Carlie Kearney steals show at Veterans Day Race

Carlie Kearney steals show at Veterans Day Race
Carlie Kearney waves to the crowd as she approaches the finish line of the 79th Veterans Day Race Friday in Butte. (Bill Foley photos)

By Bill Foley

Jesse Zentz and Joby Rosenleaf ran to victory on a picture perfect Friday morning in the Mining City.

The day, however, belonged to 5-year-old Carlie Kearney. The young girl, whose family now lives in Missoula, carried on a Butte family tradition and then some at the 79th Veterans Day Race.

Carlie ran the 2.5-mile race with her father, 2004 Butte Central graduate Ryan Kearney, as the Kearney family reached its fourth generation of runners in Montana’s oldest road race.

“I’m not super tired,” Carlie said moments after the race. “I had fun.”

Carlie finished the race in 35 minutes, 11 seconds. She placed second in the female division behind Sheila Franey, who finished in 32:39. Carlie, though, clearly was the winner of her age group, if there was one that low.

“I never had a race before,” Carlie said. “This was my first race, but I made it.”

Carlie finished the race waiving to a crowd of supporters and sporting a wide smile. She was even more excited when she was awarded her second-place trophy.

“She was so tough,” Ryan said. “I would say she ran about 70 percent. She didn’t take many breaks.”

Carlie’s mother, Ashleigh (Franklin), also a BC grad, completed the race while pushing Carlie’s two younger siblings in a stroller.

Ryan Kearney is a past champion of the 5.2-mile race. His uncle Bill Kearney also won the race. So did his grandfather, Marty Kearney. Ryan’s uncle, Pat Kearney, was the long-time organizer of the race.

Pat Kearney passed away in October of 2014, but his spirit was very much alive at Friday’s race, which came on possibly the nicest Veterans Day Butte has ever seen.

Ryan Kearney wore his uncle’s old shoe while running with his daughter.

“Pat Kearney is still running,” he said.

Zentz, 40, from Helena, won the men’s title in the 5.2-mile race with a blistering time of 29:09. Fellow Helena runner Evan Eck, the 2015 champion, placed second in 30:18. Michael LaForest placed third in 32:40.

Rosenleaf, who just finished her senior season on the Butte High cross country team, won the women’s title in 37:09. Long-time Butte competitive runner Susie Kaluza, who won the 50-59 age group, placed second in 39:39. Butte Central senior Abby McGee took third in 40:33.

Team Near won the male 2.5-mile race in 23:01.

In all, 47 runners competed in the race, which started at Stodden Park and ended at the American Legion Hall.

79th Veterans Day Race

2.5-mile race

Sheila Franey              32:39
Carlie Kearney           35:11
Ashleigh Kearney       41:44
Kay Newman              50:06
Cheryl Peterslie          50:08
Debbie Seitz               50:04

Tim Near                    23:01
Ryan Kearney             35:12

5.2-mile race
Female Overall
Joby Rosenleaf           37:09
Susie Kaluza               39:59
Abby McGee              40:33

Male Overall
Jesse Zentz                 29:09
Evan Eck                     30:18
Michael LaForest       32:40

Female High School
Joby Rosenleaf           37:09
Abby McGee              40:33
Rosie Real                  41:19

Male High School
Kasey Krzan               34:44
Sean Foley                  38:12

Female 14 and under
Ida Real                       44:18

Male 20-29
Chad Neu                    36:19
Trevor Fuhrman         36:27
Justin Penner              1:00:38

Male 30-39
Evan Eck                     30:18
Michael LaForest       32:40
Phillip K                     35:13
Brandon Bradley        38:04
Seth Salusso               105:48
Conan Moore              105:49

Female 40-49
Cyndie Lockett           42:02

Male 40-49
Jesse Zentz                 29:09
Don Foley                   33:48
Dan McGee                 38:07
Kelly Ferriter              38:55
Bob Whelan                44:06

Female 50-59
Susie Kaluza               39:59
Traci Merzlak             1:00:06

Male 50-59
Jeff Braun                   33:16
Bill Kearney               39:22
Scott Craigle               43:22
Mike Real                   45:56
Mike McCaughey       34:18

Female 60-69
Eddie Walker              51:45

Male 60-69
Howard Morris           45:06
Tim Johnston              51:02
Mike Patterson           51:45
Joe Griffin                  51:46
Dave Mueller              51:59
Vern Roberts              52:03
Chris Wareham          52:09
Bob Foley                   56:11
Tom McGuire             59:54

Male 70 plus
Leon Sherman            1:00:41

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