GREAT FALLS — The Plentywood girls are bringing home a first-place State C track and field trophy for the first time in program history, while Seeley-Swan's guys broke through for the program's first State C team title. Seeley-Swan split a State B crown with Plains in 2000.
The Wildcats piled up 74 points behind a standout showing from junior Annie Kaul, who won three events and finished runner-up in a fourth. Those 74 points held of Manhattan Christian's 65.5 and Seeley-Swan's 52.
"Coming up short in volleyball and basketball, this is really big for us," Kaul told MTN Sports. "It's a great group of girls that we have. It's a really good feeling to bring this home to our town."
Kaul opened the meet with a win in Friday's pole vault with a vault of 10 feet, 6 inches. She picked up right where she left off on Saturday morning, winning the 100-meter hurdles in 15.73 seconds and the 300-meter hurdles in 46.87.
The most impressive part of her weekend, though, is her versatility. After winning those three events, Kaul finished runner-up to Belt's Lindsey Paulson in the 3,200-meter run and fourth in the 1,600, showcasing quite the five-event repertoire.
"It's pretty difficult. Usually my main focus is the distance events. We didn't have a lot of time to train for distance coming right out of state basketball," Kaul said. "I figured I'd go for the hurdles and the pole vault this year because distance I just didn't have the right training for it."
Plentywood also got points from Audrey Sampsen, who finished fourth in the 400 and 300-meter hurdles and second in the high jump. Emma Brensdal added a runner-up finish in the discus and third-place finish in the shot put, while Mallory Tommerup finished fourth in the triple jump.
Seeley-Swan's guys had been on the cusp of winning a team crown after a fourth-place finish in 2021 and runner-up in 2019, but the Blackhawks were able to come through in dominating fashion this weekend in Great Falls. The Blackhawks racked up 84 points on their way to the title, as Manhattan Christian finished second with 62.5 and Belt third with 40.
"It's a really cool feeling since we've been so close in the past years. It's just so nice to finally be able to get to that point," said Seeley-Swan senior and future University of Montana thrower Walker McDonald.
The highlight of the weekend for Seeley-Swan came on the back of McDonald, who won both the shot put and discus. His effort on Saturday, though, was his best, as McDonald set a new State C record in the discus with a throw of 174 feet, 3 inches.
"Basically since I started throwing this has been on my radar. I was just glad I could get it on my first throw. That brought a lot of pressure off of me," McDonald said. "I actually had a dream about winning and beating the record. And I had a dream about my yellow discus. It worked out the same way it did in my dream and I'm really happy about that. It's so weird."
McDonald wasn't the only multi-event winner for Seeley-Swan, as Owen Hoag flexed his muscles in the 200 and 400, winning in 22.57 and 50.58, respectively. Hoag also anchored Seeley-Swan's winning 1,600-meter relay team, chasing down Manhattan Christian on the final leg to win.
Another Blackhawk winner was Chaise Haines in the 110-meter hurdles in 15.84 seconds, just ahead of second-place Samuel Bryant of Drummond's 15.87. Haines broke down in tears after crossing the line.
"I was just thinking about, ever since I started when I was little I remember going to track practice with my Grandma and my Grandpa and they would set up the hurdles," Haines said. "Everything has been leading up to this moment. It was so emotional for me and so stressful. When I finally finished I think it was all the emotion finally showing from nerves and all the years I've been working so hard for this."
Seeley-Swan also finished third in the 400-meter relay.
Manhattan Christian's Arthun dominates 1,600, 3,200
Oren Arthun has a chance at some serious hardware by the time he wraps up his high school career.
After a dominant showing in Friday's 1,600, which Arthun won in 4:34.96, he upped his level another notch for the 3,200 on Saturday. Arthun ran uncontested for the majority of the race and crossed more than 20 seconds ahead of second place, winning in 10 minutes, 3.59 seconds.
"My biggest goal was to glorify God, obviously, but I was really, really happy with just going out (Saturday) and laying it all out on the track," Arthun said.
Arthun finished runner-up in the 800 to freshman teammate Shaphan Hubner, saying those two thrive off each other.
"I was, honestly, so happy with how that race turned out," Arthun said. "He's just a freshman, so it was amazing to see him pass me and I was just trying to chase him down the best I could."
Arthun helped lead Christian to a second-place finish, as Seth Amunrud also chipped in several points from the field events, finishing second in the triple jump with a leap of 44 feet.
VanDyken leads Manhattan Christian to runner-up finish
Manhattan Christian junior Jadyn VanDyken racked up the points this weekend.
Van Dyken won the 400 on Friday in 57.49 and added the gold medals on Saturday. She won the 200 in 25.65 over defending champion Brooke Reuter of Savage. Van Dyken also won the triple jump with a leap of 37-00.50 and ran anchor on the Eagles' runner-up 1,600-meter relay team.
"Coming into (this weekend) we didn't really know we were going to perform this well," VanDyken said. "It's really good to have people to push me. In that 400 at the end, we were head-to-head and I actually PR'd by a whole second. So did (Sariah Maughan)."
VanDyken also finished runner-up in the 100 to Reuter, who broke her own State C record in the event in Friday's prelims.
Sariah Maughan breaks own State C record in 800
Seeley-Swan's Sariah Maughan was the only girl that could keep Belt's Lindsey Paulson from a sweep of all three distance races.
Maughan held off Paulson in 2:13.89, setting a new State C record, beating her mark from the 2021 state meet.
"The first time I saw (Paulson) was at Great Falls," Maughan said. "I've always looked forward to running with (Paulson) because she's super nice and she's such great competition. I love running with other fast people."
Maughan showed well to help Seeley-Swan finished third. She finished second in the 400-meter dash, second in the 1,600 to Paulson and ran anchor on the Blackhawks' winning 1,600-meter relay team.
Full results of the 2022 State C track and field meet can be found here.