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Lady Pirates breeze to win in Libby, Cross wins boys' 400 but robbed of title

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The Polson track team jammed in three track meets over the last week, stretching their legs and putting up some great marks. 

Polson competed in a triangular at Big Sky High in Missoula on Tuesday, April 20, then traveled to Libby on for an invitational on Saturday before sending a large squad to the Top Ten in Missoula on Tuesday, April 27. 

Both of Polson's boys and girls finished second as a team to Big Sky at the triangular. But the marks probably meant more than how they placed.

Sprinter Jason Bowman won both the 100 and 200-meter dashes in remarkable times. His 11.29-second time in the 100 and 22.87 in the 200 are now the fastest times in Class A.

"Jason ran extremely well," head coach Bob Gunderson said. 

Joe Andrews took second in the 200 (23.83) and was fourth in the 100 in (11.80), while Vince DiGiallonardo was fourth in the 200 in 25.02.

Colter Bull won the 800 in 2:07.50 and Miles Bieber placed second in the 1,600 in 5:02.63. 

Alex Havlovick won the discus with a throw of 146 feet, 2 inches, while Clark Rubel was third at 122 feet. Havlovick also won the shot put at 44-7.5, followed by Rubel at 42-5 and Dale Big Sam at 39-7.5.

Brock Bleazard won the pole vault, clearing 11 feet, 6 inches. Zion Lee was second at that height and Drew Fouty was fourth at 10 feet. Mike Devlin added a fourth place in high jump at 5-5, while Brock Picard took third in the javelin at 147-9.

Polson won the 400-meter relay race in 44.63 and the 1,600 squad took second in 3:45.45.

Polson's girls' squad was led in the field by Loni Havlovick, who won all three throwing events, and on the track by Breanne Kelley.

Havlovick won the discus with a mark of 116-5, the shot put at 35-10 and the javelin at 103-10. Natasha Lafferty placed second in shot (32-9) and third in discus (99-1), while D.J. Conko-Camel was fourth with a throw of 95-3.

Kelley won the 100-meter hurdles in 16.22 seconds.

"Breanne nosed out a Big Sky hurdler in a photo finish in the 100-meter hurdles, running her fastest time of the season so far," Gunderson noted.

Kelley also placed third in the 300 hurdles (49.46), trailing second-place Nicole Davey who clocked a 49.09. Davey also won the pole vault at 9 feet, 6 inches. 

Polson's 1,600-meter relay team of Katie Finley, Kelley, Christa Red Crow and Davey won the race in 4:12.31. That time leads the state in Class A and is second overall to Class AA Bozeman.

Polson's 400-meter relay squad of Finley, Anna DiGiallonardo, Davey and Kelly posted a time of 51.73 to place second.

Red Crow placed second in the triple jump (32-5) and was third in the long jump at 15-2.5. DiGiallonardo led Polson in the 100 by placing third at 13.50, while Geri Sylvester took third in the 400 at 1:08.89.

Mesa Starkey added two fourth-place finishes in the 800 (2:42.9) and 1,600 (5:49.51). The two-mile wasn't run.

On Saturday, Polson joined seven other teams, including the rest of the Northwestern A teams, at the Libby Invitational. Despite some truly ugly weather at times — the wind was constant and a cold rain blew in sideways several times, gusting to 30 mph — the Lady Pirates cruised to the girls' title with 193 points, followed by Whitefish at 109. The short-handed Polson boys took second with 99 points, behind Columbia Falls at 139.

Polson's girls won nine of 17 events and placed second in four. Havlovick, Davey, Kelley and Red Crow racked up a ton of points for the Lady Pirates. 

Havlovick won the discus (127-4) and the shot put (40-11), plus took second in the javelin (103-10). Both her discus and shot put throws are currently the third-best in the state.

Davey won the pole vault at 9-7, her highest mark this season, and took the 300-meter hurdle title in 47.49, which is the seventh-best time in the state. 

