Seeley-Swan meet draws top teams

Apr. 24—It would be a massive understatement to say the sports teams at Loyola Sacred Heart in Missoula are having a good year.

They have been at the top of the ladder all year long, and after sorting through the results of the Seeley-Swan Invitational track and field event in Missoula this past weekend, one would likely conclude the assessment with a "here we go again".

Last year it was Bigfork's teams that enjoyed outstanding success on a grand scale, this year the Heart Breakers appear poised to assume the mantle.

The Loyola women's high school track meet dominated the field of 20 teams entered in the SSHS Invite, winning the team title with 86 points, well ahead of runner up Florence-Carlton's 47.

And the Loyola boys also were team champs, although by the slimmest of margins over Bigfork, 84-83.

Plains women's team continued its strong showing this year, placing in a three-way tie for sixth at the Seeley-Swan meet with 30 points, while Superior was thirteenth with 16 team tallies. Hot Springs had three points.

In the boys competition, Superior placed seventh (32 points), Noxon was thirteenth (10) Hot Springs came in fourteenth (8), Alberton placed 17th (7 points) and Plains was nineteenth with four points.

Among local boys, Noxon's Ricky Williams was the only event winner, capturing the high jump with a leap of 6-3, a new personal record for the junior who has been battling a lower leg injury for nearly a year. Williams advanced to the state Class C finals last year in the event as a sophomore.

Superior freshman Landon Richards placed fourth in the high jump, equaling his personal best of 6-0 he set earlier this year. Plains jump Cooper Meredith tied for 14th in the event with a jump of 5-4, while Noxon's Shande Hatchel was 21st after clearing 5-2.

Among the surprises at the meet was the first loss of the season for Superior pole vaulter Lucas Kovalsky, who finished second behind Loyola's Jake Jamieson, who cleared the bar at 13-6. Kovalsky was second at 13 even. Last week he set a new personal and school record with a jump of 13-6. Superior teammate Gannon Quinlan, a freshman, placed eighth with a vault of 10-0, while his Bobcat teammate Micah Acker was 16th with a jump of 9-0.

Kovalsky, Acker and Quinlan, along with Superior sprinter Trizten Avila joined forces to place second in the 4X400 meter relay, while Plains was ninth and Alberton came in 17th. Loyola won the event with a time of 3:36.94.

Kovalsky also had a fourth place finish in the long jump with a leap of 19-5.5. Richards was twelfth and Hot Springs' David Chapman placed fifteenth.

Chapman had a good day in the hurdles, placing third in the 110 meter hurdles and fifth in the 300 meter hurdles. Plains freshman Cody West was eighth in the 300 meter hurdles, Acker was twelfth, Hot Springs' freshman Ben Aldridge was thirteenth, and Plains' Brednen Vanderwall was fourteenth.

In the men's javelin, which was won by Loyola's Taylor Jones with a throw of 163-2, Alberton's Colton Baughman placed third, chucking the spear 155-3, a new personal best. Plains' Joseph Martin took seventh (141-3) and St. Regis senior John Pruitt was eighth (138-7).

Superior senior shot putter Jaxson Green finished seventh in the event with a heave of 43-3.5, while teammate Jason Merrill had a mark of 40-4.5. Noxon's Owen Ramsey put the steel ball 39-6.5, and Chapman placed fifteenth with a throw of 39-2. Green also placed 15th in the discus, while Merrill was 17th.

Superior's Avila was fourth in the triple jump, with a hop, skip and jump of 39-11. Alberton sophomore Shea Fredette was sixth (39-4) and Plains' Meredith placed 11th (35-4.5).

In the girls competition, Plains standout weight thrower Alexis Demming bounced back from her only second place finish of her series of firsts, winning the discus and the shot put for the Trotters.

Demming, who placed second earlier this week after winning all her discus events to that point, unleashed a personal best throw of 124-7 to easily defeat runner up Lillian Boyd of Seeley Swan, who threw 115-2. Demming is the defending Class B state champ in the event.

Superior's Eddy Betts place fifth for the Lady Bobcats with a throw of 89-7, while Hot Springs' Georgia Uski was sixth (89.6.5) Lady Heat teammate Kara Christensen was eighth with a throw of 89-2, while Alberton's Georgia Fredette placed 15th (80-11).

Demming added the shot put title to her day's haul, recording another personal best toss of 39-7.5. Betts was fourth (29-10) and Uski claimed tenth (27-10.25)

Christian was the top local thrower in the javelin competition, establishing a new personal best of 96-4. Superior's Makenzie Reum and Maryisa Swope finished 15th and 16th respectively.

Reum also finished sixth in the pole vault with a personal best vault of 7-6. Swope placed in a tie for 13th (7-0). Swope also finished 16th in the long jump with a leap of 13-5, while Hot Springs' freshman Kora Hensrude was 18th (13-1).

Plains got a boost from freshman cross country all-stater Marina Tulloch, who won the 3200 meter race by nearly a full minute over rival distance runner Lily Adair of Darby. Tulloch broke the tape under 12 minutes, covering the distance in 11:58.18, while Adair was second with a time of 12:40.55.

Lady Bobcats junior Braelyn Mangold had a solid meet for Superior, placing third in the 400 meter run, eighth in the triple jump and ninth in the 200 meter sprint.

St. Regis got a pair of top 11 finishes in the medium distance runs, with sophomore Jamie Kearby finishing eighth in the 800 meter event and ninth at 400 meters. Teammate Kyla Bush was 11th.

Hot Springs' Christensen also had a 13th place finish in the 100 meter hurdles and a 17th place showing in the 200 meter sprint. Superior's Alysha Ryan was fifth in the 100 meter hurdles event.

Superior freshman Miekolani Ruthford tied for seventh with several other contestants in the women's high jump (4-6), while Plains' Katelyn Subatch was tied for 14th (4-4).

Plains senior Peyton Wasson finished seventh in the 1600 meter run, while Reum was 14th in the 100 meter sprint and teammate Alysha Ryan placed 16th.

Next up for most of the area competitors is the Top 10 event in Missoula today, (April 23), and then the ARM Whitefish Invitational this coming Saturday.

Superior sprint Alysha Ryan (center) competes in the women's 100 meter dash at this year's Seeley-Swan Invitational track meet in Missoula. (Photo by Kami Milender)