There were some ups and downs, but for the most part local harriers shined Thursday at the Butte Invitational Cross Country Carnival on the Fairmont Hot Springs Golf Course.
Manhattan boasted top 15 finishers in both the boys and girls varsity races, and the Tigers’ boys placed 13th as a team behind Manhattan Christian.
“Our boys are working through some illness and injury but we are heading in the right direction,” Manhattan coach John Sillitti said.
Missoula Sentinel won the team title with 88 points, while Christian was 12th with 280. Manhattan finished with 327 led by the effort of Zak Meeker, who placed 15th in 16:52.8. Teammate Bryce Love was 30th in 17:19.2.
“Zak Meeker ran a solid time but felt a little flat,” said Sillitti. “Bryce Love is dealing with an abdominal strain that held him back a little in the race.”
Sillitti also noted the effort of Isaac Boyd, Luke Meeker and Wyatt Barney, who placed 91st, 107th and 84th, respectively.
“Isaac Boyd had a nice race and is running more confidently. Wyatt Barney and Luke Meeker are both getting over being sick and we are looking forward to them being healthy,” he said. “Luke still ran a nice PR despite some lingering effects of a cold. Some good competition for our last couple varsity spots with our 6-7 runners and JV guys.”
Christian was led by Ben Morrison, who placed 16th in 16:52.8. Sam Leep was 40th in 17:30.6, while Matt Kenney (54th, 17:53.7), Grant VanDyken (66th, 18:01.1), Eli Swets (109th, 18:57.1), and Jackson Leep (117th, 19:11.5) followed. Leep, Kenney, Swets and Leep each set personal bests.
“We had good times,” Christian coach Nate TeSlaa said. “Riley (Schott) didn’t run but other than that the team did well.”
Belgrade was 15th in the team standings with 369 points led by Caden Chisholm, who was 48th in 17:42.5. Jackson Thorn was 60th (17:58.3), while Drew Dunning was 72nd (18:17.2).
Three Forks competed with just two runners in Bryce Olson and Devon Potts, who placed 89th and 141st, respectively.
On the girls side, Billings Senior boasted four top 10 placers en route to winning with 39 points. Belgrade was 13th with 300, while Three Forks placed 15th with 355. Manhattan did not field a full team.
The top local finisher was Manhattan’s Saige Duffin. The freshman placed 13th with a time of 20:04.5.
Jessa Steele placed 20th for the Tigers in 20:18.6, while teammate Jodi Cameron was 29th in 20:45.9.
“Saige and Jessa ran big lifetime bests and Jodi improved by 30 seconds off her season best,” noted Sillitti. “We ran the rest of our girls on JV because our 4-9 runners have been so close time-wise and we needed to see them all in the same race. We had some really good times in that race.”
Three Forks’ Kyle Olson placed 25th with a time of 20:38.4, while Hannah Wilson was 61st in 21:53.6.
“Our girls ran strong,” Three Forks coach Tara Forsberg said. “Kyle is running faster each week. Hannah Wilson ran very well as did Lily Jones.”
Jones was 111th with a time of 24:06.7, while Traci Johnson finished with a time of 23:29.4 to place 98th.
Belgrade was led by Marissa Giese, who was 44th in 21:24.2. Sister Kyra Giese was close behind, placing 49th in 21:30.7, and Audrey Maroney was 73rd in 22:25.5.
“They did great,” Belgrade coach Rachel White said. “A few season bests and lots of PRs. We are improving our team times every week and are staying injury-free for the most part.”
All four local teams return to action Sept. 29 at the annual Mountain West Classic in Missoula.
Butte High Invitational
(at Fairmont Hot Springs)
Top 6 teams: 1. Missoula Sentinel 88; 2. Billings Senior 93; 3. Helena 115; 4. Glacier 128; 5. Billings West 198; 6. Great Falls 198.
Top 5 individuals: 1. Ben Perrin, Flathead, 15:2572; 2. Levi Taylor, Laurel, 16:03.5; 3. Simon Hall, Glacier, 16:22.5; 4. Aren Alexander-Battee, Glacier, 16:26.2; 5. Owen Smith, Billings Senior, 16:27.4; 6. McKay Hunter, Missoula Sentinel, 16:31.4; 7. Caleb Hornung, Billings West, 16:33.5.
Top 6 teams: 1. Billings Senior 39; 2. Flathead 77; 3. Helena 78; 4. Missoula Sentinel 149; 5. Billings Skyview 189; 6. Glacier 194.
Top 10 individuals: 1. Tiahna Vladic, Billings Senior, 18:05.3; 2. Kylie Hartnett, Helena, 19:15.1; 3. Emberlyn Hoffman-Gasch, Billings Skyview, 19:21.6; 4. Tori Noland-Gillespie, Flathead, 19:23.8; 5. Elena Vandersloot, Billings Senior, 19:23.9. 6. Jaylyn Hallgrimson, Billings Senior, 19:32.8; 7. Jade Hallgrimson, Billings Senior, 19:48.