Championship Pose

Manhattan’s boys track and field team won their third straight state Class B championship Saturday in Butte.

BUTTE — A strategic move.

It turned out to be the difference for Manhattan’s boys track and field team.

Coach John Sillitti knew that his 4x400 relay team would be running in the slower of two heats Saturday afternoon at Charlie Merrifield Track.

Sillitti met with the quartet prior to the state Class B meet and explained the advantage of being in the slower heat. Once they took the lead they would not have to worry about the exchange zones being congested with other runners.

Sillitti also told his squad that he believed that the state championship would come down to the final event.

Sillitti knew that the winning time would be around the 3:30 mark. The Tigers ran a 3:29.66. Glasgow won the faster heat in a time of 3:30.31, giving Manhattan the win in the final race of the meet and the team championship.

Manhattan, the two-time defending state champion, was in second place in the team race heading into the relay. Troy was first with 57 points, while Manhattan had 56.5 points, and Glasgow was in third with 53 points.

After the relay it was the Tigers who won their third straight state championship with 66.5 points. Glasgow and Troy tied for second with 61 points.

“The three-peat was special,” Manhattan coach John Sillitti said. “After graduating all but 12 points from the 2013 squad I knew a lot of people counted us out.”

Manhattan is the first team to win three straight championships since Shelby accomplished the feat from 1994-96. Plentywood won four straight crowns from 1970-73.

Missoula Loyola was favored to win the title with 58 points, according to, entering the two-day meet. But Loyola finished with 42 points and in fifth place overall.

 What sparked the team was an article in The Billings Gazette prior to the season on the teams that could be in the running for a trophy at state.

“It mentions the teams that had a chance for a trophy for Class B boys and girls,” said Sillitti. “We weren’t mentioned as a team that even should be in the running for third place, let alone first.”

Conner Cross gave Manhattan an early lead in the relay on the opening leg. Then Shondel Connerton, David Schachman, and Caleb Neth, who ran the anchor leg in place of Turner Stone, increased the pace en route to victory.

“I had some great guys to run in the relay with me,” said Neth. “We told each other that we were going to win state with this event. We just came together and did the best that we could. It feels awesome to win another state championship. It’s a great feeling. We have a great program here. It’s great to be part of it.”

Neth finished as a triple winner. In addition to the relay, the sophomore won the 300 hurdles and long jump and was also second in the 400. Neth also qualified for the finals of the 110 hurdles with a time of 15.73 in the prelims, but false started.

Neth had a time of 40.17 seconds in the 300 hurdles, a second faster than Silas Hasselbrook of Missoula Loyola.

“I was just excited. Because I knew Silas was the best in the state,” said Neth. “I tried to do my best, to leave it on the track. Just to do the best that I could do.”

Neth’s first individual title came Friday afternoon when he had a top leap of 21-feet, 5.50-inches to win the long jump. Neth posted a time of 50.66 en route to finishing second in the 400.

“I had a pretty good jump,” he said. “This is good experience for me. My 400 time was pretty good as well. The kid that beat me, Sean Opland, is also a sophomore. It was fun to run against him. It was two sophomores battling it out.”

Opland, from Troy, posted a time of 50.53 to win the 400.

“Caleb is an exceptional talent, but more so, he is an exceptional human being,” said Sillitti. “His first concern when he false started the 110 hurdles was that he had cost the team points, and he promised to do everything in his power to make up for it.”

Alec Nehring placed in two events, finishing second in the discus with a throw of 160-feet, 4-inches and fourth in the shot put.

Cody McCloud finished second in the pole vault, clearing the bar at 12-feet, 6-inches. Huntley Project’s Garrett Frieling went 13-6 to win the title.

“I could have done better. I have went 13-feet before,” said McCloud, who has been a member all off three of the Tigers’ championship teams.

“Cody battled back from missing his first two attempts to match his number two ranking and finish as the state runner-up,” noted Sillitti.

McCloud credited his pole vault success to Laura Arthun, a new assistant coach this year for Manhattan.

“We have one of the best pole vault coaches in the state,” he said. “It really helped having a coach this year. God gave me good coaches and made it happen.”

Austin Oldenburger finished his high school career with a fifth place finish in the shot put. The Montana State University football recruit had a throw of 48-feet, 3-inches.

“Austin was ranked eighth in the shot put and stepped up big to place and score for us there,” said Sillitti.

Ivan Colmenero was fifth in the 1,600 with a time of 4:45.75. The senior won his first medal at a state meet.

“Ivan battled back from injury to score us some much needed points,” said Sillitti.

Tony Krogstad placed fifth in the 3,200 with a time of 10:28.88, while freshman Cole McCloud tied for sixth in the high jump.

Junior Luke Colberg scored all four of Three Forks’ points with a fourth place finish in the 800 in 2:01.01.

State B Meet

(at Bulldog Memorial Stadium, Butte)

Team scores: 1. Manhattan 66.5, 2. Glasgow 61, 2. Troy 61, 4. Bigfork 44, 5. Missoula Loyola 42, 6. Colstrip 28.5, 7. Big Timber 27, 8. Huntley Project 22. 8. Choteau 22, 10. Lincoln County 21, 11. Fairfield 20, 12. Thompson Falls 17, 13. Townsend 16, 14. Baker 12, 15. Shelby 10, 15. Shephard 10, 15. Red Lodge 10, 18. Ronan 8, 19. Deer Lodge 5, 20. Cut Bank 4, 20. Conrad 4, 20. Three Forks 4, 20. Joliet 4, 24. Whitehall 4, 25. Jefferson 2, 25. Forsyth 2, 27. Roundup 1.

