XCountry – 2020

Friday, September 4, 2020

Ronan’s Heiner wins Canal Bank


Special for the Leader

At Ronan, the host team crowned a boys champion at the Canal Bank Run when Brant Heiner crossed the finish line ahead of the pack with a personal record sub-17 finish. Fellow Chief runner Zarec Couture took fifth place with a sub-19, while the Mission Bulldog tandem of Andrew Rush along with Thomas Nuila and Polson Pirate Ryan Dupuis all posted sub-19s to make the top 10. Polson Pirate twice all-stater Mason Sloan and Drifter Skillicorn both turned in sub-20s to squeeze into the top 15.

On the girls side of the spectrum, defending State A champion Brynnli Poulsen of Hamilton led the pack.

Ronan Maiden Olivia Heiner captured fifth, while 2019 all-conference Polson Lady Pirates Karli Owens and Halle Heninger churned sub-24s to make the top 10 grid.

Laying down the gauntlet that youth will be served were Polson Lady Pirate frosh phenoms Maddilyn Huffine and Adison Carlson, who both finished among the top fifteen with sub-25s.

Polson runners ordinarily attend the Highlander Invitational in Spokane this upcoming weekend. But due to pandemic precautions, will be staying closer to home to instead compete in a newly formatted event at the Ridgewater Complex over the Ridgewater Community Trail system this Saturday.

Ronan was originally slated to attend the Kalispell Invite held at Rebecca Farms, but will now compete in another rendition of the Canal Bank Run. Mission is slated to compete at Bigfork. Charlo is slated to plug in with Polson at the Ridgewater meet.

Arlee and Two Eagle River could attend any of these events.

2020 Ronan Canal Bank Run North Crow Friday, Sept. 4 Girls Team results (low score wins): 1, Corvallis (C) 36; 2, Polson (P) 53; 3, Frenchtown (F) 79; 4, Hamilton (H) 135; Mission St. Ignatius, Ronan (R), Charlo (incompl.) Top 15 individuals 1, Brynnli Poulsen (H) 20:49; 2, Olivia Buoy (C) 21:32; 3, Abby Sherwood (F) 21:47; 4, Laurie Davidson (C) 23:02; 5, Olivia Heiner (R) 23:09; 6, Karli Owens (P) 23:31; 7, Anna Jessop (C) 23:48; 8, Halle Heninger (P) 23:52; 9, Baylor Duke (F) 24:18; 10, Halle Rhodes (C) 24:27; 11, Maddilyn Huffine (P) 24:30; 12, Adison Carlson (P) 24:30; 13, Jessica Venema (C) 24:45; 14, Sophie Verso 25:28; 15, Jordyn Jessop 26:06.

Mission Valley teams POLSON 6, Karli Owens 23:31; 8, Halle Heninger 23:52; 11, Maddilyn Huffine 24:30; 12, Adison Carlson 24:30; 16, Ashtyn Wagner 26:15; 17, Katelyn Smith 26:15; 24, Isabel Seeley 27:53; 26, Sami Dolberry 28.53; dns, River Shoemake; dns, Zoe Crowl.

RONAN – 5, Olivia Heiner 23:09; 21, Brogan Youngren 27:12.79; 31, Nichole Koehler 29:49; 32, Kaona Trahan 29:57; MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – 19, Kooper Page 26:42; 25, Emily Flatlip 28:13; 27, Ellanah Flatlip 29:15; CHARLO – 22, Guinevere Contreras 27:29; 30, Aryal Love 29:37.

