Troy sprinter fastest in state, aims to go faster

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Troy senior Hunter Leighty leads the field early in the 400m dash at the Libby Invitational April 13. Only a week later, on April 20 at the Seeley-Swan Invitational, Leighty would become the fastest high schooler in the state in the 400, with a time of 50.5 seconds. (Ben Kibbey/The Western News)

With the Troy High School track team continuing to rack up personal bests, senior Hunter Leighty was leading the pack April 20 at the Seeley-Swan Invitational, when he had the fastest 400 meter dash time in the state for this season.

Leighty’s 50.5 second run put him in first place, and gave him the fastest time up to that point in any class of competitionin Montana.

Troy Head Coach Neil Newton said that Leighty is seeing the fruits of the labor he has put in.

“He’s really been working hard, and a great kid to coach. He always gives 100 percent,” Newton said.

Leighty said he has been running track since around second grade, and participating in the 400 since his seventh-grade year.

When he first started running the 400, Leighty joked that the size of the field was a bit of an incentive.

“There wasn’t very many people who ran it, so I usually placed pretty good,” he said with a laugh.

While Leighty may be dedicated to his sport, he said that having the fastest time in the state wasn’t even something he was considering when he lined up on the track that day.

“I just ran, and it just happened,” he said.

How does he feel to reach that kind of pinnacle in his senior year?

“I couldn’t tell you,” he said. “It’s just, sweet. That’s what it is.”

But even if coming out on top statewide partway through the season wasn’t something Leighty planned for, getting even faster is definitely still among his season goals.

If he can, Leightly said he’d like to beat the Troy school record for the 400 meter dash, 49.2 seconds.

At the Montana Top Ten Meet last Tuesday, Leighty slowed down a little, finishing the 400 in 50.94 seconds.

Leighty didn’t indicate how sure he is he can drop another second off his time, but he said he wants to try.

For the rest of the team, the season has been progressing well, Newton said.

“It seems like every track meet, quite a few personal bests,” he said. The kids are — they’re working hard.”

There are some hurts and pains, as there will be in any season, but nothing so far that has required more than some rest to recuperate.

Junior Ella Pierce has been nursing a knee injury that started giving her trouble during basketball season, but at the Seeley-Swan Invitational she still pulled off a 4-foot, 8-inch high jump, matching her top height from last season.

“We just gave her all this week off, and had her ice it,” Newton said. “So, hopefully we can get that back on track, make a good push towards divisionals and state here in a couple weeks.”

In other personal bests, freshman A.J. Starks continues to drop time off of his 1,600 and 3,200 meter run times, recently reaching personal bests of 5:24.59 and 12:23.41 at Seeley-Swan.

His brother, junior Ricky Starks is continuing to improve as well, hitting a personal best of 5:30.04 in the 1,600 meter at Seeley-Swan.

Troy competes next at the Lincoln County Meet today at 4 p.m. in Libby.

Tuesday, April 16

Thompson Falls Invite


Varsity: 1. Thompson Falls 98, 2. Charlo 87, 3. Noxon 83, 4. Clark Fork 53, 5. Valley Christian 52, 6. Hot Springs 33, 7. St Regis 32, 8. Troy 28, Eureka 25.

JV: 1. Thompson Falls 158, 2. Clark Fork 71, 3. Noxon 56, 4. St Ignatius 34, 5. Valley Christian 31, 6. Troy 30, 7. Charlo 10, 8. Plains 7, 9. Lincoln 6.

100m dash, varsity: 1. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 11.4h, 2. Ian Farris (St Regis) 11.48h, 3. Benjamin Tuinstra (Valley Christian) 11.84.

Also for Troy: 12. Trevor Hoagland (Troy) 12.67h (PR).

100m dash, jv: 1. Alex Vogelsang (Thompson Falls) 12.42h, 2. Sidney Akinde (Thompson Falls) 12.85h, 2. Matt Duplechain (Thompson Falls) 12.85h (PR).

Also for Troy: 7. Dylan Peterson (Troy) 13.21h.

800m run, varsity: 1. Jesse Shaske (Clark Fork) 2:07.48h, 2. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 2:11.23h (PR), 3. Wills Degrandpre (Charlo) 2:11.48h (SR).

