LAUREL - Columbia Falls made its marks, but Corvallis isn't going away.
The defending champion Blue Devils cashed in two Jessop victories (Chris in the 3,200, Steven in the pole vault) and a 300-meter hurdles title from Slater Powell to take the first-day boys' lead at the State A track and field championships.
The wins were perhaps not unexpected: Powell's title was his second straight in that event, and Chris Jessop had the best distance times in the field.
The added points from Colby Henderson (third in the 800) and Luke Walden (second in the high jump) made the difference, at least Friday. Corvallis has 44 points after eight events.
Columbia Falls, riding second-place finishes from Jacob Hader in the hurdles, Derrick Williams in the 800 and Patric Jessat in the 400, sat in second with 27 points. Sidney was third at 23.
Lewistown led the girls' team race after six events with 28 points. Hamilton, with Misha Trotter winning the 1,600, was second at 25. Billings Central and Polson followed with 20.
On a cool day that was by turns drizzly and breezy, Powell may have had the best performance. He won the 300s in 38.95 seconds, not far off the Class A record of 38.48, set by Glendive's Brent Sampson 17 years ago.
He had trouble with two of the last three hurdles but still pulled away from Lewistown's Nick Kozub, who was disqualified after taking down three straight hurdles to finish.
"Kozub on the outside had me scared," said Powell. "He stayed right with me, and maybe was even a little bit ahead going into the stretch."
A head wind to start the race seemed to set up a strong finish for Powell.
"Usually the last stretch my legs are dead so I do 15 steps," he said. "Today they felt good, so I just 14-stepped all the way through."
Kozub's DQ moved Hader up from third, giving the deep Wildcats two more points.
"That's not going to help us," Powell noted.
The team race is in fact clear as mud. Sidney's Brady Sundheim was second in the long jump and won the high jump to spur the Eagles, but teammate Matt Harris scratched out of the 200 trials because they conflicted with the pole vault.
That event was moved to Friday to avoid what was a gloomy Saturday weather forecast.
Whitefish's Anto Daoud scorched the track to win the 400 in 49.53 seconds and then announced the Bulldogs were far from finished.
"We'll get a bunch of points tomorrow," said the senior, who has the 100 and 200 Saturday. "We've got a lot of promising runners. Derek (Crittendon) has a good chance for getting second in the 110s (hurdles). We've got me and Iaian (Cameron) in the hundees. We'll have a nice solid team for tomorrow."
Corvallis still has Chris Jessop, who dominated a junior-laden 3,200 field that included Belgrade's Joey Vaughn. Jessop won in 9:58.27; Vaughn was second at 10:03.32.
"Joey beat me in cross country, and I wasn't going to let him get me again," said Jessop, who has the 1,600 Saturday. "I will admit I was scared of him, because he has this finishing kick that is just insane."
Jessop had the kick Friday.
"It was a fast race," he said. "I felt really, really good for the first six laps and just picked it up the last two."
Hamilton's Trotter similarly won the 1,600, riding the heels of Glendive's Nocona Frame and then easing into a sizable lead on the third lap.
"Mostly I tried to get out quick, and whoever took the lead I was hoping to stay with them," said Trotter, who will go for her third state 800 title Saturday. "Nocona set a great pace."
Trotter came back to finish fourth in the 400.
"That wasn't very fun, but I gave it my all," said Trotter, who ran 60.01.
It was a tough field. Billings Central's Marissa Stanton ran 58.68 to beat Corvallis' Paige Squire (59.09) and Polson's Nicole Davey (59.58) for the title.
Squire will defend her state titles in the 300 hurdles and 200 Saturday.
Belgrade's Lindsey Halgren defending her shot put title Friday, helping the 2009 state champion Panthers to 16 points. Polson's Loni Havlovick was second in the shot; teammate Mesa Starkey was fifth in the 1,600.
Frenchtown's Tasha Huset lost out on a second high jump title by an inch. Lewistown sophomore McCalle Feller cleared 5-foot-4 to win.
Stevensville's Brekka Johnson, saddled with a sore quadriceps all spring, came through with her second straight long jump title. The senior, who along with Trotter has signed with Idaho State's track and field team, marked 16-4 on her first jump, which was good enough to win (Hamilton's Kelsi Almond was second at 16-3.75). Then she went 17-1 on her fourth jump.
"I haven't done any sprints, and I've jumped the least amount I can get away with," said Johnson. "And that's as far as I've ever jumped. So I'm happy."
She'll defend her triple jump state title Saturday.
