MISSOULA — Rylan Ortt was just as shocked as anyone.
The Missoula Sentinel senior had no clue what he'd just done in the javelin, other than earn a personal best. In his second throw on Saturday afternoon, Ortt uncorked a toss that went 198 feet, 6 inches that eventually earned him a win at the MCPS Invite at Missoula County Stadium.
But Ortt earned more than just a win with that throw. According to athletic.net, as of Saturday evening, Ortt ranked No. 5 in the country for high school javelin throwers with that toss, replacing Teagun Glenn (197-01) of Albuquerque Academy in New Mexico at that spot. He ranks just behind the No. 4 thrower in Ty Hampton (198-11) of North Bend in Oregon.
But when asked about his throw, Ortt's surprise was evident as he learned just how impressive his throw was.
"There's a lot of great throwers, especially kids who get to throw longer than us in Texas and California and places like that," Ortt said about his placing. "It's pretty cool. We'll see how long it stands."
Ortt said his form and everything on that throw just seemed to click, providing that result. His previous best was 194-04, which he completed at the Western AA Divisional meet last year. His previous best this season was 173-06.
"I didn't realize (that) when it left my hand. It just felt loose and kind of easy almost," Ortt explained. "I was surprised that it flew that far but I was pretty happy when I saw it.
"I'm happy I hit it early in the season but I've got some work to do and hopefully I can hit that at state and divisional where it really matters."
Ortt, who was a two-year starter at quarterback for the Spartans, was the runner-up a year ago at the State AA meet in the javelin. He signed with Montana State for football back in February.
His throw and victory on Saturday helped propel the Spartans to a team win on the boys side with 129.50 points. Kalispell Flathead was second with 90 while Frenchtown finished third with 79.50.
Elias Dewaters gave the Spartans a win in the triple jump while Brandon Spencer added a victory in the discus. Jace DeWalt, Logan Fischer, Payton Ater and John Quindry added multiple placements to round out the win.
Flathead's girls took the team victory, edging out Big Sky 119 to 117. Hellgate rounded out the top three with 84.50.
Big Sky's girls led for most of the afternoon but Flathead took over the top spot after a pair of placings in the 3,200 from Hannah Perrin and Sadie Wilson. Big Sky's 1,600-relay team comprised of Sabryn Knight, Madison Edwards, Makenna Edwards and Whitney Morrison, won in convincing fashion to end the meet, but the Eagles fell just short of the Bravettes. Jessica Barnhart won the 100 and ran the anchor on Flathead's 400-relay team while Tori Noland-Gillespie won in the 800.
Isabella Reed won in the pole vault to pace Big Sky while Sentinel's Ashley McElmurry was the meet's lone double-winner in individual events on the girls side, walking away with victories in the 100 hurdles and triple jump. Ember Stratton won the 1,600 for Hellgate while Abby Kendrick was victorious in the 3,200 and Piper Pfister took first in the javelin.
Flathead distance running standout Ben Perrin was every bit as advertised on Saturday. Perrin opened the day with a win in the 3,200 in the first event on the track and followed that up with a victory in the 1,600 as well. Perrin, who won the Gatorade boys cross country award in the fall and is signed to Montana State, currently owns the fastest times in Class AA in both events.
"I'm just kind of working on speed and getting miles," Perrin, the reigning 3,200 champion, said. "It helps winning races (like today) against a good group of guys to build confidence.
"We've had a lot of meets so far. We had like four meets in 12 days. So we're getting back into the feel of racing and going hard in practice. We're trying to build up our speed every week and get better every race."
Frenchtown sophomore Jace Klucewich also filled the stat sheet on a busy day. He won the 100-meter dash, ran a leg on both winning relay teams and placed second in the 200 and long jump. But there's one moment in Klucewich's mind that always drives him each day in track.
As a freshman last year, Klucewich false-started in the 100 at the State A meet. This year he's determined not to let that happen again.
"I just got the freshman jitters and jumped the gun," he said with a laugh. "It's been a fuel (this year). I use that for motivation.
"I definitely feel stronger this year. I put on a couple pounds but it's all in muscle and I'm just running hard."