HELENA — Elena Carter and Hannah Rohrer-Fitzhugh first met when they were 3 years old. Their two families live right around the corner from each other, and Elena and Hannah have been best friends ever since.
They began attending class together in preschool. Over the next 14 years, there were only two school years — grades 4 and 5 — that Elena and Hannah were not in the same class. The two girls have shared just about everything since they were 3, including thousands of smiles and laughs, and hundreds of hours of special times together.
On Thursday, the two Capital High seniors shared another special moment, when they both signed their collegiate athletic commitments at the same time in the CHS Library.
Carter, a record-setting track and field athlete for the Bruins, received a scholarship to attend Montana State. Distance runner Rohrer-Fitzhugh will attend Salt Lake City's Westminster College on a cross country and track scholarship.
As a junior at the state meet last spring, Carter set three school records while capturing one championship, a runners-up placing and a third-place medal.
She won the long jump title with a leap of 18-8 1/2, and was part of the second-place 400 relay (with Melissa Moreni, Abigail Harmon and Audrey Bloomquist), in 49.15 seconds. In the prelims of the 100 hurdles, she qualified for the finals with a time of 14.81.
All three marks were CHS records, and took place in just over two hours.
Carter hit a hurdle in the finals and placed third, but still posted a team-high 18 points. She was later selected the IR’s Female Track & Field Athlete of the Year.
“I chose Montana State because I like the team, I like the coaching, and my dad went to school there … we’re all big ‘Cat fans,” she said with a grin, reluctantly admitting that yes, she had received letters from nearly three dozen colleges with offers.
Carter, whose parents are Lee and Rene’ (Strong) Carter, carries a 3.5 GPA. She said she’s unsure of her studies at this point, but is “leaning toward psychology.”
Fitzhugh-Rohrer was Capital’s No. 2 cross country runner this year. Her best race took place at Missoula’s prestigious Mountain West Classic, where she placed 33rd among 324 runners with a clocking of 19:57.
At the Capital City 7 of 7, she placed eighth in Race 2 in 20:15, before finishing 45th at the state meet.
Last spring on the track, Rohrer-Fitzhugh captured the crosstown 3,200 run and later qualified for the state meet in the both the 1,600 and 3,200.
“It was an easy choice, there was nowhere else I’d rather be,” she answered, when asked about going to Westminster. “I like Salt Lake, and they have a nice coach. They also have a good teaching program.”
Rohrer-Fitzhugh, who sports a 3.93 GPA and also received a Presidential academic scholarship, said she’s interested in pursuing a double major in education and general sciences.
Hannah is the daughter of Andy Fitzhugh, who also attended Westminster “for a little bit,” and Rebecca Rohrer-Fitzhugh.