KALISPELL — Butte High senior Hailey Neilson ran to fifth place at Rebecca Farms Friday.
The future Montana Tech Oredigger ran the 5-kilometer course in 19 minutes, 59 seconds. Kylie Harnett of Helena High won the race of 52 runners with a time of 18:46. (Results)
Kensey May and Sage Brook of Missoula Hellgate were next in 18:58 and 19:04. Odessa Zentz of Helena was fourth at 19:44.
Hellgate won the team title with 33 points. Helena High took second in 51, and Kalispell Flathead finished third at 72.
Butte High did not have enough runners for a team score Kyla Felix (23:37), Ida Real (25:16) and Piper Joseph (25:42) also ran for Butte High.
Sophomore Ryan Tomich had another big day to lead the Butte High boys.
He placed 11th overall with a time of 18:28, just 11 seconds off the personal record he set last week in Missoula.
Ignatius Fitzgerald of Hellgate finished in 16:39 to win the race that featured 56 runners. Kalispell Glacier’s Sam Ells took second in 16:55. Missoula Sentinel’s Chase Green (17:03), Jacob Sriraman (17:15) and Corbin Johnson (17:25) followed.
Butte junior Brady Maloughney ran to 21st place with a time of 19:29.
“We had some breakthrough races today,” Bulldog coach Guy Wadas said. “I was proud of our effort today. I think we are seeing progress in practice, racing, and understanding that it takes everyone getting a little better every day. We’ve been working on worrying about the things we can control and process the goals we can reach.”
Hellgate won the team title with 68 points, beating Sentinel by two. Helena Capital finished third at 88. Butte High finished eight with 158.
Trey Whitlock (20:37), Grant Smith (24:08), Ladd Hutchinson (24:59), Cole Hunter (25:23) and Mikey Haldane (27:00) also ran for the Bulldogs.
“The JV boys and JV girls really shined today,” Wadas said. “Huge improvements from those runners. We saw Grant Smith and Kyla Felix getting back to where we expect our seniors and captains to be. Hailey had a great opportunity to go head to head with some of the top runners in the state and she more than held her own. We had a great week and I think we will be ready going forward. We’re working harder than ever and the runners are expecting more of themselves.”
Next up for the Bulldogs is a trip to Missoula for the Hellgate Quads on Sept. 19.