GREAT FALLS, Montana, February 17. THE C.M. Russell Rustlers and the Helena Bengals tied for first with 187 points each among the Class "AA" girls at the Montana State Swimming Championships Feb. 10-11 in Great Falls. The Missoula Hellgate Knights finished in third (167), followed by the Great Falls Bisons (128.5) and the Billings Skyview Falcons (114). Among "A" teams, the Billings Central Rams took first (157 points), followed by the Hardin Bulldogs (32) and Havre Blue Ponies (18).
C.M. Russell's 400 free relay of Kim Massey, Morgan Shaw, Nicole Thompson and Shelby Sechena took first with their 3:41.96. Sechena nabbed the 200 free (1:57.68) and 500 free (5:17.71). Central's squad of Kya Sorli, Sami Duval, Sophie Malin and Jenna Marsh finished a second of Helena in the 200 free relay, 1:43.04-1:44.04. Marsh emerged from the meet with victories in the 50 free (23.79) and 100 fly (56.19). Hellgate was tops in the 200 medley relay with the quartet of Hanni Leach, Hailey Jacobson, Brenna Saffel and Kate Michell (1:51.62). Leach placed first in the 100 back (56.65).
Makayla Crist from Capital was first in the 100 free (54.58), Bozeman's Caitlyn Brenden topped the field in the 100 breast (1:07.17), and first place in the 200 IM was claimed by Helena's Kaitlyn Kleppelid.
The Bozeman Hawks, by one point, grabbed first from the Bengals in the Class "AA" boys race. The Knights finished in third with 167 points, followed by the Bisons (111) and the Butte Bulldogs (96). The same three teams grabbed the Class "A" standings: Billings Central, 185; Hardin, 37; and Havre, 10.
Bozeman took first in the free relay events. The 200 free team of Neil Strauss, Tanner Broden, Habib Mostefa and Orion Kubat put together a 1:33.72, just ahead of Skyview's squad of Chandler Crowe, Chris Luterbach, Magnus Johnson and Brayden Marchant. Brandon Smith joined Strauss, Mostefa and Kubat for the 400 free victory in 3:24.14. Central captured the 200 medley relay with the quartet of Matt Wehr, Pierce Oja, Bryson Boese and Kyler Pawlowski (1:43.26).
Helena's Pete Kotson claimed victory in both the 100 free (48.73) and 200 free (1:47.67), as did Skyview's Crowe in the 100 back (52.47) and 200 IM (1:58.26).
Smith was 13-hundredths ahead of Helena's Joel Ronish for the 500 free win (4:53.74-4:53.87). In the 100 breast, 12-hundredths decided first from second place, as Oja defeated Hellgate's Patrick Martyak, 1:03.75-1:03.87. Oja's teammate, Wehr, flew to a 54.46 triumph in the 100 fly. Greg Dykstra, from Billings, sprinted to a 22.65 in the 50 free.