SHERIDAN — The 55th annual Billings Invitational track and field meet was held Friday at Billings West High School.
Boys and girls from Sheridan High School, Tongue River High School and Big Horn High School all attended to compete against 18 other schools from across the region.
SHS had a strong showing at the highly competitive meet with a couple top finishers and a few state qualifying times.
Senior Shayla Christensen beat her personal best throw to take first place in the girls shot put challenge, throwing an even 39 feet.
Maddy McClure broke out fast and held the lead, claiming first in the girls 400-meter dash with a time of 1 minute 9.19 seconds.
Aaron Campbell returned to hurdles for the first time in two years after an injury early in his sophomore season took him out of the event. His injury was obviously a thing of the past as he took second in the 110-meter hurdles with a state qualifying time of 15.38.
The girls 4X400 relay team also had a state qualifying run after shaving 5 seconds off from their time last week. Freshman Peyton Bomar, sophomore Janika Sweeney, junior Gabby Edeen and senior anchor McClure took third place with a time of 4:13.72.
Next week the boys and girls of SHS have two large meets at home.
On Tuesday at 1 p.m. the annual Border War comes to town as eight teams gather for the Gary Benson meet.
Skyview, Senior and West High Schools out of Billings will face Wyoming schools SHS, Natrona County, Kelly Walsh, Campbell County and Cody.
“It will be more competitive than the state track meet,” head coach Art Baures said. “There are very good athletes on each team and it will be a great chance for the people of Sheridan to see a talented day of track and field.”
Saturday the Broncs will host their invitational, the Dan Hansen Invitational, for a total of 13 teams at home.
“The Billings Invitational was a perfect meet to get us ready to compete at a very high level on our home track this week,” Baures said.
Tongue River Eagles
Though Tongue River did not have anyone place in the top eight at the Billings event, two runners came very close and head coach Chuck Walters said they all had a great meet. Jared McCafferty missed prequalifying in the 3200-meter by a mere second. LeeAnna Mitchell came close to getting into the finals in both the 100- and 200-meter races.
“It was tough for us to place because we were competing against some pretty good schools but in all we had a good day,” Walters said.
“A lot of our runners improved on their personal times which is what we look for every week.”
The next run for the Eagles will be Saturday at SHS for the Dan Hansen Invitational.
“I think by going to Billings a lot of our athletes got nervous with the size of the meet,” Walters said, “so hopefully that’s out of their system and we can get back to working on technique.”
“We had a great meet,” head coach Kirk McLaughlin said. “We had a lot of personal records set and we were one of the smaller schools at this big meet so I thought our kids stepped up and did a great job.”
Among the top finishers was Bailey Bard who took fifth in the girls 300-meter hurdles with a time of 49.31.
Ashley Fox also earned a fifth place finish, running the 200-meter dash in just 27.56 seconds.
In the 100-meter hurdles, Jadyn Mirich’s 17.7 second run earned her seventh place.
“Our girls team as a whole is looking pretty good and our boy throwers continue to improve,” McLaughlin said. “We had four boys throw over 40 feet in shot put which is pretty awesome, especially for a smaller school.”
Big Horn boys and girls will also join the Dan Hansen on Saturday at SHS, and they say they look forward to a meet that feels like a home game to them.
“It is another big meet with a lot of big schools but we don’t worry about that type of thing,” McLaughlin said. “We just go in and do our best and since we feel like we’re headed to a home meet I think we’ll do well.”