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Charlo runs away with District 14-C title

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POLSON — The Charlo track team showed no chinks in their armor in their title defense of their long tenure as District 14-C champions at the Polson Sports Complex Thursday.

In claiming their eighth straight district championship, the Vikings won 11 events and racked up 247 points to outdistance the second-place Warriors by 154 points and the Lady Vikings won 13 events to score 219 points and run away from the Scarlets, who finished in second with 112 points. 

Charlo coach Bret Thompson said his biggest fear at a district tournament is that there is a let down and he loses some athletes for the divisional tournament. He didn’t see this let down Thursday, with many of his athletes winning multiple events and keeping most of his team intact for the Western C Divisional Track Meet this weekend in Missoula.

Deondra Brown and Jaris Kelley finished first in three events for the Lady Vikings – Brown also ran legs on both of the Lady Vikings’ winning relay teams.

Brown, a sophomore, was the quickest girl at the six-team event, winning the 100-, 200- and 400-meter dashes. Brown’s 1:04.69 in the 400 was a personal best and her times in the 100 (14.06) and 200 (28.29) were season best times.

“We’ve been working harder at practice lately just to prepare ourselves for this and our teammates pushing us really helps,” Brown said. “When it gets to the end we always have good support.”

Brown, Schaelyn Fell, Stephanie Maughan and Rachel Hoyt won the 400-meter relay with a time of 53.98 seconds. Brown, Hoyt, Dawn Blevins and Brittany Shaver won the mile relay with a time of 4:26.60.

Recovering from an ACL injury in only her third meet of the season, Kelley won the shot put, javelin and pole vault. Kelley, a senior, cleared 8 feet, 6 inches to win her third district pole vault title. Basically throwing off one leg, Kelley won the shot put with a throw of 30 feet, 6 inches and the javelin with a throw of 107 feet, 5 inches. Thompson said that Kelley has been consistent in the javelin, but thinks she is capable of throwing farther.

“Maybe this week will be the day she can break through,” Thompson said of the divisional tournament at the Missoula County Stadium Friday and Saturday.

Shaver continued her late-season surge by winning the 800 (2:35.30) and 1,600 (5:53.03). Both were season best time.

“She’s running with a lot of confidence,” Thompson said, adding that he’s not certain where this confidence came from. “I think she just realized she was better and she was tired of not winning.”

Fell, won both hurdle races, winning the 100 with a time of 17:28 seconds and the 300 with a personal-best time of 50.46 seconds. Hoyt, only a freshman, won the high jump (4-8) and placed in all five of her events.

Chico Stipe, Chance Firestone and Chance Rosenbaum each won two events for the Vikings. Stipe and Firestone also ran legs on both of the Vikings’ winning relay teams and Rosenbaum ran a leg on the 1,600-meter relay team.

Stipe won the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.79 seconds, finishing right in front of teammate Austin Bauer, who also finished second in the long jump. Stipe’s 23.59-second run in the 200 was his best time of the season. 

Firestone won the long jump and pole vault after finishing as runner-up in both events at last year’s district tournament. Firestone jumped 19 feet, 9 inches in the long jump and cleared 13 feet in the pole vault. While the senior has been clearing 13 feet consistently this season, he has been struggling in the long jump. Thompson said that Firestone has spent a lot of time focusing on the pole vault, which hurt his long jump, but last week at practice he focused on the long jump and it paid off.

Rosenbaum won the 800 with a time of 2:15.68 and the 1,600 with a time of 4:56.70. The senior also finished second in the pole vault – an event where the Vikings finished 1-2-3 in with Jame Petersen finishing in third.

Michael Smith finished right behind Rosenbaum in the 1,600 with a personal best time of 4:58.97, but it was in the two-mile race that Smith shined. Smith won the 3,200 with a time 10:36.14, which broke a 19-year-old Charlo record held by his uncle Leroy Smith. Smith’s time was a far cry from the first time he ran it in Hot Springs last year and finished in 11 minutes, 45 seconds.

With no other runners to push him, Smith had to rely on Thompson giving him his split times and his competitive nature to break the record.

“Since I didn’t have anybody to push me. I wanted to lap as many people as possible,” Smith said, figuring he lapped four runners.

Houston Blevins won the discus with a throw of 114 feet. The senior also placed fourth in the javelin and shot put. 

Cody Nitschke won the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.84 seconds and finished second in the 300-meter hurdles. 

All three of the Vikings’ hurdlers placed in both hurdle races. Stephen Delaney finished third in both races and Tra Ludeman placed fourth in the 110 and sixth in the 300.

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