Boys Team results Hamilton (H) 28, Corvallis 80,Ronan (R) 83, Polson (P) 96, Mission St. Ignatius(MSI) 101, Frenchtown (F), Charlo (inc.) Top 15 individuals 1, Brant Heiner (R) 16:44pr; 2, CJ Purcell (H) 17:04; 3, Lane Cole (H) 17:53; 4, Colter Kirkland (H) 18:07; 5, Zarec Couture (R) 18:26; 6, Andrew Rush (MSI) 18:30; 7, ThomasNuila (MSI) 18:41; 8, Ryan Dupuis (P) 18:50; 9, Harrison Silverio (H) 18:53; 10, Zachary Kunkel(H) 19:15; 11, Yannis Jessop (C) 19:19; 12,Mason Sloan (P) 19:31; 13, Carver Tison (H) 19:34; 14, Landen Conner (C) 19:40; 15, Drifter Skillicorn (P) 19:44. RONAN – 1, Brant Heiner 16:44pr; 5, Zarec Couture 18:26; 23, Dillon Omeassoo 20:52; 26, Zander Nolen 12:19; 28, Michael Irvine 12:28; 29, Beau Decker 22:02;

37, Landon Bishop 22:47; 46, Nicholas Dresen 24:37; 49, Keyan PrettyOnTop 25:00.06; 50, Wendall Charlo 25:11; 51, Xavier Nolen 25:42; 53, Lucas Delaney 26:57; 55, Ian Dillard 29:23; 56, Brett Myers 29:24; 64, Ridge Barney 43:28.

POLSON – 8, Ryan Dupuis 18:50; 12, Mason Sloan 19:31; 15, Drifter Skillicorn 19:44; 30, Sean Stewart 22:08; 31, Aiden Gfroerer 22:09; 33, Brandt Heninger 22:17; 34, Kai McDonald 22:26; 35, David Bjorge 22:27; 36, Noah Roberts 22:33; 42, Xavier Pierre 23:38; 60, Wica Brown 33:55; 63, Tommy Williams 37:08; na, Aidan Murdock 22:28; na, Hayden Clairmont 28:32; na, Kai Clifford 30:58 MISSION ST. IGNATIUS – 6, Andrew Rush 18:30; 7, Thomas Nuila 18:41; 16, Zoran La-Frombois 19:48; 32, Erich Morigeau 22:11; 40, Leo Peirce 23:31; 41, Kody Dillard 23:36; 47, Landry Leishman 24:54; 54, Isaiah Nasewytewa 27:30; 62, Conner Burke 35:43; CHARLO – 45, Hayden Smith 24:14.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Polson Fairgrounds XC

At Polson

In Polson, Columbia Falls swept the Fairgounds meet, scoring 39 points in the boys race and 16 in the girls. In the boys event, Whitefish was second with 50, followed by Ronan (52) and Polson (87). Polson scored 50 to finish second in the girls event. Ronan’s Brant Heiner was the winner in the boys event, and Columbia Falls runner Lara Erickson took the girls title.


Team standings: 1) Columbia Falls 39; 2) Whitefish 50; 3) Ronan 53; 4) Polson 87.

Individual top-15: 1) Brant Heiner (RON); 2) Jacob Henson (WHI); 3) James Role (COL); 4) Michael Irvine (RON); 5) James Petersen (COL); 6) Zarec Couture (RON); 7) Mason Sloan (POL); 8) Seth Umbriaco (COL); 9) Deneb Linton (WHI); 10) Ruedi Steiner (WHI); 11) Bailey Sjostrom (COL); 12) TJ Jacobi (COL); 13) Ryan Dupuis (POL); 14) Zack Dunnagan (WHI); 15) Gabe Lund (WHI).


Team standings: 1) Columbia Falls, 16; 2) Polson 50.

Individual top-15: 1) Lara Erickson (COL); 2) Hannah Sempf (COL); 3) Ally Sempf (COL); 4) Emma Upton (COL); 5) Olivia Heiner (RON); 6) Alyssa Blankenship (COL); 7) Siri Erickson (COL); 8) Halle Heninger (POL); 9) Karli Owens (POL); 10) Ashtyn Wagner (POL); 11) Maddilyn Huffine (POL); 12) Adison Carlson (POL); 13) Katelyn Smith (POL); 14) Brogen Youngren (RON);15) Kaona Trahan (RON).

Saturday, November 26,2020

Pirates sweep meet at Libby

BY JOHN HEGLIE. Special for the Leader

Mission Valley area cross country runners recently wrapped up their fifth week of season competition not only traversing riparian ecosystems and wilderness areas, but also successfully evading any potential obstacles related to a lingering respiratory pandemic. 

