By Brian Savard
HARDIN, Montana, February 20. C.M. Russell and Missoula Hellgate responded to Bozeman’s 2007 sweep of both the women’s and men’s titles by defeating the Hawks at the Montana High School State Championships.
C.M. Russell took the women’s meet by storm, winning with 259 points. Missoula Sentinel finished up in second with 202 points while Billings West edged out Missoula Big Sky/Loyola for third (145).
Missoula Hellgate defeated Bozeman in the meet’s final event, the 400 freestyle relay, to defeat the Hawks by a 188-180 final. C.M. Russell took up the third-place honor with 147 points.
Women’s Individual Results
Brittany Szekely of Missoula Big Sky/Loyola stood atop the final results in both of her swims. Szekely took first in the 50 freestyle (24.90) and the 100 freestyle (54.77).
Jordan Denny of Billings West was the only other female to capture two individual state titles. She started out with a 2:10.93 victory in the 200 IM before sprinting the 100 backstroke in a first-place time of 58.93.
Men’s Individual Results
Major Robinson from Missoula Sentinel nailed down two decisive wins in each of his individual events, taking the 200 freestyle in 1:43.30 and the 100 backstroke in 51.33.
Kyle Gray of Missoula Hellgate led the way in the 50 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, winning each with times of 21.88 and 52.45, respectively.
C.M. Russell’s Derek Lair cracked the two-minute barrier in the 200 IM, swimming a first-place time of 1:59.64. Lair also took the 100 freestyle in 48.67 clocking.
Missoula Hellgate won two relays, and their second relay win of the night proved to be the nail in the coffin for their victory over Bozeman. The 200 medley relay team of Sean Niccolucci, Mathan Stroethoff, Gray and Leo Kump teamed up to win in a 1:40.45 time. The same four men in a different order (Niccolucci, Kump, Stroethoff and Gray) put up the winning time in the 400 freestyle relay, clocking a 3:17.63.