Divisionals - 2008

Northwestern A Divisional Championships
Whitefish Golf Course
Saturday, October 18, 2008

Girls Varsity Team Results:

1. Whitefish - 24
2. Columbia Falls - 64
3. Polson - 68
4. Ronan - 81
5. Libby - 150
. Bigfork - no score

Individual results:

2. Jackie Cassidy, 10 - Whitefish - 18:42 (All Conference) (new school record)
4. Jessica Sagen, 10 - Whitefish - 19:13 (All Conference)
6. Bailey Eaton, 10 - Whitefish - 19:23 (All Conference)
7. Stella Holt, 10 - Whitefish - 19:46 (All Conference)
10. Natalie Kearns, 12 - Whitefish - 20:14 (All Conference)
11. Kelly Beiser, 12 - Whitefish - 20:24
12. Hannah Weaver, 11 - Whitefish - 20:36
13. Breanna Leggitt, 9 - Whitefish - 20:48
19. Loni Hanson, 11 - Whitefish - 21:18
24. Liz Stevenson, 11 - Whitefish - 21:35
26. Megan Shaver, 12 - Whitefish - 21:38
29. Beth Donovan, 12 - Whitefish - 21:56
34. Anne Miller, 11 - Whitefish - 22:17
35. Carly Schwickert, 10 - Whitefish - 22:21
38. Nicole Birk, 9 - Whitefish - 23:23
48. Katrina Brown, 10 - Whitefish - 26:50

Boys Varsity Team Results

1. Columbia Falls - 29
2. Polson - 61
3. Ronan - 64
4. Whitefish - 80
5. Libby - 127
. Bigfork - no score

Boys Individual Results:

1. Drew Coco, 12 - Whitefish - 15:09 (All Confernce)
14. Nathan Knox, 10 Whitefish - 17:33
21. Patrick McGunagle, 12 - Whitefish - 18:18
30. Kaleb Prestegaard, 12 - Whitefish - 19:38
32. Will Holdhusen, 9 - Whitefish - 19:41
40. Daniel Riveria, 9 - Whitefish - 20:22
41. Dietrich Perchy, 10 - Whitefish - 20:30
46. Tucker Chambers, 10 - Whitefish - 21:37
47. Chris Reyna, 10 - Whitefish - 21:37
52. Matt Kennedy, 10 - Whitefish - 23:43
53. Ryan Rice, 12 - Whitefish - 25:36

Comments on the Meet:

The Northwestern A divisional cross country championships in Whitefish? I know that seems a bit far-fetched, but it actually happened. Before I can get into the details of the meet, I should take this space to thank a few individuals for their efforts that helped to make this a reality. First, I would like to thank the folks at the Whitefish Lake Golf Club for allowing us to use their course for the meet. Tim Olson and the crew at the club were very gracious and their course really allowed us to put on a top notch meet. Next in line would be to thank our athletic director, Jackie Fuller, who did everything we needed to get this meet off the ground. Thanks to coaches Sara Brist (timing and results) and Cassie Schell (course set up) for their countless hours dedicated to helping to host this meet. Thanks to all the volunteers that helped in the finish line chute. We couldn't have done this without all of you. A special thanks goes out to Anne Miller and her parents for organizing the seniors activity following the meet. Finally, a special thanks should go out to the fans that arrived in the hundreds to witness a great day of racing.

Now to the meet......

Drew Coco blazed to the Divisional crown with a time of 15:09 on the newly designed course. It was Drew that gave us an indication that the course layout was, indeed, as fast one. Until he came hauling down the finish stretch, it was in doubt how the hilly terrain would treat the runners in regard to race times. As he finished and the time on the race clock showed 15:09, all in attendance knew that times on the course would be reasonably fast.

"Drew looked good. It was his first time on the course, and like everyone else, I think he may have been a little unsure as to where to start his kick. I'm certain that if he was a bit more familiar with the course that he would have easily gone under 15 minutes. His victory, by over a minute, was certainly good enough to showcase his ability."

Nathan Knox had a great day as well with his fourteenth place finish in 17:33. "Just like last week, Nathan continues to show that he is able to accomplish great things with his running. One must remember that just a couple of weeks ago, Nathan was running three miles in 19 minutes. For him to cut so much time and reach a level where he is competing with some of the best runners in the conference in nothing short of amazing."