1,600m run, jv: 1. Isaiah Nasateweya (St Ignatius) 5:18.42h, 2. A.J. Starks (Troy) 5:35.79h, 3. Andres Amoroto (Clark Fork) 5:39.98h, 4. Andy Koonce (Noxon) 6:12.73h, 5. Daniel Ryan (Thompson Falls) 7:33h.

3,200m run, jv: 1. Isaiah Nasateweya (St Ignatius) 11:30h (SR), 2. A.J. Starks (Troy) 12:48.28h, 3. Andy Koonce (Noxon) 13:10h.

Javelin - 800g, varsity: 1. Trey Fisher (Thompson Falls) 151-02 (PR), 2. Rylan Weltz (Noxon) 148-07 (SR), 3. Malachi Paulsen (Plains) 147-02 (PR).

Also for Troy: 10. Trevor Hoagland (Troy) 118-02 (PR).

High jump, jv: 1. Sidney Akinde (Thompson Falls) 5-00, 2. Alex Vogelsang (Thompson Falls) 4-10, 3. Dylan Peterson (Troy) 4-10.

Long jump, varsity: 1. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 19-02.75 (PR), 2. Ian Farris (St Regis) 18-11.5 (SR), 3. Landers Smith (Charlo) 18-08.5.

Also for Troy: 18. Trevor Hoagland (Troy) 15-03.75.

Long jump, jv: 1. Alex Vogelsang (Thompson Falls) 17-04.25, 2. Dylan Peterson (Troy) 16-03.75, 3. Matt Duplechain (Thompson Falls) 16-00.

Saturday, April 20

Seeley-Swan Invite


1. Bigfork 104, 2. Seeley-Swan 74,3. Noxon 56, 4. Ronan 48, 5. Powell County 42, 6. Clark Fork 32, 7. Thompson Falls 31, 8. St Regis 29, 9. Troy 28, 10. Valley Christian 26.

100m dash: 1. Ian Farris (St Regis) 11.58a (SR), 2. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 11.73a, 3. Dakota Wood (Seeley-Swan) 11.77a (SR).

200m dash: 1. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 23.58a, 2. Benjamin Tuinstra (Valley Christian) 24.06a, 3. Dakota Wood (Seeley-Swan) 24.06a.

400m dash: 1. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 50.50a (PR), 2. Hunter Shelmerdine (Seeley-Swan) 50.52a (PR), 3. Benjamin Tuinstra (Valley Christian) 52.65a (SR).

1,600m run: 1. James Normandeau (Ronan) 4:44.35a, 2. Jesse Shaske (Clark Fork) 4:52.87a (SR), 3. Donavon Chaffin (Darby) 4:54.96a (PR), 18. A.J. Starks (Troy) 5:24.59a (PR), 19. Peter Carey (Plains) 5:28.45a (PR), 20. Jordan Usher (Darby) 5:29.59a (SR), 21. Ricky Starks (Troy) 5:30.04a (PR).

3,200m run: 1. Donavon Chaffin (Darby) 10:47.67a (PR), 2. Marik Chrisman (Powell County) 10:51.86a (SR), 3. Brant Heiner (Ronan) 10:53.67a (PR), 11. A.J. Starks (Troy) 12:23.41a (PR).


1. Seeley-Swan 112, 2. Bigfork 94.5, 3. Powell County 51, 4. Ronan 48, 5. St Ignatius 43, 6. Darby 42, 7. Clark Fork 33, 8. Thompson Falls 27.5, 9. St Regis 18, 10. Plains 14, 10. Arlee 14, 12. Simms 6, 12. Troy 6.

High jump: 1. Jody Detlaff (Thompson Falls) 5-00.00 (SR), 2. Terra Bertsch (Seeley-Swan) 5-00.00, 3. Ella Pierce (Troy) 4-08.00 (SR).

Tuesday, April 23

Montana Top Ten

400m dash: 1. Hunter Shelmerdine Seeley-Swan) 50.77a, 2. Kameron Rauser (Broadwater) 50.92a (SR), 3. Hunter Leighty (Troy) 50.94a.

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