Of all the athletes from Lovell High School who have moved on to the college ranks following their high school career, it could be argued that the lion’s share have found college success in track and field.
One of the latest to excel is AJ Montanez, a 2012 graduate of Lovell High School, who recently broke the school record in the 35-pound weight throw at Montana State University-Billings.
Montanez, a sophomore at MSU-Billings, broke the record while competing at the Yellowjacket Holiday Open indoor meet Dec. 7 in Spearfish, S.D., hosted by Black Hills State University. Montanez threw the weight 15.66 meters or 51 feet, 4¼ inches. The old record was 48-5 ¼, so Montanez broke the record by nearly three feet and his personal record by five feet. The previous school record was set by MSU-B senior Dylan Beuhler in 2013.
He placed fourth in the weight throw at the meet and third in the shot put, tossing the shot 14.75 meters or 48-4½.
It’s his second indoor track and field season, and he also competed in outdoor track last spring. He is majoring in secondary education with an emphasis in history.
The MSU-B track and field team will return to Spearfish this Saturday, Jan. 11, to compete in the Myrle Hanson Memorial Open.
Asked if he’s enjoying his college experience, Montanez replied, “Most definitely. The intensity is up (in college). I live off the intensity of the competition. It’s why I do anything, to compete and do the best.”
Three Lovell athletes competed Dec. 6 at the University of Wyoming Power Meet on Friday, Dec. 6, in Laramie. Sophomore Tyler Anderson placed second in the weight throw with a throw of 17.69 meters or 58 feet, beating his personal record set when he competed at Southern Utah University in 2011 by seven feet.
Also competing Dec. 6 was UW junior Karen Koritnik, who placed sixth in the long jump with a leap of 5.17 meters or 16 feet, 11½ inches.
Joining Anderson and Koritnik at the Power Meet was Lovell High School throwing coach Chad Lindsay, a former UW school record holder and current LHS record holder.
UW’s throwing coach Paul Barrett was Lindsay’s coach in college, and the two friends had talked about Lindsay competing in the open division in the shot put but never confirmed it. When Lindsay arrived to watch Anderson, his brother-in-law, compete, Barrett said he could throw.
“I got there and the field was full (with UW, Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado competing),” Lindsay said. “I said I don’t need to compete and that I hadn’t practiced lately, but he said, ‘There’s always room for an old Poke.’”
Lindsay threw the shot 15.55 meters or 51 feet and placed third overall, competing against current college athletes at the age of 42. Lindsay noted that he has thrown at UW meets in four decades, the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.
Interestingly, UW senior Mason Finley of Buena Vista, Colo., broke his own school record at the Power Meet to take first with a throw of 20.12 meters (66-1/2 feet), and Lindsay had broken Mason Finley’s father Jared Finley’s UW record in 1992.
Anderson and Koritnik will compete next at the Border War Dual on Saturday, Jan. 18, in Gillette, battling Colorado State, then attend the Air Force Invitational Jan. 24-25 in Colorado Springs.
by David Peck