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Eight Arlee athletes advance to final meet

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MISSOULA — Two Arlee athletes were given a two-day trip to Great Falls for a birthday present.

Arlee sophomore twins Sam and Becca Nelson both placed in the top five in the javelin at the Western C Divisional Track Meet at the Missoula County Stadium Friday and Saturday and earned a berth to the state tournament in Great Falls this weekend.

On her 16th birthday, Becca threw the javelin 105 feet, 11 inches to finish fifth – the final spot to advance to the state tournament. Becca advanced to the divisional tournament as a freshman, but didn’t qualify for the state tournament.

“It feels pretty good, knowing that I’m only a sophomore and going up against juniors and seniors,” Becca said. “I wanted to really make it there,” she added.

Sam finished in fourth in the javelin with a throw of 153 feet, 6 inches. Sam’s throw was about a foot and a half shorter than his personal-best, district-winning throw last week, but he was throwing in a stiff headwind.

Arlee coach Russell Baker said that if Sam can add a couple of feet to his throw he has a good shot of medaling at the state meet.

“If he can get over 160 (feet) he should get a medal. He’s done it in practice,” Baker said.

Becca will be joined at the two-day tournament with teammate Rachelle Meidinger. Meidinger became the first Scarlet to earn a spot at the state tournament since 2008 by finishing fourth in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 32 feet, 6 inches. Rachelle, only a sophomore, also advanced to the divisional as a freshman, but missed out on the state tournament. “Pretty sweet” is how she described making it to her first state tournament.

Aspen Meidinger just missed out on becoming the third Scarlet at the final meet of the season. Aspen finished in sixth in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 30 feet, 10 inches, just 2.25 inches shorter than the fifth-place throw of Drummond’s Patti Brown.

After sitting out last year and most of this season, Warrior senior Kyle Felsman placed fourth in the triple jump and fifth in the high jump. Felsman’s triple jump was 40 feet, 3.5 inches an 11-inch improvement from his district-winning  triple jump. Felsman’s triple jump was only 10.5 inches shorter than his second-place jump at the 2008 divisional meet.

Felsman cleared 5 feet, 10 inches to place fifth in the high jump, it was the same height of his district-winning jump. Felsman has yet to clear 6 feet this season in a meet, but Baker feels that it can happen in Great Falls.

“He’s (Felsman) is improving his techniques. He has a good chance of getting a medal in both events if he can get over 6 feet, which he can do,” Baker said.

Arlee’s 400-meter relay team of Zack Carver, Zach Tameler, Cole Rice and Trevor Rubel finished third with a time of 46.68 seconds, a big improvement from districts, where they dropped the baton and didn’t cross the line until 52.19 seconds.

“Good thing they stopped and picked it up at districts so they would have a chance,” Baker said.

The four of them haven’t been running together for long and Baker said they can still take a couple of seconds off their time with better exchanges.

“That’s what they’ve been practicing all week. They been working on their hand-offs,” Baker said.

This will be the second trip that Carver makes to the final meet. Carver, only a sophomore, competed in the short relay last year too. He is the  only Arlee athlete that competed as the state tournament last year, but Felsmsan competed in 2008.

The future of Arlee track looks bright. Five of the eight athletes making the trip to Great Falls are sophomores.

The Montana Class C State Meet starts at 10:30 a.m. Friday at the Memorial Stadium in Great Falls.

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