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Vikings flex muscles at Seeley-Swan Invite, finish 4th

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MISSOULA — A strong Charlo Viking team got a little stronger last weekend

Joining the team for the first time this season, Viking senior Cody Nitschke finished in third in the 110-meter hurdles, fifth in the 300-meters hurdles and ran a leg on the first-place 400-meter relay team to help the Vikings finish in fourth place in the 22-team field at the Seeley-Swan Invitational Saturday. The Vikings’ 48.5 points led all Class C teams at the event. No Class C teams have outscored the Vikings at a meet this season.

Nitschke showed no nerves in the first race of the season, finishing the 100-meter hurdles in 15.62 seconds, a time good enough to place second at last year’s state meet. Nitschke placed fifth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 43.29 seconds.

Nitschke joins an already solid hurdle team of Stephen Delaney and freshman Tra Ludeman. Charlo assistant coach Jim Petersen said Nitschke’s addition to the team was key in Charlo’s success at the meet at the Missoula County Stadium.

“He (Nitschke) just adds that speed and gives us that extra depth,” Petersen said.

Delaney, only a sophomore, finished in third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 42.39, which is near the time that qualified him for state last year.

“He’s (Delaney) in the 42s. It took him all last year to get there,” Petersen said, adding that with only being a sophomore Delaney has plenty of room for improvement. “As young as he is he can do just about anything.”

Chance Firestone, Chico Stipe, Austin Bauer and Nitschke ran the short relay in 44.82, just 20 hundredths of a second off Charlo’s second-place time at last year’s state tournament and about two seconds quicker than they’ve ran this year. The four had a hand-held time of 44.57, which would have been a school record. Stipe also finished in fourth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.7 seconds.

Firestone and Jame Petersen both cleared 12 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault to finish in third and fourth in the event, with Firestone taking third because of misses. The two of them have consistently cleared 12 feet, 6 inches this season, a mark that should place both of them at state – last year Firestone finished in third with a vault of 12 feet, 6 inches.

Chance Rosenbaum cleared 11 feet, 6 inches and  finished tied for sixth in the pole vault. The senior also placed fifth in the 800 with a time of 2:08.96.

The Lady Vikings scored 24 points to finish in 10th place and for the first time this season not lead all Class C teams at a meet. Schaelyn Fell was the Lady Vikings' highest finisher, finishing in second in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.91 seconds; that was her best time of the season and better than her fifth-place time at last year’s state tournament.

“She’s going in the right direction for this time of year,” Charlo coach Bret Thompson said after watching Fell’s race.

Sophomore Dawn Blevins ran her best 800-meter run of the season to finish in third place with a time of 2:39.11 Blevins finished ahead of teammate Brittany Shaver, who finished in sixth with a time of 2:39.80
Shaver, only a junior, is the senior member on the Lady Vikings’ 1,600-meter relay team that ran their best race of the season to finish in third with a time of 4:29.21, which was seven seconds quicker than what they ran last week.
Petersen said that Shaver, Blevins, sophomore Deondra Brown and freshman Rachel Hoyt have the potential to accomplish a lot this season.
“They’re younger kids and they’re unsure of what they can do,” Petersen said.
Viking senior Stephanie Maughan cleared 8 feet in the pole vault to finish tied for fourth.
The Charlo’s Lions Track Meet will be Thursday at noon.

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