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Head start

With a core of state qualifiers from last year returning to the team, the Charlo Vikings have a head start on the rest of the competition

When the gun went off to open the track season, the Charlo track team was ready to go. The Vikings finished third in the 15-team field at the Jim Johnson Invitational and the Lady Vikings finished fifth.

At Dornblaser Field Wednesday, the Vikings scored 83.5 points to finish behind Class B teams Darby (114) and Thompson Falls (93.5). The Lady Vikings’ 41 points led all Class C teams at the meet hosted by Alberton and Drummond. The Lady Wardens dominated the girls’ meet racking up 93 points to finish 27 points ahead of Thompson Falls.

“It was a pretty good first track meet, but we got a long ways to go. At least, I hope they think they’ve got a long ways to go,” Charlo coach Bret Thompson said.

Charlo junior Chico Stipe led the Vikings, winning the 100-meter dash, placing second in the 200 and high jump and running legs on the Vikings’ second-place relay teams.

Stipe ran the 100 in 11.56 seconds, which was faster than his fifth-place time at last year’s divisional meet. Stipe’s time of 24.41 in the 200 was a little slow, but Thompson said that was because of the weather Thursday and how few practices Charlo has had. 

Stipe jumped 5 feet, 7.5 inches for the silver in the high jump. Last year, Stipe just missed out of competing at the state tournament in the high jump, finishing in sixth place at the divisional tournament with a jump of 5 feet, 8 inches.

Viking senior Jame Petersen was the only other individual Viking champion at the meet. Petersen beat out senior teammate Chance Firestone with a vault of 12 and a half feet. Firestone finished in second with a vault of 11 and a half feet. Both of the seniors competed in the pole vault at last year’s state tournament, with Firestone finishing in third for the third time. Thompson said both of them have the potential to place high in the event at the final meet of the season. 

Firestone, who placed three times at last year’s state meet, also ran a leg on both of Charlo’s relay teams Wednesday. Firestone and Stipe were both on last year’s 400-relay team, which finished in second place at the state tournament.Wednesday, Austin Bauer and freshman Tra Ludeman took the place of Brandon Pope and Josh Lords. 

Bauer, a junior, missed nearly the entire season last year because of injury. If he can stay healthy this season he should be a strong addition to the Viking squad. Bauer finished in fourth in the long jump with a leap of 18 feet, 1 inch. 

Ludeman should also add some strength to the Viking team. The freshman finished third in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.91 seconds and fifth in the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 4 inches.

Viking junior Chance Rosenbaum finished fourth in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:11.27 and fourth in the 1,600 with a time of 5:01. Last year, Rosenbaum finished in third in the 800 and fourth in the 1,600 at the divisional tournament. Thompson said that Rosenbaum is strong enough to place at state this season.

Viking distance runner Michael Smith finished in fourth in the 3,200 and sixth in the 1,600. The junior finished the 3,200 in 11 minutes, seven seconds and the 1,600 in 5:12.59.

Three Lady Vikings placed in two individual events. Brittany Shaver finished in second in the 800 with a time of 2:40.37 and third in the 1,600 with a time of six minutes, one second. Shaver also ran the final leg of Charlo’s third-place, 1,600-meter relay team.

Shaver’s time Wednesday was close to where she finished last year. Last season, Shaver placed third in the 800 at the divisional meet, but finished in sixth at divisionals in the 1,600. Thompson said that Shaver was disappointed with how she finished last season and it was good to see her start the 2010 season so strong. He said if Shaver puts in the work she could have a great year.

“She’ll (Shaver) have the opportunity to place at state,” Thompson said.

Lady Viking sophomore Deondra Brown finished in fourth in the 100-meter dash and sixth in the 400. Brown also ran a leg on the Lady Vikings’ third-place 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams. Brown ran the 100-meter dash in 13.72 seconds and the 400 in 1:09.03. As a freshman, Brown qualified for state in the 400 and 200 and both relay teams. Thompson is excited to see what she can do as a sophomore. 

“She’s one that we could see her time really drop,” Thompson said.

Alex Esterby, the lone Lady Viking thrower, finished fifth in the discus and sixth in the shot put. The senior threw the discus 85 feet, 9 inches and the shot put 27 feet, 4.75 inches.

Schaelyn Fell finished sixth in the 100 hurdles with a time of 18.88 seconds. Last season, Fell won the hurdles at the divisional tournament with a time of 17.08 seconds and placed fifth at state with a time of 17.07 seconds.

Thompson said that it’s still early and Fell has missed some practices and he expects her to get her times back down to be a state contender.

“It’s (the 100 hurdles) a tough event not to practice, so many things can go wrong in the hurdles,” Thompson said.

Lady Viking freshmen Rachel Hoyt and Derika Stipe earned some points for Charlo. Hoyt placed fifth in the 300 hurdles with a time a 54.17 seconds and Stipe placed fifth in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 6 and a half feet.

Thompson said that Hoyt adds some athleticism to his nine-girl team and that she’ll compete in five events, what five events he isn’t sure. He also thinks said that with a whole season in front of her, Stipe could become a contender in the pole vault.

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