Polson was originally slated to compete at Thompson Falls as well, but restructured their plans by attending a wilderness run in Libby. The Polson girls shut out their competitors to reap the top seven slots. Lady Pirate junior Halle Heniger turned in a personal best sub-23, while fellow all-conference accolade accentuated teammate Karli Owens took runnerup honors and Ashtyn Wagner placed third.

Among the Pirate boys, Mason Sloan turned in a sub-18 for first place, Ryan Dupuis ran a sub-19 for second, while Drifter Skillicorn clocked in at a sub-20 for third place.

Many teams among the Class A ranks will have already competed in the Whitefish Invitational at the Whitefish Golf Course on Tuesday, while Mission hosts its reschedule St. Ignatius Invitational that Tuesday as well.
Several area teams along with many others throughout Northwest Montana are slated to compete in the Mission Shadow Duels at the Silver Fox Golf Course in Pablo on Saturday.

Libby S’More Wilderness Run Flower Creek XC Ski Area

Girls Team Scores: 1, Polson 15; 2, Libby 50.

Individual finishers: 1, Halle Heninger (P) 22:55.67pr; 2, Karli Owens (P) 23:19.43; 3, Ashtyn Wagner (P) 23:50.31; 4, Adison Carlson (P) 23:50.79; 5, Maddilyn Huffine (P) 23:52.9; 6, Katelyn Smith (P) 24:51.02; 7, Isabel Seeley (P) 24:51.3; 8, Aurora Smith (L) 26:05.1; 9, Annika Benner (L) 33:39.01; 10, Raevynn Voss (L) 33:52.9; 11, Savanna Sanderson (L) 35:20.95;12, Katlyn Huff (L) 35:21.68.

Boys Team scores: 1, Polson (P) 22; 2, Libby (L) 34.

Individual finishers: 1, Mason Sloan (P) 17:51.05; 2, Ryan Dupuis (P) 18:46.07; 3, Drifter Skillicorn (P) 19:31.42; 4, Greyson Thompson (L) 19:36.16; 5, Noah Roberts (P) 19:56.73; 6, Lucky Martin (L) 20:01.86; 7, Evan Jenks (L) 20:10.06; 8, Vance Ward (L) 20:10.72; 9, Dawson Rose (L) 20:10.84; 10, Cody Crace (L) 20:44.09; 11, David Bjorge (P) 21:00.05; 12, Aiden Gfroerer (P) 21:10.49; 13, Sean Stewart (P) 21:50.37.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Mission Shadows

Ronan runner Brant Heiner won the Mission Shadown Duels in 16:25, well ahead of second-place Hamilton’s Colter Purcell, who finished second in 16:47. Hamilton took the boys meet with a score of 18, and Columbia Falls won the boys event with a score of 20. Whitefish finished second in the boys race and Polson was the runner-up in the girls meet. Hamilton’s Brynnli Poulsen won the girls race in 19:34 and Lara Erickson of Columbia Falls was second in 20:31.

Cross Country
Mission Shadow Duels XC meet

At Silver Fox Golf Course, SKC, Pablo


Team scores: 1) Hamilton 18; 2) Whitefish 87; 3) Ronan 96; 4) Columbia Falls 99; 5) Dillon 152; 6) Polson 171; 7) St. Ignatius 191; 8) Libby 228; 9) Thompson Falls 235; 10) Loyola Sacred Heart 253; 11) Stevensville 365.

Top-15 individuals: 1) Brant Heiner (RON), 16:25; 2) Colter Purcell (HAM), 16:47; 3) Justin Morgan (TFHS),16:52; 4) Ben Steadman (BECO), 17:01; 5) Colter Kirkland (HAM), 17:09; 6) Michael Irvine (RON), 17:23; 7) Lane Cole (HAM), 17:28; 8) Mason Genovese, (WHIT), 17:33; 9) Deneb Linton (WHIT), 17:46; 10) Thomas Nuila (STIG), 17:50; 11) Zarec Couturen (RON), 17:53; 12) Harrison Silverio (HAM), 17:53; 13) Seth Umbriaco (COFA), 18:00; 14) Daniel Martin (BECO), 18:03; 15) Tanner Nead (HAM),18:05.


