State - 2006

State A Cross Country Championships
Helena, Montana
2006 Results

Girls Team Scores:
1. Ronan................91
2. Dillon...............110
3. Whitefish............132
4. Hardin...............140
5. Lewistown............178
6. Miles City...........231
7. Sidney...............242
8. Hamilton.............252
9. Havre................258
10. Frenchtown..........274
11. Polson..............282
12. Glendive............283
13. Laurel..............302
14. Browning............333
15. Billings Central....344
16. Columbia Falls......384
17. Belgrade............401
18. Libby...............559
19. Corvallis...........599
Anaconda................no score
Bigfork.................no score
Butte Central...........no score
Eureka..................no score
Livingston..............no score

Girls Individual Results:
8. Beth Donovan.........19:36 - All State
25. Clare Miller........20:30
31. Lauren Kuennen......20:43
33. Anne Danczyk........20:46
35. Loni Hanson.........20:41
58. Jana Rozar..........21:27
60. Kelly Beiser........21:33

Boys Team Scores:
1. Dillon...............73
2. Browning.............74
3. Whitefish............107
4. Laurel...............108
5. Hamilton.............135
6. Havre................151
7. Columbia Falls.......214
8. Hardin...............214
9. Polson...............267
10. Belgrade............309
11. Frenchtown..........316
12. Ronan...............321
13. Libby...............380
14. Billings Central....423
15. Bigfork.............430
16. Corvallis...........460
17. Anaconda............533
18. Livingston..........588
Butte Central...........no score
Glendive................no score
Eureka..................no score
Stevensville............no score

Boys Individual Results:
4. Ian Mallams..........15:59 - All State
17. Jacob Fern..........16:48	
18. Erik Anderson.......16:49
29. Blake Bjornson......17:09
39. Nick Donovan........17:22
61. Joseph Alexander....18:02
66. Patrick McGunagle...18:06

The first step to creating a tradition in a sport is to reach a level accepted by others as successful. In the case of most high school sports, that usually means placing in the top three at the state championships and bringing a state trophy back to be displayed at the school.

The Whitefish High School cross country has taken a giant step toward tradition with their performances at the State A Cross Country Championships held in Helena this past weekend as both girls and boys team returned with third places finishes.

The Lady Bulldog team went into the meet trying to do something that they had never done before. Place in the top three. They had recently defeated the defending State Champions (Ronan) at the Northwest Divisional Championship and were looking at a possibility of doing it again at the State meet. That effort would most likely be rewarded with the State Team championship.

Beth Donovan led the team with her All State performance. She ran by seven runners down the stretch to move from fourteenth to eighth place in the final 400 meters of the race. Having Beth finish up front really helped out in the team score. The remainder of the scoring members finished in the top 35 positions to help the team earn the third place team trophy.

Clare Miller (25th in 20:30), Lauren Kuennen (30th in 20:43), Anne Danczyk (33rd in 20:46) and Loni Hanson (35th in 20:51) really gave a clinic on pack running as they finished within 21 seconds of one another. This team packing gave the team the boost it needed to come out with a score of 132 points.

We went in the possibility of winning it all. I don't think that we were that far out of reaching our goal. I'm sure we would have all been overjoyed to see us come away with the championship, but since this is the first top three trophy that we've ever come home with, we are still very pleased. I think this will set the tone for next season. The runners from this group that will return next season feel that they have earned the experience to come back next season and improve upon what was started.

The boy's team came to the meet hoping to finish in the top three as well. Of course just about every one of the other teams had the same goal as well. Ian Mallams finished up his senior season with a great performance finishing fourth in the meet earning All State Honors for the second straight season.

He finished fast and just missed taking third by a few inches. Ian has had a fabulous career in our cross country program. It was great seeing him finish so well in such an important event. He's really done a lot to give our team credibility as a competitive team.

Jacob Fern (17th in 16:48) and Erik Anderson (18th in 16:49) also placed in the top twenty to help the Bulldog team to earn third place in the meet. Blake Bjornson (29th in 17:09) and Nick Donovan (39th in 17:22) also ran well in rounding out the team scoring.

It was really close for the third place trophy. We were able to just slip past Laurel by a single point (107 to 108). It was great to have the boys come away with a top three finish. We didn't have a lot of luck this season as we lost two of our top runners to injuries. For us to do this well is really a credit to our entire team. Their performance matched the best finish ever by a Whitefish cross country team at the state meet (matching that of the 2001 team).

We were not that far from the winning team's score. I think that this performance gives our returning group the confidence that they can compete for the overall championship next season.

Our team success this season, with both the boys and the girls, has really been a treat to watch. We have been fortunate to have a lot of young athletes the past couple of seasons, and they have done a great job of building our program. This will be the first time that we will lose a large number of our runners to graduation.

The ten seniors on the girl's team and the ten seniors on the boy's team were so important to the development of our teams. Most of them have been with the program since I began coaching in 2004. It will be tough coming back next season without them. We were extremely fortunate to have such outstanding team leaders. I'm thankful that there is still have the track season in the spring to work with them, as they will be greatly missed. On the other hand, we will have very capable group of young runners looking for their opportunity to continue the tradition that this group has begun with their efforts this fall.