Trotters, Horsemen tracksters ready to win accolades

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PLAINS HIGH School junior Jessica Thompson, now a two-time MHSA Class C state champion discus and shot put, poses with her sister Leah Thompson, now with Brigham Young’s track team, after her performance in the Class A & C state track meet Friday and Saturday at the Laurel Sports Complex in Laurel High School. Thompson, now a senior, hopes to win back-to-back MHSA Class C state titles entering the 2018 season. (photo courtesy of Denise Montgomery)

The Plains Trotters’ girls track team has a mixture of veteran talent, youth and a multiple returning state champion in Jessica Thompson.

Thompson didn’t just win one state title last year, she captured state titles in both discus and shot put at the MHSA Class C State track meet at Laurel High School in 2017.

“She is just an amazing athlete and a super great kid,” Montgomery said. “She has a 4.0 GPA, is a kind-hearted, solid kid and this year she should be even better and stronger.”

Last year, Thompson balanced playing both softball and track and will do the same this season. Montgomery said Thompson is a gifted athlete that can multi-task.

“This year, she is going to focus more on track than softball,” Montgomery said of the two-time state champion. “We are looking forward to having her back her senior season.”

Multi-sport athletes are pretty commonplace in Plains and another star athlete that will look to make an impact on the Trotters’ track team this year is Lindsay Laws.

Laws, who just played in the Mission Mountain All-Star basketball game, didn’t go out for track last year.

“She took a year off,” Montgomery said. “A couple of years ago, she placed at state when she qualified in the javelin throw during her sophomore year and she is really strong in her throws.”

Another member of the Trotter’s girls basketball team and a Mission Mountain All-Star selection is Kara Altmiller.

“She is a three-sport athlete and I am super excited about her potential,” Montgomery said. “It is good to have her back competing. Now they get to focus on individual sports in track.”

Kara’s sister, Kylie Altmiller, will also compete for the Trotters’ track team as well.

“Kylie is built different than her sister because she is more of a jumper first and a runner second,” Montgomery said. “She is just a really great talent.”

The Trotters will boast of several other returners as they look to enter the season with more participants that will be in the conversation for state appearances.

Horsemen trackster looks to be stronger

Two years ago Sinjin LeDeaux was the only member of the Horsemen boy’s track team but that has now all changed.

Last year, LeDeaux, who received a lot of press for single-handily recruiting a team, handpicked students and helped Trotters, Horsemen track coach Denise Montgomery pick out a team.

This year, the number of participants, thanks in large part to LeDeaux’s recruiting efforts and several members of the Horsemen football team, has increased again.

“Last year, we only had a 4X4 relay but now we have a 4X100 relay and the numbers have grown,” Montgomery said. “We have the quality on both teams and some great leadership. Sinjin is a really strong, positive leader and wanted to improve on his long, triple, and high jump. He had a lot of success last year and hopefully he can fill his event list with two relays and three jumps.”

Montgomery said she is “excited” about the potential of several of her younger tracksters that should make an instant impact on the squad.

“The boys team is looking really good and there are a lot of new young boys out there that are fast, strong and can jump,” Montgomery said. “There are a lot of new members of the team and I don’t know how they are going to all stack up.”

At the end of last season, Montgomery expressed optimism about being able to increase the number of participants on the track team, who also played on the football team. Since the arrival of newly appointed football coach Eddie Fultz, the increased participation with several athletes coming out for track has happened.

“It’s happened and its great to get support from his program by his kids coming out for track,” Montgomery said. “It makes us stronger and faster. It’s great to get the support of the track team and they encourage these boys to go out. We’ve got some lineup of shot putters, discus throwers and potential jav throwers.”

Rusty Stuart, one of the Horsemen out for track this year, will be returning from a MHSA state appearance last year in shot put. Stuart will hope to duplicate some of the success that he had last season.

“Rusty will be one of our throwers and went out for state last year in the shot put,” Montgomery said. “Hopefully, we will get him to have a good season in all of his throwings.”

Revamped staff provides enthusiasm to the program

Denise Montgomery has a new staff of assistant coaches in place that she is optimistic about.

Jaron Laws, a Thompson Falls graduate, and distance-runner, was a new hire in the school and will help coach the distance runners.

“I am really excited about having his help,” Montgomery said. “He’s such a positive influence (for our distance runners). It’s great having Jaron be our junior high coach and he’ll help when he can.”

Another new member of Montgomery’s team will be Rheanna Fultz, who will be working with the javelin throwers.

“Rheanna will work with the javelin and I’ll be doing the jumps and track work myself,” Montgomery said. “There are so many events that you need people to work with the kids. I am so blessed to have people working with the kids, especially these two young talented coaches. I am excited to see how things unravel as the season progresses and hopefully we keep everyone healthy, stronger and faster.”

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