Talk about a way to end a high school career.
Let’s start with Friday, May 27 in Great Falls at the B/C State Track Meet.
Missoula Loyola senior sprinter Ridger Palma was a favorite in the 100m, 200m and 400m as the defending Class B 100 and 200 champion. His times rivaled those of athletes in the AA, so he was the frontrunner on paper, but you never know what will happen once the state meeting happens.
He opened the two-day competition with a new personal best in the 100 preliminaries on Friday, winning the mad dash in 10.97 to secure his place in Saturday’s final.
He then broke the Class B state meet record in the 200, winning the preliminary race in 22.07 – not even his best mark in the event but, hey, a record is a record – as he clinched his second place finish for Day 2.
“I didn’t really know I had broken up [the record] until after when my father came and told me. I’m really thrilled,” he said. 406mtsports.com afterwards.
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Two individual sprints down, one more for Palma.
After some time to rest and cool his legs after the shorter sprints, the dreaded 400 was next. It was a timed final. No foreplay. A blow to a state title.
Palma won, and it wasn’t close.
He won the No. 1 state title this weekend in 49.15, a full second ahead of teammate Luca Dombrowski who took second in 50.64. It was a sort of revenge as Palma took second place in the event in the 2021 A/B encounter as a junior.
His first event was a strong performance as an anchor leg in the 4×100, where his team finished second by a hair for a silver medal.
After some recovery time, the final 100 was over. Palma blasted the blocks and claimed their second state title of the weekend in 11.15 seconds as they defended their 100th crown.
Two sprints less, two titles won and one individual sprint remaining: the 200.
Palma came out and broke another record, bettering the 200 time he set less than 24 hours before with a 22.06 to claim his third individual state title, defend his second and win his fourth medal of the weekend. . He added the icing on the cake with a comeback victory in the 4×400 where he turned a third-place finish after three laps into a nearly two-second gold medal as he rode home with five firsts and seconds. places in his final high school track meet.
As a team, Loyola finished second to Jefferson in state with 69 total points – Palma played a part in 40 of the total. Palma has signed on to lead the college track at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona.