POLSON — Not many could catch Carlee Fryberger on Friday afternoon.
The Charlo sophomore started the Dave Tripp Memorial track & field meet as quickly — literally — as she could want. After opening the meet with a win in the 100 hurdles, she didn’t have much time to rest before she was front and center again winning the 100-meter dash.
Fryberger had a little more time after that sprint to catch her breath before anchoring the Vikings in the 400 relay, another first-place finish.
So just like that, three races, three wins.
“Now that we’re at our third track meet, it’s really starting to pick up,” Fryberger said. “We’re getting those good times and getting where we need to be. It feels good to finally be out here.”
The Charlo girls have been firing out of the gates to begin the season and Fryberger has been a key reason for it. But that’s to be expected considering last year as a freshman she placed second in the 100 hurdles. She added third-place finishes in the 300 hurdles and triple jump on Friday as Charlo's girls won as a team after scoring 105.5 points. Seeley-Swan was second with 93 while Deer Lodge took third with 79 points.
“Our team is really good and its awesome to have these girls out here just to encourage everyone and push us on the track,” Fryberger said. “We just have good warmups and good techniques for everything. We push each other on the track.”
And though she’s just in her second season of high school, Fryberger is seen as a team leader. But she admits she was a little nervous coming into the season.
“I was definitely really nervous but now that we’re in it and doing it, it’s going well,” she said. “Little bit slower start but it feels good now with where we’re at.”
Darby hurdler Dylan Parks also walked away from the meet with a huge day. Parks, a senior, swept the 110 and 300 hurdles, winning both races convincingly. He also took third in the 200.
Not a bad day for an all-around athlete like Parks who starred for the Tigers in football and basketball. But it’s wild to realize the success he’s having knowing that he took two years off from track after competing his freshman year.
His reason is pretty simple.
“I know colleges look for three-sport athletes so I just decided I’d do it,” Parks said.
He makes it look easy out there gliding over the hurdles, but even Parks admits there were some adjustments he had to make to get used to the sport again.
“It’s just being outside and going from basketball to track, you’re conditioning is much different,” Parks said. “But you just keep pushing and pushing.”
Parks also looks at his competition for motivation. Defending State C 110 hurdle champ Benjamin Tuinstra of Valley Christian ranks just ahead of Parks in both hurdle races, so he’s using those marks to push himself to try and catch Tuinstra.
“Everything helps,” Parks said. “I want people to push me and I hope I push people as we keep going through the year.”
When it comes to team scores, Deer Lodge won on the boys side with 105 points. Seeley-Swan was second with 101.5 while Charlo was third with 81.
As last year’s State C meet, Noxon’s Levi Brubaker had a bit of a shock.
Coming into the final competition of the season, Brubaker stunned himself and his competition by besting his personal best triple jump by almost two feet as he leaped his way into winning the State C title.
“That meet was so major because I went in thinking if I jumped my best I might only get third or something like that,” he said during Friday’s meet. “I definitely surprised myself for sure. I guess I just felt the pressure and just showed up and met it.”
Now a senior for Noxon, expectations and goals are through the roof for Brubaker.
Brubaker currently eyes the State C triple jump record of 45-07.75 which was set by Columbus’ Greg Stene in 1976. His current personal best is 44-03, which won him last year’s state title.
“It’s a ways out there but I’m pretty excited to see how far I can go this season,” he said with a laugh.
Brubaker triple jumped 42 feet in his first attempt in the finals and opted to scratch his final two to conserve some energy for his later events. The way he saw it, he didn’t see himself going farther than what he’d done, so why not preserve some energy while having the lead and win comfortably in hand. Brubaker also took second in the long jump as Noxon took fourth as a team.
He admitted he did a workout on Thursday that he probably shouldn’t have which may have caused some fatigue. But Brubaker wants to preserve his body and health so he can peak at the right moment.
Brubaker, also a sprinter and long jumper for Noxon, said last year he focused on sprinting and running drills early before transitioning into more jumping-focused activities. This year, his coach has had him do more jumping drills earlier which in turn he hopes will improve his marks.
“I’m hoping to just continue to improve my PR of the 44-03, and hopefully I can eventually work up,” he said. “That’s my big goal.”
Imagine competing an entire sports season with your non-dominant hand.
That’s exactly what Arlee junior Peyton Lammerding did her freshman year. Naturally a lefty, Lammerding broke her wrist but didn't want to give track & field up that year. Shot put is her first love, so she opted to give the sport a, well, shot, with her opposite hand.
So last year, the southpaw was back to normal, and the results showed as she finished in second place at state in the shot put.
Now off to a fast start, Lammerding won the shot on Friday and has won at all three meets she's competed at this season. She said she also had shoulder surgery on her left shoulder back in September so she missed volleyball and basketball. But her patience is paying off in track & field.
"For me, it's always been about constantly improving on yourself," Lammerding said. "Don't worry about anyone else. As long as I keep doing that, I know I can make it as far as I need and want to. As long as I keep on improving on myself, I'll do it."
Lammerding can't throw javelin anymore because of her shoulder, but she took second in the discus on Friday as well.
Learning to throw shot with her right hand helped the junior improve more with her technique and mental focus in the sport.
"Honestly, just brushing my teeth with my right hand is kind of strange so to switch hands freshman year was hard," she said with a laugh. "I had a lot of great coaches who helped me through it."
Getting faster across the ring is the area Lammerding wants to improve the most this year. And with it, maybe take that next step to sitting atop the podium.
"Last year was totally surreal," Lammerding said. "This year, it's crazy but it's been fun so far."