Manhattan Christian’s boys have excelled this fall and it continued Saturday at the Butte Invitational Cross Country Carnival.
The three-time defending state Class C champions finished fifth behind four AA programs at Stodden Park with 140 points, and several runners set personal bests.
Ben Morrison paved the way by placing sixth overall with a time of 16:11.1. The senior once again broke his own school record for a 5K and was among four Eagles in the top 40.
“We had some really good times,” Christian coach Nate TeSlaa said. “It’s a fast course, so that’s kind of what we were hoping for.”
Riley Schott set a personal best with a time of 16:36.1 to place 12th, while Matt Kenney and Sam Leep also set personal bests with times of 17:15.7 and 17:34.7 to finish 30th and 39th, respectively.
“And my guys a little further back are starting to come up too,” noted TeSlaa. “Eli (Swets) and Logan (Leep) dropped some big time on Saturday as well, so that’s always good this time of year.”
Logan Leep and Swets posted times of 18:34.2 and 18:43.0, respectively, while Devan Walhof was 54th with a time of 17:58.8.
“They just looked good,” said TeSlaa. “I think we’re right where we need to be. I think this is kind of where we want to be and it’s just starting to come together.”
Bozeman won the team title with 38 points, while Billings Senior (91) and Helena (97) rounded out the top three. Manhattan was 11th with a score of 309 and Belgrade 18th with a 469.
“It was cold and windy again, but it was good to get on a faster course with some good competition,” Manhattan coach John Sillitti said. “Many of our runners had season and lifetime bests. It is partly the course being pretty flat and fast, but it’s also the time of year when our change in training begins to show results.”
Wyatt Barney posted a time of 17:15.2 to place 29th for Manhattan, while Michael Tenney was 35th in 17:25.7. They were the only two Tigers to break the top 50.
Belgrade was led by Samuel Nash, who posted a time of 17:16.1 to place 32nd.
“Sam Nash got taken out when another kid slipped on the side hill, so his time wasn’t the best, but it probably would have been,” Belgrade coach Rachel White said.
On the girls side, Bozeman won the team title with 31 points followed by Helena (73) and Flathead (81). Manhattan was sixth with a 172.
Hallie Hemenway led the Tigers with a time of 20:09.1 to place 21st. Jodi Cameron also cracked the top 25 — she was 25th — with a time of 20:23.7.
Saige and Pralie Duffin also had solid performances for Manhattan, placing 33rd and 40th, respectively, with times of 20:49.4 and 21:12.5.
“Most teams had a lot of runners with season bests, but now we also start to look at where we are finishing compared to other runners that we have seen earlier this year, particularly Class B runners,” said Sillitti. “Even on faster courses that gives us an idea how well we are progressing. I liked the progression I saw on Saturday, team-wide.”
Belgrade, which placed 14th with a score of 397, was led by Madison McLaughlin. The senior finished with a time of 22:22.8.
White noted the effort of Charlize Glasgow, Avery Johnson, Kaitlyn Morgan and Kyra Giese, who placed 16th in the junior varsity race.
“Kyra had a season best,” said White. “She ran JV to make it back in time for band. We were missing quite a few kids today.”
Christian did not field a full team, but like the boys, had strong performances led by Ava Bellach. The freshman placed 79th with a time of 23:07.8.
“Girls did great. I think PR’s all around there too,” said TeSlaa. “Ava had a really strong day and she’s double sporting (with volleyball), so just watching the time fall for her.”
Mali Kamerman returned from an injury and cut time to finish in 23:59.3.
“The girls team is just strong,” said TeSlaa. “They’re all young, they haven’t done it before except for Ava ... they’re all just coming on strong now. So I’m excited to see how much time we can drop in the next couple weeks and where that puts us for state.”
Belgrade returns to action Oct. 17 at a meet hosted by Bozeman, while Manhattan and Manhattan Christian will compete at the Townsend Invitational on Oct. 19.
Full meet results are here: http://www.buttetrackclub.com/data/uploads/bixc2019/Allresults.htm
Butte High Invitational
(at Stodden Park, Butte)
Team scores: 1. Bozeman 31, 2. Helena 73, 3. Kalispell Flathead 81, 4. Missoula Sentinel 107, 5. Helena Capital 159, 6. Manhattan 172, 7. Townsend 196, 8. Billings Skyview 211, 9. Great Fall CMR 218, 10. Kalispell Glacier 244, 11. Billings Senior 245, 12. Great Falls 328, 13. Missoula Big Sky 358, 14. Belgrade 397, 15. Anaconda 430, Inc. Butte, Inc. Butte Central, Inc. Cascade, Inc. Manhattan Christian.
Top 10: 1. Kylie Hartnett, Helena, 17:38.5; 2. Terra Trom, Bozeman, 17:58.6; 3. Elena Vandersloot, Billings Senior, 18:17; 4. Natalie McCormick, Bozeman, 18:42.3; 5. Lucia McCormick, Bozeman, 18:47.2; 6. Riley Moore, Bozeman, 18:49.6; 7. Odessa Zentz, Helena, 19:13.2; 8. Emma Stolte, Townsend, 19:14.6; 9. Kynsie Schmidt, CMR, 19:21.8; 10. Madelaine Jellison, Flathead, 19:22.3.
Team scores: 1. Bozeman 38, 2. Billings Senior 91, 3. Helena 97, 4. Missoula Sentinel 115, 5. Manhattan Christian 140, 6. Great Falls CMR 199, 7. Billings Skyview 207, 8. Kalispell Glacier 215, 9. Great Falls 235, 10. Billings West 245, 11. Manhattan 309, 12. Kalispell Flathead 328, 13. Helena Capital 332, 14. Missoula Big Sky 357, 15. Townsend 365, 16. Butte 457, 17. Belgrade 469, 18. Anaconda 527, 19. Twin Bridges 538, Inc. Butte Central, Inc. Cascade, Inc. Fairfield.
Top 10: 1. Owen Smith, Senior, 15:50.1; 2. Connor O’Hara, CMR, 16:00.6; 3. Seth Wyatt, Bozeman, 16:02.5; 4. Stirling Marshall-Pryd, Bozeman, 16:06.6; 5. Jonathan Wheeler, Bozeman, 16:09.8; 6. Ben Morrison, Manhattan Christian, 16:11.1; 7. Jesse Dimich-Louvet, Senior, 16:21.5; 8. Finn Bentler, Senior, 16:21.9; 9. William Hodgson, Bozeman, 16:23.6; 10. Jonah Fisher, Helena, 16:24.2.