Patrick McGunagle (21st in 18:18), Kaleb Prestegaard (30th in 19:38) and Will Holdhusen (32nd in 19:38) all had good races to help the Bulldogs to finish fourth in the conference standings. "Patrick looked a bit under the weather today. He struggled a bit, but still managed to stay in the race to help us out in the team scoring. I think he'll be ready to go this next weekend at the State meet. Kaleb and Will both had really strong races. They've come a long way since they began running with the team this season."

"Prior to this performance I wasn't quite sure where we fit in regard to the big picture at State in Missoula next weekend with the boys. Now I feel that with the right race, we could be in the top ten or twelve teams. The guys have come a long way in a short time. I'm very impressed with them right now."

The girls came in as two time defending conference champions, and set a goal to win the team title for a third time in front of their home crowd. They didn't disappoint, as they dominated the team standings with a resounding team victory over the Columbia Falls girls who finished in second place.

"I was happy with the performance of the girls team. We had some huge performances today. Those performances were especially important as we had several runners sick in the past few days. That's why cross country is a team sport, as well as an individual one. When one runner struggles, it's up to the others to pick it up. That's what happened today."

"Both Loni Hanson and Stella Holt came into the meet sick. Looking back we probably shouldn't have run Loni, but you just never really know how a runner will handle the stress. I hate to not give them the chance since they've earned it with their performance all season. Stella was able to really help us out, even though she was at less than her best. I'm really thankful for these two and their efforts today. I expect they'll both be at full strength for next weekends state championship meet."

Jackie Cassidy had that breakthrough that has looked so evident since the beginning of the season. Coming to the finishing stretch she was right behind Bigfork's Kayla Carlson, and looked to be in great form. She maintained her pace to finish in a new school record time of 18:42 to finish in second place.

"I've been noticing that Jackie seemed ready to break one out the last 3 or 4 weeks. To do it at a championship meet is especially nice. I'm sure glad she decided to be part of our team this year. She brings a lot to our team as her time indicates."

Jessica Sagen (4th in 19:13), Bailey Eaton (6th in 19:25) and Stella Holt (7th in 19:46) all finished strong to help lead the Lady Bulldog team to the title for the third straight year.

"Jessica looked great! It wouldn't have surprised me to see her coming down the finish with the top two. She has been out of town for the State music festival for the past few days, and came back into town late last night. For her to run so well is a credit to her ability. Bailey Eaton is just about where she needs to be coming into the State meet. Her time was a personal best, and I'm sure that will give her the needed confidence to run up front this coming weekend. She was All State last year (11th) and would like to break into that top ten. With her time today, it shows that it is possible. I think in another week, she could be up with Jackie."

"As already mentioned, Stella has been under the weather. She did an unbelievable job of competing today. For her to do so well is amazing. There's no doubt that she could lead this team when she's healthy."

"It would have been nice to have Loni running healthy today. As it is, I'd rather have her running healthy at State. Sometimes luck isn't on your side and you have to deal with the disappointment. Loni has done some great things this season, and I expect will see more of that next weekend. She won the State meet last year, and I don't expect her to let it go without a fight this year."

Natalie Kearns, Kelly Beiser, Hanna Weaver and Breanne Leggitt all had fantastic finishes as well. Natalie finished tenth to secure All Conference honors with the four teammates that finished in front of her. Kelly finished nicely to take the 11th position, while Hanna and Breanne were having a spirited duel to see who would finish in the 12th and 13th positions. Both finished with personal best times of 20:36 and 20:48.

"Hannah and Breanne both had the performances of the meet, in my mind. These are fantastic times for high school girls in Montana. These times would be top varsity times on any other team in Montana. Here in Whitefish they earn you personal pride, and the alternate spots at state."

"We are especially strong this season on the girls side. It pleases me that these two young ladies will both be back for us next year. They are talented enough to be part of our varsity, but we have so much depth that they just fall short. They both remind me of where Jessica Sagen was last year. When I look at the steps that Jessica has taken in that one year, it let's me know that these two have the ability to help us out up front next season."

Liz Stevenson and Megan Shaver also had fantastic races as well. Both finished with personal best times of 21:35 and 21:38. "I was very excited over Megan's time. She has been with us for the past four seasons, and has come a long way. She has become a very competitive racer. She was sprinting to that line, refusing to let anyone have her position. I was very impressed with her performance."

The Lady Bulldog team finished the meet with five All Conference Performers (top ten finishers) for the third straight season.