Pirate track gets started early at Corvallis meet
Hey savvy news reader! Thanks for choosing local.
You are now reading
1 of 3 free articles.
Subscribe now to stay in the know!
Early track season usually includes a little snow, but the tropical climate of the Bitterroot was just right last Saturday.
The Polson track team opened the season at last weekend's Gene Hughes Invitational track meet in Corvallis, enjoying partly sunny skies and 55-degree weather. The meet was hosted in Corvallis by Hamilton.
"We used to go to this meet every year but haven't in some time," Polson head coach Bob Gunderson explained. Gunderson, who is entering his 34th year of coach Pirate track, said the meet was moved to Corvallis to take advantage of the school's new all-weather track. "We will probably go back to making this an annual event. The weather was great. We have been scheduled to go to Columbia Falls the last several years and have had that meet cancelled due to snow on the track."
Polson's girls' squad won the meet, totaling 145 points, followed by Hamilton at 108 and Stevensville at 75. Polson's short-handed boys squad placed third with 76 points, just two points behind second-place Thompson Falls.
Loni Havlovick and Nicole Davey were both double-winners for Polson. Havlovick won the shot put with a throw of 35 feet, 3 inches, and took the discus title with a toss of 112 feet, 1 inch. Davey won 400-meter dash in 1:03:47 and took first in the pole vault, clearing 8 feet, 6 inches.
Breanne Kelley won the 300 hurdles in 49.29 seconds and took second in the 100 hurdles in 16.55. The junior also placed second in the 200 in 27.70 seconds.
Kelley and Davey were also on both winning relay teams for Polson. Kelley, Davey, Katie Finley and Christa Redcrow won the 400 relay in 52.07, while the same crew won the 1,600 relay in 4:19.82.
Redcrow took second in the triple jump with a lead of 31 feet, 9.75 inches and was third in the long jump at 15 feet, 2.25 inches. Finley also took third in the 100 (13.69) and fifth in the 200 (29.13).
Natasha Lafferty also placed in both her throwing events, taking second in the shot put at 33-11 and third in discus at 92 feet.
Mesa Starkey had a good season start in the middle and long distances. She took third in the mile at 5:52.33 and was fourth in the 800-meter run at 2:41.63. Geri Slyvester also placed sixth in the 800 at 2:54.40 and took fourth in the 400 at 1:10.56.
"It was great to have Nicole (Davey) back after missing all last season due to mononucleosis. She had such a great sophomore year and was nervous about her first meet in two years," coach Gunderson said. "She ran a very good 400, considering she wasn't pressed by anyone. Her split on the 1,600-meter relay was 61.5 seconds as she came from 15 meters behind to catch the Corvallis runner on the final turn and win the race."
Gunderson noted that Davey also narrowly missed making 9'6" in the pole vault.
"Loni Havlovick also had a good day ... and Natasha Lafferty was right behind her in both (shot put and discus) events," Gunderson noted. "These two seniors have placed at state each of the last two seasons and consistently give us very good efforts."
He added that Kelley placed in five events, which is nothing unusual for the junior.
"She individually and on the relays accounted for 25 points at this meet. Her hurdle times are both better than they were at the beginning of last season," the coach emphasized. "Christa Redcrow had a good day in the jumps. Christa also jumped 4'8" in the high jump but didn't place based on misses."
Gunderson noted that Finley placed in all four events she was entered in. He added that Starkey ran the 800 for the first time and turned in a very good time of 2:41, as well as placed in the 1,600.
"These are both shorter distances for her as she usually concentrates on the 3,200 meters," Gunderson said.
"We miss Sierra Pete (out with ACL for the season) but the girls are doing a great job of making up the slack that is there because of her absence. All are doing multiple events and competing well in them," Gundy said. "This core group of young ladies have a state title and a third place trophy because of this effort."
Polson's boys also had a good showing, though they were missing a number of performers, including Jason Bowman and Joe Andrews in the sprints. Brock Picard is also still nursing back to health a hamstring injury from football, but did compete in the javelin.
"We were missing some of our boys due to minor injuries or the 10-day practice rule," Gunderson explained. MHSA requires that athletes must have completed a minimum of 10 practices before they can compete. "We only had 10 practice days and some of the kids missed due to illness or school-related activities."
Freshman Mike Devlin had a very good meet, winning the 400-meter dash in 54.69 and placing fifth in the long jump at 18-8, both personal bests. He also ran on both relay teams.
Ty Fouty was Polson's other event winner, jumping 12 feet in the pole vault. His brother, Trae, is out until May as he recovers from a knee injury suffered during the football season.
The 400-meter relay team of Brock Bleazard, Traven Hoyt, Devlin and Vince DiGiallonardo placed second with a time of 47.38 seconds. The long, 1,600 relay team of Colter Bull, Devlin, DiGiallonardo and Chris Cote took third in 3:46.14.
Picard took third in javelin with a throw of 165-1, while Alex Havlovick took third in shot put at 42-8 and fifth in discus at 123 feet.
DiGiallonardo placed fourth in the 100-meter dash in 12.22, followed by Hoyt in fifth at 12.43. Cote took sixth in the 200 at 25.47 and fifth in the 400 at 56.21. Ty Fouty took fourth in the 300 hurdles, clocking a 48.70.
Miles Bieber edged Bull for fifth in the 800 in 2:18.08. Bull was just half a second back at 2:18.53 to finish sixth and he did place fifth in the 1,600 at 4:55.44. Bieber also earned sixth in the 3,200 with a time of 11:21.
"I am glad we were able to go to a meet early in the season as it gives us a measuring stick for what we need to work on," Gunderson said. "We were by no means fully prepared for this meet. We have had good weather but only 10 days of practice. Trying to get kids ready of 17 events in 10 days is not easy to do."
Polson returns a number of athletes with experience off last year's squads, though most of that experience was on the girls' side. The boys had some very good performances at state and the girls captured third, after unseating Whitefish for the divisional title.
The girls finished strong despite losing Davey to mono early on in the season. Davey contributed 30 points to the team at state as a sophomore, so it was a considerable impact.
"We missed having her leadership and athletic ability on our team. (But) the rest of the girls really stepped it up in her absence and had some very good performances at the divisional and state meets," Gunderson said.
Standouts for the boys include Andrews in the short dashes and relay, plus the javelin.