Western cross country team makes history

HELENA — The University of Montana Western cross country team made history on Friday by running in the first race in school history, the Carroll College Early Bird Special.

In Montana Western’s inaugural race, they saw results that head coach Dylan Zitzer was happy about. “I feel good about how they (the athletes) performed today,” Zitzer said

The Bulldogs roster is comprised of almost all freshmen, seven women and six men. The women’s roster features Mindy Kaufman, Beth Jansma, Gabi Gomez-Wint, Kylie Eliot, Caleigh Buckmaster, Devi Tull, and Amanda Stobie. The men’s roster includes Russell Kujala, Paul Bielawaski, Marcus Bearmedicine, Cole Davis, Tanner Lehr, and Dalton Delaney.

For the women, they were led by Mindy Kaufman from Teton High School in Driggs, Idaho. Kaufman who finished the race in 15th place with a time of 16 minutes and 14 seconds. She was followed closely by Bozeman’s Beth Jansma who finished in 22nd place with a time of 16 minutes and 46 seconds. The women did not have enough competitors to achieve a team score.

The men were led by Shelby’s Paul Bielawski, who finished in a time of 13 minutes and 55 seconds, which put him in 18th place on the day. Russell Kujala followed closely on heels finishing in a time of 13 minutes and 56 seconds and in 21st. The men paced 5th in the meet with a total team time of 111 minutes and 39 seconds.

Kaufman and Bielawski are now school record holders at the University of Montana Western.

Coach Zitzer is very excited about the group, “

This first season is all about hard work and progress for these kids, and I’m seeing that every day,” he said.

They will compete again on next Saturday at the Montana State University Open in Bozeman.

— Montana Western Sports Information

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