Team scores: 1) Columbia Falls 20; 2) Polson 97; 3) Whitefish 98; 4) Frenchtown 140; 5) Thompson Falls 140.

Top-15 Individuals: 1) Brynnli Poulsen (HAM), 19:34; 2) Lara Erickson (COFA), 20:31; 3) Hannah Sempf (COFA), 20:45; 4) Ally Sempf (COFA), 20:50; 5) Abigail Sherwood (FREN), 21:08; 6) Josey Neesvig (TFHS), 21:10; 7) Paetra Cooke (WHIT), 21:35; 8) Hailey Powell (BECO), 21:51; 9) Siri Erickson (COFA), 21:59; 10) Mikelle Mosher (BECO), 21:59; 11) Alyssa Blankenship (COFA), 22:14; 12) Halle Heninger (POLS), 22:17; 13) Olivia Heiner (RON), 22:27; 14) Emma Upton (COFA), 22:43; 15) Madison Ward (HAM), 22:56.

Saturday, October 10, 2020

C-Falls girls top field at preview meet; Whitefish boys place second

On a blustery day in Kalispell, the Columbia Falls Wildkats raced to a first place team finish in the state preview cross country meet at Rebecca Farm on Saturday.

Lara Erickson was Columbia Falls’ top finisher in second place with a personal record time of 19:38.50. Brynnli Poulsen of Hamilton, the first place finisher, ran 18:55.5.

Erickson was backed up by Hannah Sepmf in fourth place, Siri Erickson in eighth, Alyssa Blankenship in 10th and Rebekah Walker in 15th. Sempf ran her second-best time this season (20:33.36).

Columbia Falls edged second place Corvallis by nine points.

The Whitefish girls finished fourth. Paetra Cook was the Bulldogs’ highest finisher, in ninth place.

Whitefish’s Deneb Linton shaved 41 seconds off his previous personal best to finish fourth in the boy’s race, clocking in at 17:04.93. Jacob Henson and Mason Genovese placed ninth and tenth.

Columbia Falls had three runners in the top 15: James Peterson in 11th, TJ Jacobi in 13th and Bailey Sjostrom in 15th.

Whitefish took second in the boys’ team standings, with 61 points. Hamilton, at 17 points, was first.

State Preview Meet

Rebecca Farm, Kalispell



Top 15 Individuals

Brynnli Poulsen, 18:55.46, Hamilton; 2. Lara Erickson, 19:38.50 Columbia Falls; 3. Olivia Buoy, 20:11.21, Corvallis; 4. Hannah Sempf, 20:33.36, Columbia Falls; 5. Katie Gleason, 20:38.71, Corvallis; 6. Laurie Davidson, 20:55.61, Corvallis; 7. Halle Heninger, 21:15.36, Polson; 8. Siri Erickson, 21:18.36, Columbia Falls; 9. Paetra Cooke, 21:21.95, Whitefish; 10. Alyssa Blankenship, 21:27.95, Columbia Falls; 11. Baylor Duke, 21:35.15, Frenchtown; 12. Olivia Heiner, 21:54.32, Ronan; 13. Karli Owens 22:11.68, Polson; 14. Adison Carlson, 22:23.08, Polson; 15. Rebekah Walker, 22:31.15, Columbia Falls.
Team scores – Columbia Falls 33; Corvallis 42; Polson 61; Whitefish 85; Frenchtown 118.


