MISSOULA — High school track and field wrapped up over the weekend, and one performance that stood out among the rest was Missoula Sentinel's Hudson Lembke in the 100-meter dash.
Lembke repeated as state champ in the event after surprising everyone a season ago. Expectations were high this season, but Lembke let the season play out and didn't stress.
"I didn't really let it get to me too much because I knew that if I just kept working hard and doing my thing, I could go and get it," Lembke told MTN Sports. "But yeah, there's definitely a lot of pressure coming back, you know? Everybody's looking at you like, 'Oh he's got to do good, he's got to do good,' you know when you go out and don't do as well it feels kind of bad but when you go out and do good it feels great."
Lembke's successes from his sophomore year also played a big factor into how he approached this year's state meet.
"Knowing what to expect, and knowing what to go out and see and prepare for, it was really beneficial to have been there before and know what to expect going out there," Lembke said. "It puts you in a better space mentally to go out and compete and do your best."
Lembke built up over the last few meets of the season as he began to hit his peak.
At state last year, Lembke was sitting in eighth place heading into the final before he shocked the field and won it, a moment that he described as "truly mind-blowing."
This year, Lembke was sitting in second after the prelims on Friday heading into Saturday's final, and had seen this movie before.
Because he entered the final with confidence in his standing, it was about finding a way to perform at his best, which he did by finishing the race in 10.87 seconds, a new personal best for the Spartan.
"After the prelims, I was pretty excited," Lembke described. "It was going to be a good race, there was a lot of fast guys in that race, so yeah, I was really excited going into it. Knew it was going to be a fast race and a good race for us, but yeah, coming out to the final and crossing that finish line, it felt great not seeing anybody, but it's just a great feeling to come back and do it again, because, like last year it just felt so unobtainable, but this year it felt more in the sights and (I) got there so felt good."
Lembke became the first Class AA repeat winner in the boys 100 since Great Falls CMR's Damien Nelson won three straight from 2016-18.
Even more notable, Lembke, is only a junior, meaning next year he has the chance to etch his name into the Montana history books even deeper and join Nelson, should he 3-peat as a senior next spring.
"It's crazy. I never really thought that it would come down to something like this but it feels great to get two and I'm going to work as hard as I can to go out there and get three," Lembke said. "It's a great motivator to get in the gym and get working hard to go get it again because not a lot of people have done it, so I hope to be one of those guys who can come out and do it again."