KALISPELL — Butte High cross country coach Guy Wadas called Saturday a “bittersweet day.”
Butte High senior Joby Rosenleaf capped her prep career with an 18th place at the 53rd Annual Montana High School Association Cross Country Championships at Rebecca Farm. Results
Rosenleaf posted her third-fastest time, finishing the 3-mile race in 18 minutes, 30 seconds, missing All-State honors by three places.
“She battled with the best of the state for 2.5 miles and narrowly missed all state,” Wadas said. “She was bummed, but she had a tremendous season.”
Rosenleaf’s effort highlighted performances by 14 runners from Butte High and three from Butte Central Saturday.
Bulldog senior Sean Staples posted a personal best time of 16:27 to place 36th the boys’ side. Bozeman’s Chase Equall won with an lights-out time of 14:40, beating teammate Duncan Hamilton by 20 seconds.
Counting Staples, Butte High had five runners crack 18 minutes in the final meet of the season.
However, the Bulldogs placed 14th out of 14 in the extremely difficult Class AA field. The Bozeman boys and girls swept the team titles.
Jake Vetter (17:26), Austin Gerry (17:29), Erik Casagranda (17:32) and Kyle Konda (17:45) broke 18 minutes.
“We had big improvements over last season and for that I’m very proud of them,” Wadas said. “The team was about 4 minutes faster and scored about 40 points less than last season.”
Kasey Krzan (18:44) and Brok Martin (19:13) also ran for the Bulldogs.
“Kasey Krzan and Brok Martin displayed toughness and for their first time running at state.”
Tiahna Vladic of Billings Senior won the girls’ Class AA race in 16:40.
Also running for Butte High were Cati Carmody (20:59), Danika Murphy (21:23), Rosie Real (22:02), Cynthia Trudgeon (22:56), Taylor Huff (23:36) and Brianna Cunneen (23:47). The Bulldogs placed 12th overall.
“The girls also ran collectively about 5 minutes faster than last season,” Wadas said. “Cati Carmody ran her best race of the season as did Cynthia Trudgeon, who broke the 23 minute mark. Danika was solid again. She has a huge amount of potential. Rosie ran a good race as did Brianna and Taylor. I know the girls didn’t feel great about their races, especially Brianna as she was so invested in this season and wanted it so badly. She’s a great kid.”
Wadas said the future is bright for the Bulldogs.
“We’re headed in the right direction,” he said. “Our improvement needs to accelerate so we can make bigger gains as the entire state is improving tremendously, too. We had a solid season and I’m grateful for the boys and girls I was able to coach. They’ve believed in me and our system. Now it’s a matter of whether or not they want to make the commitment and sacrifice to get there.”
In the Class A, Butte Central senior Abby McGee closed in career in fine form, placing 33rd with a time of 20:37. Pipi Eitel of Belgrade won in 18:17.
BC junior Brian McGeehan finished in 58th place on the boys’ side. He crossed in 17:46. Carson Jessop of Belgrade won the race in 15:38.
Zach Carlson also ran for the Maroons, finishing in 18:20.