Top 15 Individuals

Colter Purcell, 16:40.75, Hamilton; 2. Lane Cole, 16:45.36, Hamilton; 3. Colter Kirkland, 16:50.13, Hamilton; 4. Deneb Linton, 17:04.93, Whitefish; 5. Tanner Nead, 17:11.90, Hamilton; 6. Zachary Kunkel, 17:18.52, Hamilton; 7. Harrison Silverio, 17:20.82, Hamilton; 8. Brinson Wyche, 17:21.11, Corvallis; 9. Jacob Henson, 17:22.93, Whitefish; 10. Mason Genovese, 17:24.77, Whitefish; 11. James Petersen, 17:44.37, Columbia Falls; 12. Carver Tison, 17:49.23, Hamilton; 13. TJ Jacobi, 17:54.06, Columbia Falls; 14. Bailey Sjostrom, 17:58.28, Columbia Falls; 15. Zarec Couture, 18:00.02, Ronan.
Team Scores – Hamilton 17; Whitefish 61; Corvallis 90; Columbia Falls 97; Polson 123; Ronan 137.

Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020

Heiner siblings sizzle at Western A Classic

At Whitefish on Saturday, the Mission Valley saw a quintet of its harriers accentuated with accolades as they finished among the top tier of runners at the Western A Classic cross country divisional race.

For the boys, the Flying R of Ronan placed a trio among the top 15 who earned all-conference honors. Leading the pack was senior Brant Heiner, who took top medalist honors in his seventh race this season, this time staving off his most formidable field of foes by a mere 6 seconds and change with a solid sub-17 finish. Joining him among top finishers were teammates Michael Irvine with a sub-18 and Zarec Couture. The Ronan Chiefs took third place among the team standings.

Among the Polson boys, Drifter Skillicorn was just out of the honors list with a personal-best sub-19 among the top 20. Fellow Pirate Ryan Dupuis was less than half a minute off the pace from garnering podium laurels.
On the girls side, Polson and Ronan each accentuated a single runner with all-conference honors when they placed among the top 15. Lady Pirate Halle Heninger placed eighth with a personal- best sub-21, while Maiden Olivia Heiner turned in a personal-best sub-22 for a 14th-place finish. This was the second all-conference finish for Heninger, who placed 12th last season.
The Polson girls captured third among the team standings. Ashtyn Wagner finished 16th with a personal-best sub-22, less than a dozen seconds from garnering all-conference honors. 

Multiple runners from both teams finished with personal-best times or seasonal bests. Seven runners from each team will compete in the Class A state meet at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell on Friday because the field is being split between two days on account of COVID-19 precautions.

Last season at the State A meet, newly minted divisional champion Brant Heiner crossed the finish line a mere 3 seconds and change from making the podium for all-state recognition with a 17th-place finish among the low-17s. His most recent divisional time would suffice to put him among the top 5 last season. Weather issues could factor into the race as last season the day preceding the race shifted from balmy low 70s to below freezing the morning of the event with snow on the ground. Some runners handle inclimate weather better than others. After watching a fellow teammate underperform on account of hydration deficiencies coupled with low blood sugar issues, both Heiners intend to take precautions about adequate calorie and hydration intake as well as keeping sufficiently warm without compromising optimal performance.

2020 Western A XC Classic 

Whitefish Lake Golf Course

Saturday, Oct. 17

Girls Team scores 

1, Columbia Falls (CF) 38; 2, Corvallis (Cor) 49; 3, Polson (Pol) 82; 4, Hamilton (Ham) 104; 5, Whitefish (Wf) 109; 6, Frenchtown (Fr) 134; 7; Libby 203; <5: Ronan (Ron), Stevensville, Butte Central; did not attend: Browning.

Team individual finishers

POLSON – 8, Halle Heninger 20:56.50pr; 16, Ashtyn Wagner 21:54.37pr; 19, Adison Carlson 22:04.69pr; 23, Karli Owens 22:17.94; 24, Maddilyn Huffine 22:33.06pr; 32, Isabel Seeley 23:17.49pr; 37, Katelyn Smith 23:42.01; 5jv, Sami Dolberry 24:36.06pr; 9jv, Zoe Crowl 26:51.92pr; dns: River Shoemake.

RONAN – 14, Olivia Heiner 21:37.88pr; 28, Brogen Youngren 22:44.70pr; 29, Kaona Trahan 23:07.07sr; 46, Nichole Koehler 27:39.67.

