GREAT FALLS — Butte High cross country coach Guy Wadas called Saturday a “mixed bag of results” as the Bulldogs closed the season at the MHSA 56th State Cross Country Championships at the Eagle Falls Golf Club. (Results)
That came on a day when Bozeman’s boys won the Class AA state title for a record 12th year in a row. On the girls’ side, Bozeman took home the title for the 12th time in 13 years.
The Bozeman girls scored 38 points for the title. Missoula Hellgate finished second at 60, and Helena High claimed third at 94.
Butte High took 15th place, losing a tiebreaker for 14th with Great Falls High.
Helena High’s Kylie Hartnett won the AA girls’ race, finishing the 3.15-mile course in 17 minutes, 49 seconds. Bozeman’s Terra Trom took second at 18:04.29, just ahead of Hellgate’s Abby Kendrick at 18:04.45.
Butte High junior Hailey Nielson placed 27th overall, crossing in 20:03. Classmate Kyla Felix was second for Butte High at 21:48. That is a personal-best time for Felix.
Junior Ida Real, who, like Nielson, has been battling injury finished in 23:26. Also for the Bulldogs junior Kadance Dallaserra finished in 25:47, and senior Justice Ross crossed in 25:48.
“We had some runners in their first state race and they ran incredibly well,” Wadas said. “Justice Ross and Kadance Dallaserra both broke into the 25s today for the first time ever. Kyla Felix ran a PR today, too. I am proud of those three young women for a gutsy performance.”
Wadas said he feels bad for Nielson and Real, who put up with the pain to run for their school.
“I feel terrible for them as they have been among the most dedicated and most coachable girls I’ve ever coached,” Wadas said. “I feel like I let them down.”
Bozeman and Hellgate tied for the lead with 54 points in the boys’ race. The Hawks took the tiebreaker based on their No. 6 runner.
Kalispell Glacier Runner Simon Hill won with a time of 15:50. He beat Hellgate’s Ian Curtis by 2 seconds. Ignatius Fitzgerald of Hellgate took third at 16:03 and Bozeman’s William Hodgson placed fourth in 16:08.
Butte High’s top four runners were sophomores.
J.C. Connole placed 83rd overall to lead the way with a time of 18:40. Brady Maloughney finished in 18:46, Cohwen Houchin crossed in 18:57, while trey Whitlock finished in 19:01.
Also for the Bulldogs, junior Grant Smith crossed in 19:04, senior Sean Foley finished in 19:45 and freshman Ryan Tomich ran in 19:49. Butte High placed 15th in the team standings.
“On the boys side, I think it was a strong effort,” Wadas said. “Some may be dissatisfied with their performance, but we also had some others who ran PR’s or nearly a PR. The boys’ team return eight of the top nine from state along with a few more young guys who will definitely help us looking to next season.”
Wadas was already looking at the future for the Bulldog team that was down in numbers this season.
“We need to build off today’s performances and use this enthusiasm to get them training together consistently and at a higher level in order to compete at the AA level,” he said. “Brady Maloughney, J.C. Connole, Cohwen Houchin, Grant Smith, and Ryan Tomich all competed at state for the first time. For Trey Whitlock it was just his second time. I think that’s a good core of guys to build a great team around.
“Our lone senior runner at state, Sean Foley, was the top guy last week and had a down race. He’s been as steady and consistent as it gets for four years”
In the Class A girls’ race, Hamilton’s Brynnli Poulsen won with a time of 18:16. A pair of Dillon runners — junior Madalen Shipman (19:41) and sophomore Kelle Mosher (19:47) — placed second and third.
Butte Central junior Savannah Parks finished in 23:58.
The Hardin girls won the team title with 71 points. Corvallis placed second at 87.
Lewistown runner Sam Fulbright won the boys’ Class A title with a time of 16:10. He beat Hamilton’s Colter Kirkland by 7 seconds.
BC senior Jayden Mitchell closed his career with a time of 22:14.
Columbia Falls boys took home the championship trophy with 65 points. Hardin was second at 86.