MISSOULA — Butte High cross country coach Guy Wadas was upbeat at the conclusion of the Montanan High School Association’s 55th State Cross Country Championships Saturday at the University of Montana Golf Course. (Results)
The Bulldogs didn’t return home with any All-State runners, but they head back to the Mining City with reason to be proud, Wadas said.
“It was a very good day,” Wadas said. “We had solid contributions from everyone, and we had a few big (personal records). Overall, I think the runners needed to step up and certainly Jake Vetter, Billy Cunneen and Trey Whitlock did. On the girls side, we had the best overall team time and score that we’ve had in a long time. Aubree Corcoran and Hailey Nielson led the way, but our 3,4,5 really made a huge difference for us today as all three PR’d — Pieper Joseph, Kyla Felix and Gabby Haberman.”
On the boys’ side, Bozeman defended its Class AA title once again with 65 points. Missoula Hellgate took second at 128, followed by Billings Senior at 136. Butte High placed 13th at 336.
Ben Perrin of Flathead topped the field, finishing the 5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 43 seconds. Simon Hill of Kalispell Glacier took second at 15:55, followed by Aren Alexander-Battee of Glacier at 15:59.
Vetter, Cunneen and Carlson, a trio of seniors, paced the Bulldogs. Vetter placed 23rd in 16:46. He missed All-State, which is the top 15 individuals by 12 seconds. Vetter, who also played soccer for the Bulldogs, missed much of the season with an injured knee.
Cunneen crossed in 17:29, while Carlson finished in 18:18. Whitlock, a freshman, finished in 18:59.
Also finishing for the Bulldogs were seniors Xavier Black (19:16) and Andrew VandenBos (19:43) and junior Sean Foley (20:15).
In the Class A girls’ race, Hellgate dethroned Bozeman, beating the Hawks 37-57. Billings Senior took third at 85. Butte High placed 11th at 273.
Billings Senior star Tiahna Vladic capped a stellar senior season with the State title. She finished in 17:40. Terra Trom of Bozeman took second at 18:03. Ember Stratton of Hellgate placed third at 18:09.
Corcoran finished in 19:55 to place 27th. She finished six spots ahead of fellow sophomore Hailey Nielson, who crossed in 20:17.
Joseph, a freshman, finished in 21:26, while Felix finished in 21:57 and Haberman clocked in at 22:30. Felix is a sophomore, while Haberman is a senior.
Also running for Butte High were sophomore Ida Real (23:28) and senior Helena Schoonen (24:20).
“The coaches are extremely proud of the runners,” Wadas said. “The state meet is always a bittersweet day, especially for the seniors. We’ll lose several seniors who made a lasting impact and helped define our program. That’s something the coaches and team are going to need for next year as all our captains are seniors too. We’re going to enjoy this one.”
In the Class A boys’ race, Butte Central junior Jayden Mitchell broke the 20-minute mark, finishing in 19:21. Freshman Asa Little crossed in 21:10.
Levi Taylor of Laurel won the race in 16:18.
Beatrix Frissell of Polson crossed in 19:02 to win the girls’ Class A race. BC sophomore Savannah Parks finished in 24:13.