Top 15 individuals

1, Brynnli Poulsen (Ham) 18:48.71sr; 2, Lara Erickson (CF) 20:12.70; 3, Hannah Sempf (CF) 20:24.65; 4, Katie Gleason (Cor) 20:34.83; 5, Olivia Buoy (Cor) 20:50.16; 6, Paetra Cooke (Wf) 20:54.95; 7, Abigail Sherwood (Fr) 20:55.24; 8, Halle Heninger (Pol) 20:56.50pr; 9, Laurie Davidson (Cor) 21:06.99; 10, Siri Erickson (CF) 21:11.05; 11, Katlyn Potter (Ste) 21:18.73; 12, Alyssa Blankenship (CF) 21:20.13; 13, Emma McAllister (CF) 21:30.81; 14, Olivia Heiner (Ron) 21:37.88pr; 15, Emma Upton (CF) 21:43.88. 

Boys Team scores 

1, Hamilton 26; 2, Whitefish 60; 3, Ronan 81; 4, Corvallis 85; 5, Polson 122; 6, Libby 172; 7, Stevensville 208; <5: Columbia Falls; dna: Browning.

Team individual finishers

POLSON – 18, Drifter Skillicorn 18:24.28pr; 22, Ryan Dupuis 18:37.55; 30, Noah Roberts 19:12.39; 35, Aiden Gfroerer 19:31.01pr; 12jv, David Bjorge 20:03.86; 38, Kai McDonald 20:07.53; 16jv, Sean Stewart 20:26.68; 42, Aiden Murdock 21:33.22; 19jv, Hayden Clairmont 21:14.23pr Polson; 20jv, Brandt Heninger 21:14.44; dns: Mason Sloan, Kai Clifford, Xavier Pierre, Tommy Williams, Wica Brown.

RONAN – 1, Brant Heiner 16:24.18; 9, Michael Irvine 17:26.72; 13, Zarec Couture 18:08.07; 34, Dillon Omeasoo 19:27.45; 36, Elijah Tonasket 19:40.69; 39, Landon Bishop 20:22.58; 40, Keyan PrettyOnTop 20:35.93; 15jv, Wendall Charlo 20:19.01sr; 21jv, Nicholas Dresen 21:29.26; 23jv, Beau Decker 22:15.99; 24jv, Xavier Nolen 23:06.58sr.

Top 15 individuals

1, Brant Heiner (Ron) 16:24.18; 2, Colter Purcell (Ham) 16:30.88; 3, Colter Kirkland (Ham) 16:49.90; 4, Lane Cole (Ham) 17:01.10; 5, Brinson Wyche (Cor) 17:09.39; 6, Harrison Silverio (Ham) 17:10.52; 7, Jacob Henson (Wf) 17:15.82; 8, James Petersen (CF) 17:26.28; 9, Michael Irvine (Ron) 17:26.72; 10, Deneb Linton (Wf) 17:28.91; 11, Mason Genovese (Wf) 17:34.48; 12, Tanner Nead (Ham) 17:55.45; 13, Zarec Couture (Ron) 18:08.07; 14, Zachary Kunkel (Ham) 18:13.35; 15, Bailey Sjostrom (CF) 18:15.65.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Hamilton rolls to both individual and boys team titles, Laurel girls break 27-year streak

KALISPELL —Hamilton swept three of the four podium places Friday morning at Rebecca Farm with both individual titles and the fourth boys team title in school history.

The Laurel girls earned top spots for the first time in 27 years and ended a four-year streak by their Eastern A rivals Hardin.

Class A boys

When Colter Purcell moved from Virginia to Montana for his junior year of high school, he didn’t expect to be running a state meet during a snowstorm. He also didn’t expect be a state champion.

That changed halfway through the state race on Friday, when he reeled in the pre-race favorite Brant Heiner of Ronan.

“I told him ‘let’s bring this one in together,’” Purcell said, recalling the first meet of the season where the runners ran stride for stride the whole time. “When we hit the two mile I knew he wasn’t making any more moves, so I just went for it and from there I was just holding it down.”

