Butte High and Butte Central’s cross country runners showed that they are nearing peak condition Saturday at the Butte Invitational.
Three weeks before the State meet, the Bulldogs and Maroons posted solid times at a chilly Highland View Golf Course.
“”I believe they all either had a personal best or season best,” said Butte High assistant coach Ashely Choquette. “(Head coach) Guy (Wadas) and I were extremely happy with the performances by all the kids today. “The kids have moved into phase two of their training where we’ve added more pace work to our runs. We have been practicing more on grass as well to simulate the majority of our races.”
Butte Central coach Bob Johnson echoed Choquette. The long-time BC mentor pointed out that his team is finally beyond an injury and illness bug that has hampered the team in recent weeks.
“I was pleased with how they all ran,” Johnson said. “They are all definitely still improving, so I hope they peak by the State meet.”
The meet saw fast times all around, and none were faster than Missoula Sentinel’s Marshall Beatty and Kalispell Glacier’s Annie Hill.
Hill won the girls’ race, finishing the 3-mile course in 17 minutes, 2 seconds. The sophomore beat Billings Senior freshman Tiahna Vladic, the second-place runner, by 18 seconds.
Beatty, a junior, finished the course in a blistering 14:47. Defending Class AA State champion Aidan Reed placed second in 15:09.
Butte High senior Nic Raiser paced Butte High’s boys, placing 24th in 16:45.
Bulldog sophomore Austin Gerry finished in 17:31. Junior Kyle Konda finished in 17:47 and sophomore Erik Casagranda crossed in 17:55.
Also for the Butte High boys, senior Seth Grant ran in 18:25 and senior Gunther Clark ran in 18:53.
Choquette pointed out that freshman Kasey Krzan (18:56) and Garrett Miller (18:57) both broke the 19-minute mark in the junior varsity race.
Butte High’s boys placed 15th with 382 points. Billings Senior won with 47. Helena High followed with 124. Butte Central placed 20th at 587.
Sophomore Brian McGeehan paced the Maroons, finishing in an impressive 17:03.
Freshman Zach Carlson (19:07) and sophomore Theron Nelson (19:13) broke the 20-minute mark. Sophomore Nathan Ortega finished in 20:39, while Ian Campbell crossed in 22:10.
Junior Abby McGee, BC’s lone girl runner, finished in 21:47.
Butte High junior Joby Rosenleaf led the Butte High girls, crossing the finish line in 19:22. Teammate Cati Carmody, a junior, finished in 20:21.
Sophomore Rosie Real (22:26), junior Sydney Pendergast (23:06), senior Abby Burke (23:48), junior Sheridan Hafer (25:17) and junior Haley Mellott (26:23) also ran for the Bulldogs.
For the first time, the meet included elementary races, and 38 runners competed in the 1-mile competition. Meet organizers are planning on making this an annual event.
Kennedy Elementary won the Traveling Team Spirit Trophy for having the most finishers with 16.
The middle school race also drew a large field, with 125 boys and 105 girls running.