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Peak performance

Vikings win final track meet of regular season to head into district tournament in top form

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The Charlo Vikings are hitting their stride at the right time. In the week heading up to the District 14-C Track Meet, the Vikings backed up a strong performance at the Lake County Invitational by winning their first meet of the season. At the Seeley-Swan Invitational Saturday at the Missoula County Stadium, the Vikings scored 100 points to beat Class B powerhouse Darby by five points and claim the championship of the 16-team meet.

“The big thing is that we keep improving as we start advancing and the competition gets tougher,” Charlo coach Bret Thompson said. 

The Vikings won their first meet even with the pole vault – an event where the Vikings regularly go 1-2 and place three – being cancelled. “That says a lot about the other events. It’s nice to see other kids step up,” Thompson said.

One of the other events for the Vikings was the hurdles. Viking senior Cody Nitschke continued his dominance in the hurdle races since his return to the team. Nitschke won both hurdle races and set the school record in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 15.09 seconds. In three meets since coming back from an ACL injury, Nitschke has won five of six hurdle races and now holds both of Charlo’s hurdle records – Nitschke broke the Charlo 300-meter record at the county meet.

Sophomore Stephen Delaney finished fourth in the 110 hurdles and second in the 300 hurdles and freshman Tra Ludeman took sixth in the 110 race. Delaney’s time of 41.52 seconds in the 300 hurdles would have been a school record a week ago.

“It’s nice to see a sophomore stepping up in big meets for us,” Thompson said of Delaney.

Austin Bauer finished second in the long jump with a jump of 19 feet, 1.5 inches and sixth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.95 seconds. Bauer also ran a leg on the Vikings’ winning 400-meter relay team and second place mile relay team. Bauer and Ross Fullerton took the place of Chance Firestone and Chance Rosenbaum and teamed up with Nitschke and Chico Stipe on the mile relay, finishing right behind Choteau with a time of 3:34.25.

Stipe finished in third in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.66 seconds. He also finished in fourth in the high jump (5-8).

Senior Jaris Kelley led the Lady Vikings placing in three events to help Charlo score 58 points and finish in fourth place. In only her second meet after coming back from an ACL injury she suffered at the end of the basketball season, Kelley placed second in the javelin with a throw of 108 feet, 11 inches and second in the pole vault clearing the bar at 8 feet, 6 inches. Kelley also threw the shot put 28 feet, 6 inches to finish in sixth place.

Kelley’s vault was only six inches shorter than her fifth-place vault at last year’s state tournament and ties her for the best Class C mark this season. This year, Kelley might be joined at the state tournament with teammates Stephanie Maughan and Derika Stipe. Maughan finished in fifth with an 8-foot vault and Stipe finished in sixth with a vault of 7 feet, 6 inches.

Lady Viking senior Schaelyn Fell won the 100-meter hurdles in a blazing 16.72 seconds, which is the fastest time in Class C this season. Fell also finished in fifth in the 300 hurdles.

The Lady Viking mile relay team of Maughan, Brittani Shaver, Dawn Blevins and Deondra Brown won with a time of 4:22.89.

Shaver finished third in the 1,600 Blevins finished in fifth in the 400.

The Vikings and Lady Vikings will defend their seven-year run as District 14-C champions Thursday at the Polson Sport Complex. The meet starts at 9 p.m.


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