Flathead and Glacier have most of the events covered for the boys Class AA state track and field meet today and Saturday at Legends Stadium.
Glacier, led by defending state javelin champion Evan Todd, will have 14 athletes competing in 15 events.
The Wolfpack failed to qualify anyone in the 800 and pole vault.
Flathead, led by defending state 3,200 champion Ben Perrin, will have 13 athletes in 14 events with no one in the 400, shot put and discus.
As impressive as that sounds, it still might not be enough as Billings West and Missoula Sentinel are both loaded and are coming off impressive divisional victories a week ago.
West will be shooting for its third AA state title in the last four years.
“The only way we will sneak in anywhere (for a top three finish) is the athletes I have will have to have their season best at state,” Flathead coach Dan Hodge said.
Glacier and Flathead finished 1-2 at state a year ago in Great Falls. The Wolfpack had a winning total of 107 points. Flathead was next with 76.
Sentinel, 44, was fourth and West, 39, sixth.
“The crew we have this year, they are veterans,” Glacier coach Arron Deck said.
“They understand and know what the weekend is about. We sure will make a run at it, give it a go and see where we end up on Saturday afternoon.”
The busiest Glacier state qualifier is junior Drew Deck. He will compete in the long and triple jumps, the 110 and 300 hurdles, the 400 relay and maybe the 1,600 relay.
He was a member of Glacier’s 400 state championship relay squad last year.
“He’s had a solid season,” coach Deck said of his son. “Overall, he’s a lot stronger this year, more durable. We’re using him in many events.”
Senior Cole Crosby is entered in the long and triple jumps and both relays.
“One of those kids that gets better every week,” coach Deck said of Crosby. “I wish the season was two weeks longer. He is just starting to come into his own.”
Senior Sean Hegstad will do both relays, the 400 and long jump.
“Our leader all year,” coach Deck said of Hegstad. “In practice he kind of gets us going. I’m really proud of the work he has put in to get himself where he is at today.”
Senior Dyllyn Stabler is in the 100, 200 and both relays.
“As a track athlete, he is finally in track shape,” coach Deck said of Stabler.
Stabler has been splitting his time on the track this spring with club soccer.
One of the premier events at this state meet will be off the track in the javelin area. Todd has the fifth best throw nationally at 208 feet, 8 inches. Rylan Ortt of Missoula Sentinel is eighth at 203-2. They will throw Saturday at 9 a.m.
“He’s bigger, stronger this year,” coach Deck said of Todd.
“He’s had a great season.”
Deck has the top time in the state for all classes in the 300 hurdles (39.02).
“The core of this team are the seniors and Drew,” coach Deck said.
“They have been carrying the load all year. It’s just another weekend for them.”
In addition to winning its first state title last year, the Wolfpack have been second twice and third “three or four times,” coach Deck said.
“The kids are excited for the weekend.”
Hodge says Flathead has 20 spots where it can score points this weekend and it all starts with Perrin, seniors Kyle Calles and Seth Moon and junior Chance Sheldon-Allen.
Perrin will compete in the 1,600, 3,200 and 1,600 relay.
“Ben has had a remarkable high school career,” Hodge said.
“I hope he can cap it off with two state championships.”
Calles is penciled in for the 800, 1,600 and 1,600 relay.
“He has been a top competitor in the 800 his whole senior season,” Hodge said.
“He ran his heart out last year and did not place at the state track meet. He did the right things this winter with his offseason training. That has increased his speed for the 800.”
Moon will spend most of his time in the field with the jumps — long, triple and high. He will also run the 300 hurdles.
“A placer a year ago in long jump and triple jump for us,” Hodge said. “This year, he is a possible placer in all four events.”
Sheldon-Allen is set for the 100, 200, long jump and both relays.
“He had a hammy (hamstring) issue (earlier),” Hodge said of Sheldon-Allen. “He doesn’t have that now. The last two weeks he is running really well.”
Action begins today and Saturday with field events at 9 a.m. and running events at 10:30.