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Helena High girls track and field team relishes state three-peat

Helena High girls track
Posted at 8:55 AM, May 31, 2024

HELENA — For the third consecutive year, the Helena girls track and field team ended the state meet on top of the podium, holding the hardware, and smiling for pictures as state champions.

The Bengals tallied 129 team points after receiving more than 20 each from three separate athletes, including a 48.5 point performance from senior and Baylor commit Logan Todorovich.

“Obviously we don’t take anything for granted and know that winning three state championships is probably not something that comes along very often,” said head coach Jesse Zentz. “That’s not to say the girls aren’t going to go out and try to win their fourth straight next year.”

The Bengals have displayed a ton of athleticism over the past three years, but a huge part of their success derives from the culture they have built outside of competition. Zentz told MTN Sports that his program puts an emphasis on the “social and emotional aspect for teenagers.”

He believes that creating an environment where the athletes “feel like they belong to something bigger than themselves and feel valued beyond just being a student-athlete” will pull out each individual's best efforts.

“I love this team. I’m so sad that I’m going to have to leave. We’ve all created such an amazing environment,” said senior Reghan Skogen, who won the pole vault title. “They’re just such a great group, they’re all supportive, we all love each other. It’s a really cool experience to be apart of it.”

“We have a lot of fun at practice. Jesse makes sure that we have dress up practices, we always have big team dinners, and I think just hanging out with the girls at hotels and on team buses is super special,” said Todorovich. “That’s where you get the connection.”

Todorovich finished her Bengals track career with nine individual state titles and two all-class records to go along with the three team titles. As she summarized her four years in the program, she said there is nothing more she could have asked for and she is very thankful.

“From day one she has been a key part of this program,” said Zentz. “I think the legacy she leaves is that she’s a team first kid. Obviously she gets all kinds of accolades and praise from a lot of people around the state.

"There were a lot of people standing and cheering for her at the state meet and I think a lot of that is not just because she’s a great athlete but because of how she treats her competitors.”

Todorovich, along with the other talented seniors, will be graduating and leaving this program in the hands of the underclassmen who are not afraid of the big stage. Madilyn Todorovich scored 35 points at the state meet and finished with four titles outside of the team’s accomplishment.

“I’m really excited for the incoming freshman to come in and join our track team. I just really hope that everyone is excited as I am to be here next year and I really hope we can do our best again,” said Madilyn Todorovich.

The Bengals will attempt to make it four straight titles next season, a feat that has only been done twice in Class AA girls track — by Kalispell Flathead between 1991-95 and Billings Senior from 2010-’15.