Once you had to search long and hard to find out how Montana track and field athletes rank among their national peers. But no more.
Dyestat offers extensive national rankings for both outdoor and indoor high school track. The top 30 or so athletes in each event are updated every Friday.
Bree Fuqua of Polson ranks second nationally in the girls' discus at 156 feet, 9 inches, roughly 4 1/2 feet behind Jill Camarena of Woodland, Calif., and Andrea Batt of Frenchtown is fourth in the girls' javelin at 144-0. The leader is Denita Miller of Liberal, Kan., at 159-11.
The rankings have their flaws. The current shot put rankings don't include Batt's 45-1/2 effort at the Missoula Invitational, which would rank her eighth in the nation. (Fuqua's long discus throw was accomplished at the Missoula Invitational, and is reflected in the rankings. Go figure.).
They also don't include two other Montanans who should rank near the top - Julie Penner of Helena, whose 11-9 pole vault would put her in the top 15, and a 213-8 javelin throw by Billings Skyview's Jason Swenson, who would be third. The national leader is Rob Cochran of Rogers, R.I., at 214-8.
The boys' rankings do include Kalispell teammates Kevin Clary and David Vidal, who are sixth and 20th, respectively, in the boys' 2-mile based on their performances a few weeks ago at Arcadia, Calif.
Some other odds and ends, gleaned from the latest boys' rankings:
- The nation's fastest 200-meter sprinter resides a few hours away in Spokane, Wash. Anthony Buchanan ranks first on the list with a 20.94 clocking.
- Alan Webb of Reston, Va., is the country's top miler, at 4:05.02.
- Kevin Opalka of Edmond, Okla., leads the country with a 17-1 pole vault, roughly six inches higher than his nearest competitor.
- Mark Bradley of Pine Bluff, Ark., holds the high jump lead at 7-4. Some of us can remember when that height would've easily won an Olympic gold medal.
Dyestat also allows surfers to link up with results and rankings from all 50 states. There are also message boards and links to other high school Web sites around the country, some general, some specific. One site is devoted to Texas six-man football - but that's a story for another day.
It might seem self-explanatory, but the Montana High School Association has released guidelines on what constitutes an "open gym." Coaches and schools cannot be involved in out-of-season practice for athletes, except from June 1 to July 31.
Open gyms do not violate MHSA rules under these circumstances:
- The open gym is open to any youngster who is interested in attending.
- There is no instruction during the open gym, whether by a coach or anyone else.
- Coaches may supervise open gyms, but they may not instruct, organize drills, etc., or participate with the students.
- There is no organized competition, such as established teams participating in round-robin competitions.
- Attendance isn't mandatory.
The MHSA further emphasizes that the philosophy of the open gym is that youngsters can attend for "wholesome recreation" or for "purposes of improving their skills," but it is something they do on their own.
Senior guard Matt Luedtke of Ronan and junior center John Seyfert of Stevensville were among the 10 players chosen to the Great Falls Tribune's Super-State boys' basketball team, which ran in Sunday's edition.
The 6-3 Luedtke, one of the state's top 3-point shooters, has signed with the University of Montana, while the 6-8 Seyfert is expected to receive plenty of Division I recruiting attention.
Luedtke, guard Kane Ioane of Billings Skyview and center Conor Molloy of Helena were the only seniors on the team, which was chosen in consultation with high school and college coaches. Both Molloy (Montana) and Ioane (Montana State) have accepted college football scholarships.
Rounding out the team were three junior guards, Kevin Criswell of Colstrip, Jess Davidson of Cut Bank and Jeff Graham of Chester, and three sophomores: 6-6 Mike Chavez of Heart Butte, 6-0 Justin Hartman of Great Falls Russell, and 6-6 Davey Iverson of Winnett. Hartman, Criswell and Chavez led their teams to state championships.
Another area basketball player has been invited to compete in the USA Junior Nationals Championship Sports Festival. Big Sky junior guard Nick Grenfell was chosen for the event, July 10-16 at Madison, Wis. He is among athletes who advanced from 37 one-day competitions held throughout the country.
Around the state: Kaila Fowler's two-out double in the top of the 13th inning drove in the game's only runs as Great Falls blanked cross-town rival Great Falls Russell 2-0 to take the Eastern AA softball lead. It was CMR's first loss of the season. Joey Ehnes outdueled CMR star Lindsey Graham in a showdown of the two of the state's top pitchers. The two runs by the Bison were the first earned runs given up by Graham in 38 innings of work this season. … Jenny Balgua had two hits and three RBIs as Billings Senior improved to 6-0 with a 10-5 Eastern AA softball win over cross-town rival Billings West. … The two-time defending Class C champ Harlowton girls and defending Class B champ Roundup boys captured titles at the prestigious Huntley Project Invitational track meet. The Harlowton girls won 13 of 17 events en route to 176 points, more than three times the total of runner-up Roundup. The Roundup boys scored 108 points, while Class C power Park City was second with 89. … The defending state Class C champion Kremlin-Gildford boys rolled to an easy victory at the Rocky Boy Invitational track meet. The KouGars' 147 points was 48 more than runner-up Centerville.
Coming up: The second annual Western Montana Top 10 track meet is Tuesday afternoon at Missoula Big Sky. The prestigious Stone Invitational is Saturday at Frenchtown. … Sentinel and Hellgate square off at McCormick Park in a cross-town softball game Tuesday, and Sentinel travels to Big Sky on Wednesday. The Frenchtown Invitational softball tournament is Friday and Saturday.
(Rial Cummings can be reached at 523-5255 or by e-mail at email@example.com)