100 - 1. Ryan Grandchamp, Glas, 11.11; 2. Austin Batson, Fair, 11.24; 3. McKenzie Holt, TFalls, 11.31; 4. Sean Opland, Troy, 11.32; 5. Pat McCarthy, White, 11.37; 6. Zachary Iffland, Shep, 11.42.

200 - 1. Ryan Grandchamp, Glas, 22.43; 2. Sean Opland, Troy, 22.57; 3. Austin Batson, Fair, 22.84; 4. Silas Hasselbrook, ML, 22.86; 5. McKenzie Holt, TFalls, 22.97; 6. Pat McCarthy, White, 22.99.

1,600 - 1. Logan Morley, Bigfork, 4:34.58; 2. Tyus Mendoza, Col, 4:34.84; 3. Darren Hecker, BT, 4:39.54; 4. Paul Bielawski, Shelby, 4:40.45; 5. Ivan Colmenero, Man, 4:45.75; 6. Kyrn Dykema, RL, 4:46.49.

110 hurdles - 1. Silas Hasselbrook, ML, 15.01; 2. Brandon Conard, Lincoln Coun, 15.27; 3. Bryce Green, Town, 15.44; 4. Christian Langston, Lincoln Coun, 15.91; 5. Michael Jobman, HP, 16.01; 6. Jared Schwend, Joliet, 16.29.

300 hurdles - 1. Caleb Neth, Man, 40.17; 2. Silas Hasselbrook, Loyola-Sacre, 41.36; 3. Gabe McCauley, BT, 41.38; 4. Jacob Simpson, Powell Count, 42.18; 5. Jared Schwend, Joliet, 42.29; 6. Carson Cantrell, Bigfork, 42.66.

400 relay - 1. Loyola-Sacred Heart 43.54; 2. Glasgow 43.89; 3. Thompson Falls 43.91; 4. Bigfork 44.19; 5. Manhattan 44.46; 6. Powell County 44.85.

1,600 relay - 1. Manhattan (Conner Cross, David Schachman, Shondel Connerton, Turner Stone) 3:29.66; 2. Glasgow 3:30.31; 3. Missoula Loyola 3:31.64; 4. Troy 3:32.32; 5. Townsend 3:32.69; 6. Bigfork 3:34.72.

High jump - 1. Josh Sandry, Bigfork, 6-02; 2. Sean Opland, Troy, J6-02; 3. Nathan Olds, Troy, 6-00; 4. Javan Carroll, Conrad, J6-00; 5. Seth Omsberg, CB, J6-00; 6. Cole McCloud, Man, 5-10; 6. Christian Olson, Col, 5-10.

Triple jump - 1. Wyatt Pannabecker, Cho, 42-05.75; 2. Nathan Olds, Troy, 42-03.25; 3. Cantor Coverdell, Fair, 42-01; 4. Khaz Yanak, Lincoln Coun, 41-07; 5. George Barrett, CB, 41-05.50; 6. Brock Beede, Joliet, 41-03.

Shot put - 1. Tucker Yates, Col, 57-11 (state record); 2. Brady Ostermiller, Shep, 51-11; 3. Jeff Fisher, Baker, 51-02; 4. Alec Nehring, Man, 49-06; 5. Austin Oldenburger, Man, 48-03; 6. Lucas Gerhardt, Ronan, 47-11.75.

400 - 1. Sean Opland, Troy, 50.53; 2. Caleb Neth, Man, 50.66; 3. Chase Fossum, Glas, 51.09; 4. Michael Miller, Troy, 51.39; 5. McKenzie Holt, TFalls, 52.03; 6. Darren Hecker, BT, 52.41.

800 - 1. Darren Hecker, BT, 1:57.63; 2. Kenny Wilbur, Town, 1:58.55; 3. Logan Morley, Bigfork, 2:00.61; 4. Luke Colberg, TForks, 2:01.01; 5. Rahkei Eyer, Jeff, 2:02.39; 6. Bridger Sanders, Glas, 2:02.89.

3,200 - 1. Tyus Mendoza, Col, 10:06.51; 2. Logan Morley, Bigfork, 10:19.69; 3. Paul Bielawski, Shelby, 10:24.17; 4. Kyrn Dykema, RL, 10:28.48; 5. Tony Krogstad, Man, 10:28.88; 6. Tanner Laws, TFalls, 10:36.62.

Pole vault - 1. Garrett Frieling, HP, 13-06; 2. Cody McCloud, Man, 12-06; 3. Cole Jankovsky, Lincoln Coun, J12-06; 3. Renny Schultze, RL, J12-06; 5. Collin Achenbach, Cho, 12-00; 6. Connor Benn, Ronan, J12-00.

Discus - 1. Tanner Miller, HP, 168-07; 2. Alec Nehring, Man, 160-04; 3. Jeff Fisher, Baker, 155-08; 4. Chance Wessel, BT, 154-05; 5. Tyler Iverson, Bigfork, 154-03; 6. Brady Ostermiller, Shep, 150-03.

Javelin - 1. Tay Hall, Cho, 185-02; 2. Lane Herbert, Glas, 180-07; 3. Lucas Gerhardt, Ronan, 179-02; 4. Benji Phillips, Glas, 168-10; 5. Josh Sandry, Bigfork, 166-09; 6. Gabe Hickman, Troy, 164-02.

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