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HOT SPRINGS track star Katelyn Christensen attempts a long jump at the Dave Tripp Memorial in Polson. At the end of her freshman season, she placed second in the javelin in Class C at the State Track Meet in Laurel. (Joe Sova/Valley Press)

Hot Springs track coach Bethany White knew Katelyn Christensen would have an immediate impact on the varsity team during her first year at the varsity-level competition.

White knew what Christensen was capable of as a junior high competitor, as she showcased her potential that translated into the end-of-the-year success on the podium at the Montana High School Class C state track meet May 23-25 at Laurel Sports Complex at Laurel High School.

Christensen, who competed all season in the 100-meter run, 200, javelin, long jump, and 4X100, finished her season on the podium in two events: javelin and long jump.

At state, Christensen recorded a distance in the javelin of 127-07, which was suitable for a second-place finish, and in the long jump she recorded a length of 16-02.25, setting yet another personal record and placing fifth among competitors.

Christensen, who finished her freshman season with state hardware, will only look to improve as she moves forward in her young track and field career.

“I am not surprised that she is doing well in high school,” White said. “Katelyn Is a hard worker and has a lot of drive. She will only get better and better (throughout her career).”

At the start of the season, Christensen’s early distance in the javelin was 109, and then during the season, she gradually improved.

“She just kept getting better and better,” White said. “We started seeing marks of 116, 119, and then eventually she reached the distance of 120. She worked hard and kept practicing to get her form down, and it just clicked. She kept getting better and better (as the season progressed).”

White feels Christensen has yet to reach her full potential as she continues to eye MHSA state gold, something she nearly achieved during her freshman campaign.

“I think we can expect good things from her, obviously,” White said. “Anything can happen, but I think she has the drive and determination to get where she wants to go.”

Christensen will have three more years as a member of the Savage Heat in her quest for MSHA gold, and hopes to step on the podium again in the multiple events she competes in. Christensen will have three more years to try for a Montana High School Assocation Class C state championship medal.

Christensen, who fell short of capturing MHSA state gold is only in her freshman season, and she had plenty of more opportunities moving forward.

According to Plains’ coach Denise Montgomery, Christensen is a gifted athlete, as she continues her quest for not only state gold, but attracting attention of collegiate scouts.

“She’s a new athlete to watch in the county,” Montgomery said. “She’s so very talented.”

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