Spring sports are under way across western Montana, and despite the lingering cold weather, athletes across multiple sports have found their footing and are excelling.
This week, we have three track and field competitors, one athlete who participated in both softball and track, and two tennis players nominated for our Prep Athletes of the Week.
Each week, we nominate an equal number of boys and girls for our “Prep Athletes of the Week.” Readers will be able to vote for one boy and one girl in polls that appear by noon Monday at Missoulian.com. Voting will be open through 6 p.m. Wednesday.
The winners will be published in the Missoulian’s Prep Extra section each Thursday.
Here are this week’s nominees:
Sentinel sophomore Lauren Heggen helped the Spartans win the team title at the 32-team MCPS Invitational on Saturday. She broke a 14-year-old record in the triple jump, won the 100-meter high hurdles and was on the winning 400-meter relay team. She also placed third in the long jump and was sixth in the 100-meter dash. She had a state-qualifying mark in four events, the exception being the 100-meter dash. At Tuesday's quad, she won the 100-meter high hurdles and the triple jump, and was third in the 100-meter dash and the long jump.
Plains senior Jessica Thompson starred on the softball diamond and at her track and field meet this past week. She threw a one-hit shutout, struck out eight and had two hits of her own in Tuesday’s 11-0 win over Thompson Falls. At Saturday’s MCPS Invitational, she won the shot put with a state-qualifying throw. She placed second in the discus with a throw that was one inch short of the winner but still qualified her for the state tournament. She was also sixth in the javelin throw.
Corvallis No. 1 singles player Olivia Fehr went undefeated and posted a near-perfect week. She won all three of her matches, didn’t drop a set and lost only two games. She opened up with a 6-0, 6-0 win against Ronan on Tuesday. She then registered a 6-0, 6-0 victory over Darby later that same day. On Friday, she posted a 6-2, 6-0 win against Stevensville. Corvallis won all three of its matches during the week.
Glacier senior Ethan Larson helped the Wolfpack beat out 31 other teams to win the MCPS Invitational on Saturday. He won the 100-meter dash and the 200-meter dash, posting state-qualifying times of 11.14 seconds and 22.67 seconds, respectively. He was also part of the 400-meter relay team that won with a state-qualifying time of 43.36 seconds.
Valley Christian’s Trey Christiaens started off the spring with a strong week on the tennis courts. He won all three of his No. 1 singles matches by sweeping his opponents in straight sets. On Tuesday, he beat Anaconda 6-0, 6-0 in Valley Christian’s win. His 6-0, 6-0 win on Thursday was key in helping the Eagles pull out a 4-3 win over Ronan. Later that day, he earned a 6-4, 6-0 victory in a 4-1 win over Bigfork.
Libby’s Jay Beagle helped the Loggers pull out a first-place finish at the Libby Invite on Saturday. He won the 100-meter dash in 11.87 seconds. He finished first in the 200-meter dash, crossing the line in 24.10 seconds. He also took first in the 400-meter dash with a time of 52.57 seconds. He was even a member of the group that won the 1,600-meter relay.