Through the first day of the Class B State golf tournament at Eaglerock golf course outside Billings, it looked like Jefferson High sophomore Celi Chapman had a line on the championship. She shot an 80 in Tuesday’s opening round — her lowest of the spring — leaving her just two shots off the lead and seven shots ahead of her nearest threat.
But day two wasn’t as kind. Fairfield junior Emma Woods scorched the course with a 76. Chapman shot an 84 — still second-best in the field, but not nearly good enough to catch Woods. Chapman capped a great first year at Jefferson with a second-place finish – and she’ll have two more shots at the title.
In their first-ever appearance at the State meet, the Panther boys didn’t live up to their strong performances through most of the spring. Luke Eckmann led the squad with 175, and Preston Field shot 179. Marcus Lee ended at 187, Logan Gilmore 211, and Bryce Shields 259. All but Lee will return next year.
Overall, Jefferson finished eighth out of 12 teams with an aggregate score of 752. Columbus High took both the boys’ and the girls’ team trophies.
At the State tennis meet in Missoula, Sam Zody started the first day with two impressive wins. She defeated McColl Miller of Big Fork 6-0, 6-0, in her first match, then dispatched Olivia Copenhaver of Fairfield 5-7, 6-1, 6-3, to advance to the quarter finals.
But in round three, Zody lost to Loura Zietke of Simms 3-6, 3-6 — and in the consolation bracket, she lost to Katie Majors of Choteau 4-6, 3-6. Meanwhile, the Panthers’ Morgan Knickerbocker lost to Allison Powell of Chinook 3-6, 1-6 and then to Demi Keyley of Wolf Point 2-6, 2-6. And Rita Buffa lost to Aaliyah Stodiford of Chester-Joplin-Iverness, 3-6, 4-6 and to Merissa Wipf of Fairfield, 5-7, 2-6.
After losing the season last year due to COVID, the Panthers had a great 2021 campaign, getting in a lot of matches and qualifying three to State.
TRACK & FIELD
Another post-season track meet — and another new Jefferson High School record. The Panthers competed in Laurel under cloudy skies and cool temperatures May 20 in The Southern Division track and Field meet in Laurel, comprised of 18 teams spread out between Boulder and Baker.
On the boys’ side, Huntley Project rode the back of Noah Bouchard, who scored 44 of his squad’s 110 points. Jefferson and Manhattan tied for second with 92 points, followed by Red Lodge with 72, Columbus with 55, Broadwater with 25, and Sweet Grass County 18. Whitehall High tallied nine points.
Huntley Project also took the girls’ competition, with 99 points. Sweet Grass County placed second with 94, followed by Manhattan with 73, Jefferson with 58, and Shepherd with 29. Whitehall finished with 18.
For the Panther boys, Joey Visser, recovered from a pulled muscle, took first in the 300 hurdles with a time of 39.96, smashing the old record of 40.23 set by Shawn McMahon in 2001. Visser also won the 100 in 11.30, took fourth in the 200 in 23.64, and was second in the long jump at 20’11.50”.
Braden Morris took second in the 110 hurdles in 15.32, won the javelin with a throw of 152’5”, and placed fourth in the triple jump at 39’7”.
Dylan Root took third in the 110 hurdles in 15.55 and qualified for State in the high jump , clearing 5’4”. Wade Rykal won the shot put with his best throw of the year, 50’8.75”, and Jace Oxarart took sixth in the javelin at 130’9”. The Panthers won the 4x100 relay, with Morris, Root, Visser, and Michael Emter racing the baton around the oval in 44.51. Root, Emter, Riley Stock, and Rutger Shultz took sixth in the 4x400 in 3:40.92.
For the Lady Panthers, Clare Ronayne took second in the 100 in 12.85 and second in the 200 in 27.79. Grace Alexander placed third in the 100 hurdles in 16.60 and fourth in the 300 hurdles in 50.21. Kai Taylor was fourth in the discus at 104’4” and eighth in the shot put at 30’7.25”.
Emma McCauley won the triple jump at 33’5.25”, and placed in the pole vault at 8’ and seventh in the 100 hurdles in 17.11. Hailee Stiles took fifth in the triple jump, and sixth in the high jump at 4’8”. Ronayne, Stiles, Alexander and MacKenzie Layng won the 4x400 relay, crossing the finish line in 4:26.56 — and the same girls took fourth in the 4x100 in 52.29.
This week the track and field teams return to Laurel for the Class B State meet, a two-day competition that plays out Friday and Saturday alongside the Class A meet. Hopefully, the weather will be good and the Panthers will make a strong showing.