State A track meet
Team scores (through eight events): Corvallis 44, Columbia Falls 27, Sidney 23, Belgrade 21, Dillon 20, Billings Central 15, Lewistown 15, Hamilton 15, Libby 10, Whitefish 10, Butte Central 9, Ronan 8, Havre 6, Frenchtown 5, Miles City 4, Glendive 4, Livingston 4, Polson 4.
400 - Anto Daoud, Whi, 49.53; Patric Jessat, CF, 50.78; Matt Thibault, Bel, 50.85; Garrett Long, Bel, 51.35; Brett Weidler, Lau, 51.6; Nathan Francis, Fre, 52.35.
800 - Caleb Bentley, Lew, 1:58.62; Derrick Williams, CF, 1:58.79; Colby Henderson, Cor, 1:59.33; Colter Bull, Pol, 2:00.9; Brett Weidler, Lau, 2:01.19; Tucker White, BilC, 2:02.45.
3,200 - Chris Jessop, Cor, 9:58.27; Joey Vaughn, Bel, 10:03.32; Mikey Wall, BilC, 10:04.17; Monte Cole, Liv, 10:09.71; Tucker White, BilC, 10:16.69; Shawn Whitman, CF, 10:19.81.
300 hurdles - Slater Powell, Cor, 38.95; Jacob Hader, CF, 41.0; Kody Berget, Lib, 41.09; Brady Baughman, Fre, 41.95; Jordan Franklin, Ron, 41.98; Jesse Dickson, Bel, 42.83.
Shot put - Monte Folsom, Dil, 51-2½; Sean Ferriter, ButC, 5-0; Cody Sellers, Ham, 49-6; Jarrod Grasby, MC, 49-6; Zac Rossman, Bel, 49-5; Jonathan Richards, ButC, 48-11.
High jump - Brady Sundheim, Sid, 6-2; Luke Walden, Cor, 6-2; Jordan Franklin, Ron, 6-0; Nick Kozub, Lew, 6-0; Kodiak Gimbel, CF, 5-10; Dace Moerkurky, 5-10.
Long jump - Kenzie McGrath, Dil, 20-9¼; Brady Sundheim, Sid, 20-6; Cole Cattelan, BilC, 20-4¼; Tyler Troy, Lib, 20-4; Matt Harris, Sid, 20-4; Bo Descheemaeker, Lew, 20-3¾.
Pole vault - Steven Jessop, Cor, 13-6; Dillon Wood, Ham, 13-0; Layne Waid, Hav, 13-0; Brett Stinnett, Gle, 13-0; Matt Harris, Sid, 13-0; Jordan Nesper, Sid, 12-6.
Team scores (through six events): Lewistown 28, Hamilton 25, Billings Central 20, Polson 20, Belgrade 16, Ronan 12, Stevensville 10½, Dillon 10, Glendive 10, Corvallis 8, Frenchtown 8, Laurel 6, Browning 4, Anaconda 2, Libby 2, Whitefish 2, Butte Central 1, Sidney 1, Columbia Falls ½.
400 - Marissa Stanton, BilC, 58.68; Paige Squire, Cor, 59.09; Nicole Davey, Pol, 59.58; Misha Trotter, Ham, 1:00.01; Jackie Elliott, BilC, 1:00.58; Bry Gordon, Ham, 1:01.7.
1,600 - Misha Trotter, Ham, 5:18.05; Nocona Frame, Gle, 5:18.51; Brook Rodgers, Lew, 5:23.64; Sammy Elliott, BilC, 5:26.61; Mesa Starkey, Pol, 5:26.69; Carly Schwickert, Whi, 5:32.16.
Javelin - Greer Crabtree, Dil, 138-4; McCalle Feller, Lew, 129-8; Lindsey Halgren, Bel, 125-2; Tayler Eubank, BilC, 120-0; Malia Estes, Ana, 113-0; Olivia Nagler, Whi, 111-2.
Shot put - Lindsey Halgren, Bel, 40-0; Loni Havlovick, Pol, 39-9; Emylee Colling, Lau, 36-11½; Natasha Lafferty, Pol, 36-11; Larrysa Mannin, Gle, 36-1½; Whitney Leuenberger, Sid, 25-11½.
High jump - McCalle Feller, Lew, 5-4; Tasha Huset, Fre, 5-3; Adessa Durglo, Ron, 5-2; Kiera Bulluck, Lew, 5-0; Chancey Auge, Lib, 5-0; Molly Brewer, Ste, 5-0; Delsey DeWit, CF, 5-0.
Long jump - Brekka Johnson, Ste, 17-1½; Kelsi Almond, Ham, 16-3¾; Adessa Durglo, Ron, 16-3; Marti Eaglefeathers, 15-10½; Kelsey Brangoccio, Ham, 15-9; Mollie McIntyre, ButC, 15-6½.