CORVALLIS — Hamilton senior Jacob Campbell put on quite the show from the throwing pits at Corvallis' Bob Reed track and field meet on Saturday.
He drew mock applause and laughter when his discus caught a particularly nasty gust of wind on a blustery afternoon. The headwind turned Campbell's disc on its side causing the object to stick straight into the turf upon landing. It was an unusual sight.
The cheer of appreciation he received during his third and final shot put throw earlier on Saturday, though, was completely genuine.
And the roar rose after Campbell completed another rare feat.
The Hamilton senior launched a school record-breaking heave of 55 feet, 5 inches to win the day's shot put event. It broke a mark set back in the 1970s by two inches and gave Campbell the second best shot put distance in Class A — and the state of Montana.
"My team just started clapping for me and I just gave it my all on my last throw. I screamed, I let it out and almost scratched, but I kept it in," said Campbell, who also won the Discus event Saturday with a throw of 148-04. "The second I got off (the shot put ring) I fell on the ground. I couldn't believe it I was so happy. I just had to take a second to let it all sink in."
The 55-05 also helped Campbell hold off Corvallis' Garret Brown, who threw a still-impressive 53-09 to take second. Campbell's mark also leapfrogged Brown — who threw a 55-0 nine days ago — for the second-best toss in Montana.
The two seniors have simply been pushing each other each week.
"The way they push each other and force each other to step up each week is incredible," Hamilton throwing coach Chris Jessop said of the competition between Brown and Campbell. "To get in there and just to say 'I'm gonna let this one all hang out,' that's what this sport is all about and that's what makes it exciting."
Naturally a friendly rivalry has emerged between the boys, who essentially square off against each other each time they take to the shot put pit.
But both Campbell and Brown say the competition makes them better.
"Obviously there's the Hamilton-Corvallis rivalry, but throwing is a little bit different because we're all kind of friends and we cheer each other on," Brown said.
Added Campbell, "It's always just back and forth, back and forth. It pushed me to do better and it pushes him to do better."
That's a good thing for both Bitterroot throwers. Despite Campbell and Brown holding two of the best marks in Class A — and the state — they still both trail Sidney's Carter Hughes, whose 55-11.5 back on April 13 stands as the best shot this season at any classification.
While Campbell and Brown kept climbing the ranks with their throws, Corvallis' Dante Venema continued to catch big air in the pole vault. While the senior failed to reach his personal-best mark of 13 feet he set on Tuesday, he overcame a brutal crosswind to eclipse 12 feet, 6 inches.
The height gave Venema a first-place ribbon by two feet on Saturday and maintains a new minimum for the vaulter.
"Last year I didn't get 12-6 until the week before divisionals and I didn't jump it again," said Venema, who signed to wrestle at Dickinson State in North Dakota, and was also recently awarded a pole vaulting scholarship at the University, too. "But I got 12-6 two weeks ago and the next week 13, and then we're still at 12-6, so I'm getting this now every week."
Next for Venema is a new pole to help make 13 feet — and beyond — more consistently.
"We're starting to get ready to just go up-up-up," Corvallis coach Spencer Huls said. "We're almost ready to start moving poles up and that's going to really help him. He's always had that really explosive ability, but it might not have been really safe to move him up poles.
"Now we're getting (that consistency). I don't see why some (more) PR's aren't in his future here really soon."
Also flying high in the pole vault Saturday was Hamilton's Trey Searle, who tied Taetum Tresch of Corvallis for second in the event at 10 feet, 6 inches.
Searle is used to even scarier heights. Earlier Saturday, the Hamilton junior was soaring over a mile in the air.
Searle, who earned his pilot's license at 17, hopes to become a commercial pilot some day. He and his dad's early morning trip to Utah to pick up his sister from college helped Searle add to his nearly 200 hours in the air. A commercial pilot needs at a minimum 1,500 hours.
The windy day made for an interesting landing for Searle in the last hour, though, as he had to touchdown his four-seat plane in the same crosswind that tormented the track and field meet — one Searle was just in time for.
"It was 20 knots crosswinds, so you're just shaking a little bit. I was hoping I didn't have to divert to Missoula. It was a little scary," said Searle, who reached his destination on Hamilton's narrow runway at 10:30 a.m.
Searle wasn't the only one competing — and thriving — in the wind. Hamilton's Brynnli Poulsen won both the girls' 800-meter race and the 1,600, setting a PR in the four-lap event.
Even though gusty weather can often slow long distance runners by creating added drag, Poulsen's time of 5 minutes, 23.03 seconds was over 2 seconds faster than her previous best time.
"I was focused on getting those times coming around each lap," Poulsen said. "I was a second (off pace) the second lap so that third one I just really tried to work it and the fourth lap kind of just took care of itself."
Poulsen's run was all the more impressive because she held such a big lead Saturday and didn't have many competitors pushing her to the time. The sophomore, whose 5:23.03 is the second best mark in Class A this spring, won by over 30 seconds on Saturday.
The push for Poulsen came from the fact that she knows she's ultimately behind Polson's Bea Frissell. Frissell has the Class A's best time with a 5:08.99 and the Polson senior is also the reigning Class A cross country champion.
Poulsen finished second at the state cross country meet.
"I'm chasing her times for sure. I have a little distance to make up, but I can't wait to race her because I haven't had the opportunity (in track this season) yet," Poulsen said.
Others posting solid marks Saturday were Stevensville's Jazmine Jones, whose 120-07 javelin throw won her the event and moved the senior up to fourth in the Class A. Corvallis' Kailen Herbstritt also moved into fourth in Class A when she cleared 10 feet in the pole vault.