600 (6:01.33), and T Falls freshman Evy Edwards was fourth (6:36.80).

Palmer added the 3200 meter run to her title haul, winning the event with a time of 13:27.60, well ahead of runner up Jaylee Meyers from Troy. Edwards was fourth for the Lady Hawks.

Lincoln’s Haidym Guckenberg won both of the women’s hurdles events, taking first in the 100 meter event (16.91) and taking top honors in the 300 meter run 51:16. Plains sophomore Kali Tuma was second in both hurdles events. Superior got a third place finish from Ava White in the 100 meter hurdles and a fourth place from Alysha Ryan, who was third in the 300 meter hurdles. Plains sophomore Katelyn Subatch was fourth in the 300, while teammate Ashley Ferlan placed fifth. Ferlan also finished sixth in the 100 meter hurdles.

Demming’s victory in the shot put headed off a 2-3-4 finish in the event by Superior throwers. Juliette Evans was second, Makenzie Reum took third, and Eddy Betts was fourth for the Lady Cats.

Evans and Betts also finished 2-3 in the discus throw, which was also won by Demming. Plains discus throwers Ferland and Mackenzie Tulloch were 5-6 in the discus, while Thompson Falls junior Serenity Barnes placed eighth.

Subatch also had a second place finish in the women’s high jump (4-8).

In the women’s long jump, T Falls freshman Aubrey Baxter was fourth, while teammate Addyson Deal was sixth. Baxter also had a second place finish in the triple jump (30-10), while Subatch placed sixth.

The district winners and top four placers move on in the postseason chase to this coming weekend’s Western Division meet at Missoula County Public Stadium.