Throughout the summer we’ve followed Billings teenager Christina Aragon’s journey from the Olympic Trials to Sunday’s bronze medal in the Under-20 World Championships. But Aragon isn’t the only Montana athlete testing her skills at the national level. Helena High’s Kamden Hilborn is days away from pole vaulting against the United States’ best in the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships.
“We thought this would be a good year for me and the competition will be really good,” said Hilborn. “I’ll get to see what it’s like out there.”
Hilborn capped her sophomore track and field season with a third-place finish at the Class AA state track and field invitational. She also cleared the second-best vault in the state. Only 15 years old, she will compete in the Junior Olympic Championships against the best athletes in her age group.
“I’ve been really working hard this summer,” she said. “Bill (Hurford) has really been working on my form a lot. I’m trying to be the best that I can be and really working out hard and getting stronger. I just feel like there are going to be some good heights coming soon.”
“The biggest improvements are her confidence and believing in herself,” said Hurford, who has coached numerous state champions at Helena High. “Tackling the small tasks and accomplishing them. Those simple things she’s doing amazing right now.”
Hilborn’s talent and athleticism are not limited to the pole vault pits. The junior-to-be has also been on the summer basketball circuit and recently captured a title there.
“Montana Hoops has been a great opportunity for me,” Hilborn said of her summer basketball team. “I really love the girls and the coaches that asked me to play with them. It’s been awesome.
“We went to Centralia a couple weeks ago and ended up winning. We played some California teams and some other teams. It was great. We had a blast and played so well together. It was a great opportunity with all the college coaches there. For us to play so well was awesome.”
Hilborn’s Montana Hoops teammates will also be in California – competing in San Diego while she vaults eight hours north. The Junior Olympics will be the greatest competition she has seen but that may just push her to new heights.
“I just want to compete and hopefully PR,” she said. “Just getting to see the competition is going to be a great opportunity and I’m just really excited to vault down there.”
“I just want to see her have fun,” said Hurford. “I just want to see her have fun. That’s it. If she has fun, she’ll do good.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Hilborn with travel costs and lodging during her trip to Sacramento. To donate, or to learn more information, visit https://www.gofundme.com/2d7vyjzs.
The USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships begin Monday, July 25 and run through Sunday, July 31. The pole vault competition for girls in the 15-16 age group is scheduled for Thursday, July 28 at 10 a.m. MST.