MHSA Class A State Cross Country Championship - 2005

MHSA Class A State Cross Country Championship
U of M Golf Course - Missoula, MT
Oct. 22, 2005

Girls Team Scores:

1. Ronan - 80
2. Havre - 86
3. Lewistown - 112
4. Miles City - 191
5. Whitefish - 199
6. Dillon - 210
7. Hamilton - 237
8. Billings Central - 246
9. Hardin - 247
10.Sidney - 265
11.Laurel - 265
12. Frenchtown - 287
13. Browning - 321
14. Belgrade - 329
15. Polson - 396
16. Columbia Falls - 406
17. Livingston - 453
Bigfork - no score
Libby - no score

Girls Individual Results:

9. Beth Donovan - 19:35 (All State Team)
25. Clare Miller - 20:47
43. Anne Danczyk - 21:30
49. Janna Rozar - 21:36
73. Cassie Schell - 22:21
76. Loie Russell-templeton - 22:24

Boys Team Scores:

1. Ronan - 96
2. Dillon - 99
3. Hardin - 113
4. Browning - 133
5. Havre - 138
6. Hamilton - 164
7. Laurel - 178
8. Whitefish - 211
9. Belgrade - 216
10. Frenchtown - 279
11. Polson - 282
12. Billings Central - 301
13. Corvallis - 332
14. Columbia Falls - 339
15. Libby - 384
16. Anaconda - 404
17. Livingston - 510
18. Stevensville - 587
Butte Central - no score

Boys Individual Results

13. Ian Mallams - 16:37 (All State Team)
16. Drew Coco - 16:45
52. Erik Anderson - 17:41
57. Blake Bjornson - 17:51
73. Jacob Fern - 18:09
78. Kallen Bodily - 18:14
90. Joseph Alexander - 18:39

Comments on the Meet

The Whitefish Cross Country teams headed to Missoula with hopes of earning high team finishes at the State Championships held at the University of Montana Golf Course. The boys wanted a high placing. Last season a placing of seventeenth was not the type of finish that you could talk much about. The Lady Bulldogs figured that with a perfect race it may be possible to bring home a third place trophy. This was a goal that has proven elusive through the history of the girls program.

The boys were first to compete. As they headed off from the starting line it was hard to tell if the race plan of getting out quicker was working. The gradual up hill of the first mile, and the super fast start of the rest of the field pretty much threw out any idea of getting out with the leaders. This led to a plan B, catch as many as you can when they fade off the fast pace.

Ian Mallams led the Bulldogs as he worked his way up into the top 13. The bonus of finishing in the top 15 was becoming an All State Team selection. Drew Coco wasn't very far behind as he finished in 16:45. His 16th place was fantastic for a freshman, even if it fell just one place and two seconds shy of the All State Team. He was rewarded with the fact that his time was the fastest time recorded by a freshman in any of the four classes during the Championship meet. Of course it also helped the team score. Erik Anderson looked to finally shake off the worst part of an ankle injury he suffered about three weeks back, as he finished as the number 3 runner in 17:41. Blake Bjornson and Jacob Fern rounded out the scoring for the Whitefish team. The final team placing: eighth with 211 points.

The fact that all seven runners return for next season adds even more excitement for next year. This team has really proved themselves. Every team in front of them today is a very good team. I'm very happy with eighth place. Of the twenty-two boys that we had out for our program this season, twenty of them return for next year's team. The runners on this years state team had better plan on running in the off-seasons, because I know that there are others that looking to be there next year. That's just the kind of group these guys are. That's why they'll be great next year. Especially if we can get a freshman class like this season, Drew Coco, Pat McGunagle and Gentry Darkenwald are just the kind of runners that can make this team competitive for years to come when added to the Sophomores and juniors currently in the program.

Austin Troiano, and Daniel Holland brought great senior leadership to our program as they kept the younger runners looking forward rather than behind them. It was a shame that we couldn't run an eighth runner at state, because in Austin we had the best of all the teams in our race.

The girls were anxious to get their opportunity to race. Once the gun went off it became automatic for the Lady Bulldogs. They started off way back in the field, which has become a tradition for the group. I like to see every one of our runners to compete in the last mile. A more conservative first mile allows them a better chance for that. Of course that also scares me terribly for the first two miles, until they go flying by all the runners during the final mile.

That's exactly what freshman Beth Donovan did as she moved from about 40th place to 9th in the second half of the race. It takes a lot of confidence to run negative splits, but it keeps you looking forward and keeps you moving rather than settling in. Beth ran 19:35 to earn All State honors, as she flew by last year's defending champion in the last fifty meters of the race to finish ninth overall.

Clare Miller also had a fantastic race as she finished in 25th place in 20:47. Last season Clare finished in 81st place at the state meet. This is the kind of improvement I'd like to think we can see from our entire team for next year, provided we can have a bit more luck with the injury factor.

After making through the entire season last year without a major injury, we ran into a bit a bad luck this season. Our number-three finisher, at the state meet, Anne Danczyk (43rd in 21:30) has been fighting knee problems the past three weeks. Our number four runner Janna Rozar (49th in 21:36) was slowed through the entire off season with a sore hip, and our number five runner Lauren Kuennen was forced from the race with a flare-up of a hip flexor muscle at the half way point during the race. Added to this was the hot spot (pre-stress fracture) injury to the foot of Cassie Schell (73rd in 22:21) three weeks into the season, which forced her to water-run for most of the season. If it wasn't for band-aids and scotch tape I'm not sure where we'd be this season. If you asked me at the end of the season whether I'd take skill or luck, I'd take luck every time.

Yet with all the problems the young ladies encountered this season they still managed to finish as the fifth best team in the state, and only 8 points from being number four. As with the boy's team, all seven of the runners on the state team return for next season, and all are excited about going after that state trophy again. Maybe this time the goal will be for the biggest one of the three given at the meet. Again, this years freshman class gives hope that the ladies team will be a force for years to come. Besides Beth Donovan, other freshman runners include Natalie Kearns, Megan Shaver, and Carly Hendrix. All of these runners were part of the Varsity top seven at one time or another during the season. One of the nice things about the sport of cross country is that young runners can contribute to the success of the entire program.

This year's boys and girls teams accomplished quite a bit of success. I think they liked how it felt to be one of the top teams at the meets near the end of the season. It's this kind of success that will motivate the Bulldog runners to attempt to achieve all of the goals that they set for themselves. It's been a great fall, and I'm kind of sad to see it end. But... there's always track season.

Bill Brist
Whitefish High School
Cross Country Coach