When Scott Palmer went out to work on the sand pits during the lunch hour the rain began to fall at its hardest. Standing water formed in several areas at the Belgrade Booster Club Track, and the Eastern A Divisional meet was scheduled to begin in a little over three hours.
Conditions were clearly not ideal.
“We had standing water out to lane 3. At that point we were a little worried. We looked online and saw that it was supposed to back off and it did,” Palmer, who is the boys’ coach at Belgrade, said. “The volunteer parents who came out with leaf blowers and brooms really pulled this off today. Because without the community support and everybody doing their part we wouldn’t have had this meet.”
The steady rain also caused some issues with the sensor on timing system forcing restarts to both heats of the boys’ 800-meter run. But things were eventually ironed out and Day 1 of the meet was held with a few minor changes.
The girls’ pole vault was moved indoors to Montana State University Friday night, while the boys’ portion of the event was moved to Saturday morning. The finals of the 200-meter dash were rescheduled to Saturday afternoon.
Outside of those events, everything else was held as planned, although athletes did have to make adjustments to the elements.
“Of course any time it rains the rings are going to be a little bit different, so kids are going to feel that end of it,” said Palmer. “But on the track end of it the times that were posted in the 100 still looked good.”
Custer County’s Keith Vanderlaan posted the top time in the preliminaries of the 100 with a time of 11.31 seconds. Belgrade’s Evan Major was second at 11.33.
There were just five finals for the track events, including the 800 and 3,200-meter runs for the boys. Laurel’s Levi Taylor won both events after posting times of 1:59.69 and 9:40.23, while Belgrade’s Samuel Nash set a personal best en route to a third place finish in the 3,200 in 10:31.18.
Laurel’s Grace Timm won the 1,600-meter run by six seconds after posting a time of 5:31.88.
Park County’s Jack Waddell won the boys’ 400-meter dash in 51.14, while Havre’s Loy Waid won the 400 for the girls in 1:01.69.
Belgrade’s Bella Pacheco placed fourth in the 400 in 1:02.91 and qualified for the finals of the 100 with a time of 13.34. The sophomore had quick turn around between the 100 and 400 with a less than 30-minute break.
“Actually it’s kind of nice to have a harder event after the short because it’s a nice warm up almost,” said Pacheco. “My legs were ready and I didn’t have to stress about it as much.”
Belgrade’s Gracey Carter posted the second-best time in the preliminaries of the 100 hurdles at 16.97 seconds and qualified for the finals, along with teammate Sarah Morris (4th, 17:49). It was also a personal best for Carter, who had been inching closer to 17-flat in recent weeks.
“I knew I could run 17 and at Butte (on April 27) I got 17.22, which was my personal record,” said Carter. “I four-stepped my last hurdle. I knew that if I would have three-stepped all of it I would have broke it. And that was really my goal for the rest of the season was just to get under 17.”
Carter capped the day by placing fifth in the javelin with a personal best mark of 105-06.50.
Fergus’ Kylie and Anna Zimmer finished 1-2 in the shot put with marks of 39-11.50 and 39-08, respectively.
Tate Bowler earned a runner up finish in the high jump after clearing 5-feet, 8-inches, while Belgrade teammate Dawson Logan was seventh (5-06).
Laurel’s boys built a 10-point lead over Fergus in the team standings, 46-36, while Laurel’s girls lead Hardin, 63-22. Belgrade’s boys are sixth with 14 points, while the girls are seventh with 7.
While Palmer noted he didn’t notice much of a change in times due to the conditions, athletes will again have to deal with wet weather Saturday with finals for 10 track events scheduled.
“Tomorrow will be the day when you tell,” he said. “When you have to run back-to-back days that’s when the training that you’ve been doing all season is revealed.”
Day 1 results: https://www.athletic.net/TrackAndField/meet/372303/results