LAUREL — Allexander Kosel doesn’t have to look far for his athletic motivation.
Just right across the dinner table at his mother.
Tessie Bertolino holds all the jumping records at Roberts.
Her son would like to put his name alongside his mom’s someday.
Kosel doesn’t have any records yet, but he did get a state championship Saturday at the State C track and field meet at the Laurel Sports Complex.
Kosel won the state high jump championship by being the only competitor to clear 6-2.
“I’m really happy about today,” said the likable junior. “Last year, I jumped all year and all of a sudden, it’s state.
“This year, I was able to come here without psyching out.”
Kosel almost went out at 6 feet before clearing 6-2 on his second attempt.
During the final series of jumps, there was much encouragement and advice handed out among the remaining competitors.
“It’s just a good group of guys,” said Kosel.
Kosel added a second place in the long jump and third in the triple jump. He also ran a leg on Roberts’ 1,600 relay.
And along with now being a defending state champion, Kosel has another reason to push himself next year.
“She has all the records in the jumps,” said the son. “I’d like to get some records up there along with hers. But I still have a ways to go.
“My mom is very encouraging. I’ll come back after jumping and say, ‘I should have done better.’ And she’ll tell me, ‘You did just fine.’ She always has good words for me.”
True team effort for Fort Benton
Fort Benton didn’t ride the efforts of just one or two athletes on the way to the girls’ Class C state title.
The Longhorns had seven girls earn important points in 16 of 17 events.
“We kind of nickel and dimed our way,” said Fort Benton coach Kevin Shaw.
The Longhorns had two champions: Kaitlyn Bird in the 1,600 on Friday and Maddy Thompson in the 100 on Saturday.
Bird’s surprise win — she dropped 17 seconds off her previous best time — was the Longhorns’ catalyst for the rest of the weekend.
“She’s our senior. Kaitlyn got us going. She’s done that all year,” Shaw said.
Bird also ran in what many consider the most difficult double-double, competing in both the 800 meters and the 300 hurdles.
She placed third in the 800 and fourth in the long hurdles.
“Nobody does that double,” said Shaw, working up a small smile. “What was I thinking?”
Bird also ran a leg on Fort Benton’s fourth-place 1,600 relay.
Thompson keeps titles in the family
Jessica Thompson didn’t get the marks she wanted, but the Plains junior was able to keep the shot put and discus titles in the family.
Her older sister Leah won both events last year, setting an all-class record in the discus with a throw of 154 feet, 11 inches.
Leah had only one request of her sister for this year’s meet.
“All my sister said was, “Give me a year and I’ll be OK,’ " said Jessica Thompson.
Leah Thompson won’t have to worry. Her record is safe for another season.
Jessica Thompson won the discus with 124-11 and the shot put with 38-6.5, both slightly below season bests. She was the top seed in both events (125-1, 38-8).
“I wanted to do better than I did before but I did not,” Thompson said. “I wanted to PR (personal record) in both but I did not. There is a little pressure for next year.”