Track preview: Glacier boys aren't going anywhere, girls trending up

Mar. 29—The Glacier Wolfpack boys were second at the State AA track meet in 2022 and third last May. They aren't going anywhere in 2024.

"A lot of kids are back, which is pretty cool," said second-year coach Connor Fuller, and he's not just talking about the short relay, which has three legs back from a group that won it at last year's state meet.

"We have time to figure out that third handoff," said Fuller, who ran Evan Barnes, Ethan Anderson and Kash Goicoechea around the graduated Jeff Lillard, now at Montana State. "But we hope to find the guy to make us as successful as last year was."

Anderson won the 110 hurdles and was second in the 300 hurdles last year as a junior.

"He's had a fantastic offseason and should be competitive in both hurdles again," Fuller said. "I think, being a year older, he could be a threat in the 100 and 200 too."

Goicoechea qualified in the 100 with a mending hamstring; now that he's healthy Fuller hopes to get the senior in all three sprints and both relays.

Barnes was fifth last year in the 300 hurdles and qualified in the 200. He'll run the 100 as well.

Senior Kole Johnson figures into the sprints and jumps as well and in the distances, state qualifier Owen Thiel, a sophomore, is joined by seniors Jonas Crittenger and Ethan Grant as well as a fleet of strong freshmen.

On the field side the Pack has the throws covered with defending state discus champion Aiden Krause as well as fellow senior Henry Sellareds and junior Ben Winters. All three qualified for state in the shot put.

The jumps are where juniors Caleb Brannan and Brantly Salmonsen and freshman Cooper Pelt could excel. Add it up and it's a talented group — 135 boys came out for track — that should be hanging around the podium at state.

"I think for us it's just to be our best selves in May," Fuller said. "Work up to it, and that's the fun part of track — once you get there, be at your best and good things will happen."

Coach Hollis May has 85 girls looking to improve on last year's 12th-place finish at state.

Leading the way is an excellent throwing crew that starts with senior Kai Johnson, the defending state discus champion, and includes senior Madison Terry (shot put, javelin) and juniors Ella Halliburton (shot put) and Charlotte Osler (javelin).

Helping should be a talented distance crew led by freshman Lauren Beeson.

"We have a great group of cross country girls, who had a great season," May said. "They're working great together and also providing competition against each other and making each other stronger. We're really excited about our distance girls."

Junior Anna Tretter qualified in the 3,200 a year ago; junior Alyssa Vollertson did the same in the 800, and senior Bailey Gable was a qualifier in the 300 hurdles.

May figures around eight girls will have chances to fill out the relays, but Gable and Vollertson ran on last year's 4-by-400. Sophomore hurdler Emmery Schmidt could also figure in — she ran on last year's short relay, as did juniors Staisha Thomas and Carmen Eddy..

Kiera Sullivan could figure into the long relay and long jump after missing last year with a knee injury.

Beyond that, May is encouraged by a talented freshman class that numbers 27.

"I'm just really excited about their attitudes," she said. "They're thirsty for coaching, and eager. I'm excited about that young group of kids and their work ethic."