Here's a look at the State C track and field meet at Missoula County Public Stadium on Friday and Saturday.
Defending team champs: Scobey (boys), Seeley-Swan (girls)
Returning individual champs: Fairview's Paul Hardy (discus), Charlo's Carlee Fryberger (100, 100 hurdles), Seeley-Swan's Sariah Maughan (1,600) and Seeley-Swan's Klaire Kovatch (discus).
Overview: When Class C track teams left Laurel in May 2019, the Scobey boys had earned their first track title in 25 years and just the second in school history. On the girls' side, Seeley-Swan earned their eighth overall and first since 2014. However after a year without competition, the field looks quite a bit different as the only returning champions earned their titles as sophomores.
Fryberger could face challengers in the sprints from West Yellowstone junior Emilie Collins and Savage freshman Brooke Reuter. Collins posted PRs in both the 100 and 200 in the last two weeks to carry the top times so far this season into the state meet, but Reuter has been challenging for most of the season.
The hurdle events will feature two of the busiest athletes of the meet in Fryberger and Hinsdale senior Kaitlyn McColly. McColly has been perfect in both the hurdles so far and Fryberger has posted just one runner-up finish in the 300 hurdles this season amongst her multiple events. At the Eastern C divisional, McColly posted four first-place finishes in both hurdles races, long jump, pole vault and a runner-up finish in the triple jump.
Seeley-Swan's Maughan currently holds the top times in the 400 and 1,600, but Belt junior Lindsey Paulson is also looking to post strong performances in the 400, 800, 1,600 and 3,200 with top three times in Class C in each of those races. Paulson is the 2020 Class C cross country champion, but Maughan won the 2018 Class C cross country crown.
Seeley-Swan's Kovatch is the two-time defending discus champion and is bound for Colorado State next fall. Kovatch, who due to the cancelled season won't get a chance to be a four-time champion, would still like to go out on top and leads the current marks in Class C by nearly 20 feet in her signature event.
On the boys side, Seeley-Swan's Walker McDonald leads the fields in both the shot put and discus and has for most of the season, but Fairview's Hardy holds the second-best mark so far this season in the discus and is the defending champion.
Fort Benton has a pair of jumpers who lead the fields in Nick Marais (long jump) and Hayden Diekhans (triple jump).
Twin Bridges senior Tate Smith comes in with the top times in both hurdles events.
And current Class C cross country champion Samuel Smith (Richey-Lambert) has posted the top times in both the 1,600 and 3,200. He's also second in the 800. However, Manhattan Christian brings in their contingent of distance runners hoping to challenge led by freshman Oren Arthun.
Record watch: Seeley-Swan's Kovatch boasts a discus season best of 159 feet, 3 inches. That mark already tops both the current Class C and all-class records, but state records are only recognized by the MHSA if they are set at the state meet. She'll need to surpass 154-11 for the Class C record and 157-0 for the all-class record in order to etch her name in the record books.
Charlo's Fryberger has also posted a PR better than the current state record in the 100 hurdles by winning the western divisional last week in 14.76. There are two Class C girls 100 hurdles records still on the books due to a difference in timing systems held by Harlowton's Erin Jones at 14.92 and a hand-time measurement of Manhattan Christian's Blythe Hommes 14.8. If Fryberger runs a race like last week, she could walk away as the sole possessor of that record.
A pair of Fort Benton long jumpers could also be taking aim at records. Marais posted a mark at the end of April just one inch shy of the Class C boys long jump record of 22-5.5 set by Tyler Bucklin of Outlook in 1995. Aspen Giese's best this season is also just three and a half inches shy of the shared Class C girls record of 17-7.5 held by Fran Peterson (Alberton) and Nicole Stroot (Superior).