Kelley won the 100 hurdles in 16:37 and earned the 200-meters title in 27.37.

Red Crow won the triple jump with a leap of 31-10 and took second in the long jump at 14-10.

Finley, DiGiallonardo, Davey and Kelley won the 400-meter relay in 51.97, then Finley, Kelley, Red Crow and Davey posted a time of 4:15.07 to win the 1,600-meter relay.

Starkey also won the 3,200-meter run in 12:22.29, a personal-best time.

DiGiallonardo ran hard and posted some good numbers for Polson, including a pair of second-place times of 13.45 in the 100, a season-best, and 1:08.17 in the 400. Finley added a third in the 100 in a season-best 13.47 and fourth in the 200 at 29.16, while Geri Sylvester took third in the 400 in 1:09.01 and sixth in the 800 at 2:55.07. Katharina Medland added a fifth-place finish in the 400 at 1:14.51.

Lafferty posted a second-place throw in the shot put at 33-7.25, followed by D.J. Conko-Camel in third at 29-9. Lafferty also placed fourth in the discus at 94-1.

"D.J. Conko-Camel had her best throw ever 29-9. She is a very good freshman with a good future in our track and field program," coach Gunderson noted. "Our girls continue to dominate the competition in our conference. Hard work combined with considerable talent pays off." 

Polson's boys did well despite missing a number of their lead runners. Jason Bowman and Traven Hoyt didn't run after the 4X100 relay, nursing minor injuries, and both Joe Andrews and Mike Devlin didn't make the trip to Libby.

"The boys did very well considering they were missing Joe Andrews (soccer), Mike Devlin (wrestling), and Jason Bowman and Traven Hoyt didn't participate in individual events. They represent a pile of points that we could have, would have, should have had," coach Gunderson noted.

Alex Havlovick won the discus with a throw of 143 feet and placed fifth in the shot put at 44-2.25. 

"Alex Havlovick continues to impress in the discus ... and sophomore Clark Rubel had his best discus effort placing sixth (124-6)," Gunderson said.

Brock Picard won the javelin with a throw of 160-2 and the Polson boys dominated the pole vault, with Ty Fouty winning the event at 12 feet, followed by Zion Lee (11-6) in second, Bleazard (11-0) in third and Jesse Alfiero and Drew Fouty tied for fifth at 10 feet.

Senior Jordan Cross ran his biggest race of his high school career by clocking a personal-best 54.02 to win the 400-meter race. His victory wasn't official, however, due to a confused finish line crew.

"Jordan actually won the 400, but due to a mix-up with the finish judges they placed him second. They added one second to his time in doing so in order to show a slower time than the Noxon boy that they had picked for first," Gunderson explained. "It is unfortunate that Jordan didn't get picked for first. He was in lane eight and they just flat out missed him."

Cross also had a PR in placing fifth in the 200 at 24.35.

Colter Bull ran a PR (4:35.97) to finish second in the 1,600; he was nosed out by a Columbia Falls runner at the tape.

Sophomore Alex Nystrom broke 11 minutes for the first time (10:59.37) in the 3,200 to place second and earn his first varsity letter in track. Miles Bieber followed in third at 11:10.41, plus finished fifth in the 800 (2:13.35).

Vince DiGiallonardo placed in two jumps, posting a 19-2.25 in the long jump for third and 5-6 in the high jump for sixth.

Both of Polson's relay teams also placed fourth. 

"It is a pleasure to see the results of the hard work that some of our kids put in on a daily basis. Jordan (Cross) is a prime example of someone that works hard in practice and is finally having some success on the track," Gunderson said. "A number of kids continue to improve whose marks are not quite good enough to get them a place in the large meets that we compete in each weekend. Their continued effort will pay dividends down the road if they stick with it."

Polson took a large number of athletes to Tuesday's Russ Pilcher Top Ten meet in Missoula, featuring the best of Western Montana's track athletes.

On Saturday, Polson's track team will compete in the Whitefish ARM.

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