Griebel, Zeiger Win Individual State Titles
Glasgow Track Places Several But Falls Short At State
By J. Levi Burnfin
Published: Thursday, May 31st, 2012
Falling down and getting back up is a mark of a determined athlete. It's what Scottie athletes pride themselves on. It's what Glasgow's Debra Griebel had to do in the middle of the 100-meter hurdles qualifier.
It's what Glasgow track will have to do after falling short of their season goals as the girls' team placed fourth and the boys 11th in the midst of a snow and rained soaked state meet.
There was no way Griebel qualified. She had fallen in the qualifying round of the 100 hurdles and, even after showing tremendous heart by getting up and running as hard as she could, she had come in sixth in her heat.
"[Falling down] was one of those panic moments but I couldn't quit," said Griebel. "I knew I had to try."
She was heart broken having had her sights set on the gold for the entire season.
The coaches and Griebel thought that only the top five from each heat would qualify for the final race. However, it was actually the top four and then the fastest two times after that. Griebel was one of them.
"It was an emotional roller coaster for her," said Head Coach John LaBonty. "I've never seen [someone fall and still qualify] before."
She earned a spot in the finals where she did not disappoint. She broke out of the starting blocks and didn't miss a beat this time. She hit every hurdle the way she wanted and won the finals with a time of 16.67 seconds and became the state champion.
It shows how much pride each Glasgow athlete has in their performance and in their school. Even if they fall, they will get back up and compete.
It's the same for the entire Glasgow track team. After winning the state title last year, the girls' team had high expectations for themselves as they tried to repeat the feat. And the boys' team was a year older after a young squad probably underperformed given their talent last season.
Those expectations were only emboldened after a terrific performance that earned both teams a divisional championship the week before in Great Falls.
"They did everything they could possibly do to pull off the victory but sometimes it doesn't work out for you," said LaBonty.
Still, Griebel was not the only Scottie to become a state champion in an individual event as Luke Zeiger took first in the pole vault with a vault of 13- 6.
It completes an outstanding Scottie career for Zeiger that saw him win four state championships in wrestling on top of the pole vault championship this year.
Four other Scottie seniors completed their high-school athletic careers by placing at state. Walt Dalbey placed in fifth in the 110 hurdles with a time of 16.31.
Chaz Gordon placed fifth in the 300 hurdles with a time of 42.06. To round out the boys, Kori Meiers placed second in the javelin by throwing a personal record 185- 11. That mark is the second best in school history.
Senior Marcus Svingen also competed at state in the 110 hurdles but was not able to place.
Jami Johnson was the lone girls' senior to place at state with a pair of third-place finishes in the long runs. She recorded a 5:27.49, a mere half-second behind the second-place finisher, in the 1,600 and recorded a 11:51.36 in the 3,200.
Seniors Devyn Bell, in the discus, and Melissa Unger, in the javelin, also competed at state but were not able to place.
Sophomore Rachael Zeiger took a pair of fourth places in the 400, with a time of 1:02.81, and the 800, with a time of 2:24.23. And Griebel, a junior, tacked on a fourth place in the 300 hurdles on top of her 100 hurdles championship.
Both girl's relays took fifth place with a time of 52.51 in the 4X100 and a 4:23.96 in the 4X400 relay. The boys' 4X400 relay took sixth with a time of 3:34.42.
The boys earned a total of 23 points for their 11th-place finish while the girls scored 38 points, only two points behind Big Timber and a trophy.
Manhattan took the boys' crown with 66 team points and Missoula Loyola took the girls' crown with 55 points.
Still, after falling short of their expectations, LaBonty and the rest of the team are very proud, rightfully so, of what they were able to accomplish.
They had two individual state champions, had several athletes improve greatly over the season setting personal records and had both the boys' and girls' team win the divisional championship in the same season for the first time in school history.
They fell short of their overall goals this season but, like Griebel, they will get back up and compete for a state title in the years to come.
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