Purcell led a 1-2 punch of Hamilton runners to a state title as the Broncs finished with 35 points over Hardin (54) and Columbia Falls (152). Purcell won the race in 16 minutes, 17.52 seconds.

Runner-up Colter Kirkland tied his state finish from 2019. Big runs from juniors Tanner Nead (5), Lane Cole (11) and Harrison Silverio (16) gave the Broncs plenty of space ahead of the Bulldogs

“We predicted some pretty good placings with our top kids, but we didn’t predict one and two so that was pretty cool,” head coach Mark Albert said. “Colter [Kirkland], I lost sight of him behind the hill and when he came down the hill in second I knew we had a shot at it.”

This was the fourth state title for Hamilton in school history. The Broncs last won back-to-back titles in 2013 and 2014.

“We have all juniors on the varsity, which is really exciting,” Albert said. “It’s a neat group of boys and I’m really proud of them.”

The Ronan senior Heiner had the fastest time coming into the state meet, and was hoping to capture his school’s first state title.

Heiner got out hard at the start of the race and was soon running by himself, passing the mile in 5:02, but wasn’t able to hold off Purcell after being caught halfway through the race.

“My feet just weren’t moving as quickly as they normally do,” Heiner said. “I feel really good about my high school career though… to be in the position to be considered a favorite, I couldn’t ask for more than that. ”

Two-time defending team champion Columbia Falls ended up in the third spot on the podium.

“Every one of those kids ran the best race they had today,” coach Jim Peacock said. “We had a couple of kids that haven’t run in weeks from injuries, but they stuck it out. This is just a fun group of kids to coach.”

Class A girls

It was apparent in the first minutes of the race that Brynnli Poulsen’s plan was to win by as much time as possible. The senior from Hamilton was by herself 800 meters into the race and by the time she came through the mile in 5:50, no one else was nearby.

For the second year in a row, Poulsen stormed down the finishing stretch alone to pick up her second straight MHSA Class A title. Her time of 19:02.30 is second in the Montana record books only to her own winning time from 2019.

“I just wanted to make sure I had a pretty decent gap between me and second place,” Poulsen said. “I wanted to run the best race I could and stay focused the whole time.”

As a two-time state champion, Poulsen followed in the footsteps of Beatrix Frissell, now running for the University of Montana, who won Class A in 2017 and 2018.

“I definitely had some higher expectations today, but I’m pretty okay with it, obviously,” Poulsen said, alluding to her pre-race goal of breaking her state record.

Poulsen also praised Hamilton coach Mark Albert for helping her throughout high school.

“That relationship started off a little rocky when I was a freshman and thought I knew everything, but we’ve grown close and grown to trust each other,” Poulsen said. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to have another coach like him.”

Laurel coach James Haskins was counting runners as they came streaming across the finish line trying to add up scores for his runners while keeping an eye on the team’s rivals. He double checked his math and sank to the ground, hands on his head, incredulous expression on his face.

“This is just a special group of girls and I knew they were the favorite coming in,” Haskins said. “But they still had to do it, they still had to run the race and they ran with a lot of courage today.”

Before the gun went off, Laurel had a single state cross country title to its name, back in 1993. The Locomotives broke that 27-year dry spell on Friday.

“It’s only the second one in the history of the school, it doesn’t seem real yet,” Haskins said. “I don’t know if it’s hit any of us yet.”

The Lady Locos were led by runner-up Andria Mourich, who finished in 19:53.15.

All five scoring runners for the Locos finished in the top 20 at the meet and outscored Columbia Falls 50-70.

“It was amazing, everyone did so awesome,” senior Grace Timm said. “We knew our potential and we just knew we could do it. So I guess we just did it!”

Columbia Falls tied the program’s highest ever finish by a girls team at a state meet.

“We wanted to win the whole thing, but all you can do is ask for their best and these girls gave their best,” Wildkats coach Jim Peacock said. “Our girls, every single one of them across the board ran the best race they could run today, and if everybody runs their best race, how could you be anything other than ecstatic and proud at the finish?”

