The recent Thompson Falls Cross Country Invitational saw 29 schools drive into the water side golf course ahead of the meet.
Local Sanders County schools were represented by Thompson Falls, Hot Springs and Dixon — with plenty of out-of-county runners also turning up in bus droves.
“We’re really happy to see most every A and B team in northwestern Montana come to the meet,” said meet director Sarah Naegeli.
She along with some help had spent most the of the day at River’s Bend Golf Course just off Blueslide Road setting up the courses for junior high and high school runners.
The junior high course was a short two miles, while high school runners had a standard 5K course that also encompassed a few hills to run up along the green.
To ensure time was managed efficiently, there were four groups of runners, then from results posted times were split accordingly for varsity or junior varsity runners for overall placings.
With 384 registered runners, Naegeli said she was prepared to see some tough competition as there were many strong athletes that turned up for the meet.
Though afterwards, the Bluehawks held a fundraiser spaghetti dinner before teams headed back to their home towns.
“The meet usually runs from 3 p.m. to around 5:30 p.m. Then we host a dinner for teams who wish to stay and get some food. It’s just a fun way to wind down a great day,” she said.
Even though Hot Springs High School turns out a small cross country team, their only senior on this year’s team, Josh Scrivner, was out on injury.
Having sprained his knee, Scrivner said he was out for two meets and hoping to be back running before divisional.
Although sidelined, he said he was enjoying a different aspect of being a part of the team as he was helping the younger runners prep and also cheer them on from the sidelines.
Hoping alongside his coach to encourage his fellow teammates, Scrivner said although he is a little “bummed out” to not be running, he is enjoying a different role of being part of the team until he returns to action.
Top 3 finishes in each division of the meet:
(Full results for the invitational can be viewed on competitivetiming.com.)
First place: James Normandeau of Ronan ran a time of 16:51.50 at a pace of 5:37
Second place: Tyler Schmautz of Frenchtown ran a time of 16:57.76 at a pace of 5:39
Third place: Joe Lamb of Columbia Falls ran a time of 16:58.55 at a pace of 5:40
First place: Beatrix Frissell of Polson ran a 19:38.82 at a pace of 6:33
Second place: Bigfork’s Anya Young ran a time of 20:09.24 at a pace of 6:43
Third place: Eureka’s Mckay Guckenberg ran a time of 20:26.24 at a pace of 6:49
Junior Varsity Boys:
First place: Isaiah Nasewytewa of Ronan ran a 18:51.10 at a pace of 6:17
Second place: Makauly Morrison of Polson ran a time of 19:38.26 at a pace of 6:33
Third place: Andrew Reed also from Polson ran a 19:39.40 at a pace of 6:33
Junior Varsity Girls:
First place: Annie Robertson from Whitefish ran a 23:04.65 at a pace of 7:42
Second place: Maylani Horton also from Whitefish ran a 23:15.03 at a pace of 7:45
Third place: Frenchtown’s Jalena Jackson ran a 24:28.73 at a pace of 8:10
Middle School Boys:
First place: Bigfork’s C. Ballard ran 12:21.82 at a pace of 9:31
Second place: Zoran Lafromboise of Ronan ran a 12:36.14 at a pace of 9:42
Third place: Issac Stewart of Frenchtown ran a 12:37.41 at a pace of 9:43
Middle School Girls:
First place: Seely Lake’s Emily Maughan ran a 13:00.30 at a pace of 10:00
Second place: Madeline Jellison of Bigfork ran a 13:24.03 at a pace of 10:18
Third place: Thompson Fall’s Hattie Neesvig ran a 13:39.84 at a pace o 10:31
Fellow Lady Bluehawk Ellie Baxter was only point oh-two hundredths of a second behind Neesvig to finish in fourth place.
Naegeli had said earlier in the meet, that the two middle school female runners had really been hitting their strides this season.
Both Neesvig and Baxter had been consistently finishing in the top 10 slots at meets and predicted a top five placing for both girls.
Although overall didn’t fare too well for Sanders County runners, there was still a strong turnout with most finishing in the top 20.