BUTTE – The Class B state track and field meet will culminate in Butte this weekend, with individual and team champions being crowned at Bulldog Memorial Stadium.
Jefferson (boys) and Big Timber (girls) both enter the weekend as two-time defending champions looking for a three-peat. Jefferson won last year’s title by 23 points over runner-up Missoula Loyola and Big Timber ran away with the trophy, defeating runner-up Colstrip by 33 points.
The Jefferson boys will be in the midst of a highly-contested team title race that will include Missoula Loyola, Bigfork, Florence-Carlton and Townsend.
Big Timber’s chances at a third consecutive state crown appear slimmer on the girls’ side. Huntley Project enters the meet as the odds-on favorite with Missoula Loyola in the mix as well.
The full schedule of the events can be found here and for a guide to the 2023 Class B track and field meet, continue below:
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Defending team champions: Jefferson (boys), Big Timber (girls)
Returning individual champions: After seniors dominated the 2022 Class B meet, returning individual champions are few and far between.
The lone 2022 champion on the boys’ side is Huntley Project’s Luke Donally (pole vault). Last year, Donally’s mark of 14 feet, 6 inches was enough to win the title. Donally hit that same mark at the divisional meet last weekend and is poised to add another state title to his accolades.
Four defending champions return to the girls’ meet with a repeat on their minds. Missoula Loyola’s Isabelle Berry will be looking for another title in the 200-meter dash, while going for her first titles in the 100-meter dash, 100-meter hurdles and 300-meter hurdles.
Jefferson’s Renae Parker (3,200), Shepherd’s Ashley Carroll (javelin) and Conrad’s Breauna Erickson (pole vault) will also be looking for consecutive state titles.
The Class B track and field boys’ state title is up in the air, with about five teams in the mix. Jefferson is the favorite according to montanatrack.com, projected 72 points and 11 top-six finishes.
For the Panthers to win their third consecutive state title, Dylan Root’s performance will be key. Root will be a serious contender to win titles in both the 110 and 300-meter hurdles. Luke Mest (1,600 and 3,200) and Dalton Noble (shotput and discus) are also expected to compete for individual titles for Jefferson. A strong performance in the 4x100 relay could put the Panthers in position for a three-peat.
Just like last year, Jefferson will need to hold off Missoula Loyola. The Rams are projected 12 top-six finishes and have the depth to contend for the state title. Luca Dombrowski, Tytus Palma and Beau Meyer all have a chance to place in two different events.
Bigfork also has an opportunity in the boys’ meet, in part to the success of Jack Jensen. Jensen is looking for state titles in both the 800 and 1,600-meters. Levi Peterson will also be a contributor for Bigfork in the long jump and triple jump.
Other contenders for the boys’ state title include Florence-Carlton and Townsend. Dawson Sweat will have a busy weekend for Townsend, competing in the 100 and 200-meter dashes along with the 300-meter hurdles and long jump.
For the girls’ meet, Huntley Project enters the final weekend of the season with high expectations. According to montanatrack.com, the Red Devils are projected 12 placers and 77 points, 23 higher than next on the list, Missoula Loyola.
Avery Gerdes is a huge reason for Huntley Project’s projection. Gerdes will be a legitimate contender in the 400-meters and 800-meters, along with high jump and triple jump. Brynn Wandle is another difference maker for the Red Devils, competing in the 100-meter dash and pole vault.
Missoula Loyola will need an impressive weekend to claim a state title. Berry returns to defend her 200-meter dash title and will also contend in the 100-meter dash, 100 meter hurdles and 300 meter hurdles. Ireland Johnston will be contending in both the 400-meters and 800-meters for Missoula Loyola.
Despite any expectations or projections, Big Timber still has hope to complete the three-peat. The Sheepherders are projected the third-highest point total. Natalie Wood will be a threat in the 800, 1,600 and 3,200-meters.
The Class B boys state track meet is scheduled to start on Thursday night with the pole vault at 5 p.m. The field events start on Friday at 9 a.m., followed by running events at 10:30 a.m. The second day will start at the same times and the meet will wrap up on Saturday with the 1,600-meter relay at 3:45 p.m.
Gavin Derkatch is a sports reporter for the Montana Standard. Follow him on Twitter @GDerkatch or email him firstname.lastname@example.org
In this Series
2023 State Track
State AA track: 'Special' Helena High girls team repeats; Capital, Gallatin share boys title
State A track: One's enough: Corvallis dramatically wins both titles by a single point
State B track: Jefferson boys three-peat, Missoula Loyola girls take first
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