State cross country meet

Friday’s results

at Rebecca Farm, Kalispell

Class A


Team scores: 1. Hamilton 35, 2. Hardin 54, 3. Columbia Falls 152, 4. Corvallis 156, 5. Ronan 172, 6. Lewistown 177, 7. Whitefish 185, 8. Livingston 185, 9. Polson 189, 10. Laurel 237, 11. Dillon 277, 12. Havre 297, 13. Miles City 343, 14. Billings Central 428, 15. Libby 434, 16. Glendive 479, 17. Sidney 489, 18. Lockwood 520, 19. Stevensville 590.

Top 25 individuals: 1. Colter Purcell, Hamilton, 16:17.52; 2. Colter Kirkland, Hamilton, 16:40.26; 3. Brant Heiner, Ronan, 16:46.80; 4. Bryson Rogers, Hardin, 16:47.76; 5. Tanner Nead, Hamilton, 16:48.01; 6. Brinson Wyche, Corvallis, 16:49.97; 7. Ben Archer, Lewistown, 16:51.64; 8. Ben Steadman, Dillon, 16:53.35; 9. Quaiden Whiteman, Hardin, 16:55.53; 10. Tegan Medicine Bull, Hardin, 16:55.68; 11. Lane Cole, Hamilton, 16:58.37; 12. Mason Sloan, Polson, 16:59.48; 13. Charlie Serafin, Livingston, 17:02.06; 14. Jalen High Hawk, Hardin, 17:04.38; 15. Michael Irvine, Ronan, 17:04.78; 16. Harrison Silverio, Hamilton, 17:08.92; 17. Tayjon Joe, Hardin, 17:09.39; 18. James Petersen, Columbia Falls, 17:13.78; 19. Andrew Durgan, Livingston, 17:19.14; 20. Mason Genovese, Whitefish, 17:20.78; 21. Dylan Paris, Laurel, 17:33.41; 22. Zachary Kunkel, Hamilton, 17:36.80; 23. Jalen Robinson, Lewistown, 17:37.88; 24. Yannis Jessop, Corvallis, 17:38.45; 25. Daniel Martin, Dillon, 17:38.81.


Team scores: 1. Laurel 50, 2. Columbia Falls 70, 3. Hardin 82, 4. Corvallis 92, 5. Polson 153, 6. Whitefish 197, 7. Havre 203, 8. Hamilton 226, 9. Miles City 230, 10. Livingston 239, 11. Frenchtown 260, 12. Lewistown 312, 13, Glendive 327, 14. Dillon 341, 15. Sidney 438, 16. Libby 488.

Top 25 individuals: 1. 12 Brynnli Poulsen, Hamilton, 19:02.30; 2. Andria Mourich, Laurel, 19:53.15; 3. Hannah Sempf, Columbia Falls, 20:00.84; 4. Lara Erickson, Columbia Falls, 20:01.23; 5. Olivia Buoy, Corvallis, 20:01.94; 6. Carly Cook, Laurel, 20:02.56; 7. Madison Harmer, Hardin, 20:12.31; 8. Katie Gleason, Corvallis, 20:16.08; 9. Dierra Takes Enemy, Hardin, 20:18.99; 10. Ellianna Wester, Livingston, 20:27.07; 11. Grace Timm, Laurel, 20:28.52; 12. Ellie Brown, Miles City, 20:29.17; 13. Lauren Taylor, Laurel, 20:30.21; 14. Abigail Sherwood, Frenchtown, 20:31.98; 15. Halle Heninger, Polson, 20:32.08; 16. Laurie Davidson, Corvallis, 20:33.43; 17. Ellyse Moccasin, Hardin, 20:34.92; 18. Ruby Smith, Laurel, 20:36.55; 19. Paetra Cooke, Whitefish, 20:37.49; 20. Siri Erickson, Columbia Falls, 20:40.57; 21. Alyssa Blankenship, Columbia Falls, 20:41.55; 22. Emma McAllister, Columbia Falls, 20:50.22; 23. Anna Jessop, Corvallis, 21:00.49; 24. Marion Hugs, Hardin, 21:06.82; 25. Mariah Aragon, Hardin, 21:08.46.