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Class A state cross country: Polson's Harwood claims second crown

Class A state cross country: Polson's Harwood claims second crown

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What next, Kasey Harwood?

The amazing senior from Polson won her second Class A cross country championship Saturday, insetting another diamond on her band of gold.

Harwood and favorite foe, Bigfork's Kaci Calaway, dueled for most of the last mile at the University of Montana Golf Course until Harwood unleashed a withering kick to win by four seconds in 19 minutes, 11.69 seconds.

Calaway, like Harwood a senior and a 4.0 student, culminated a season in which health problems threatened her running by placing second for the third straight year.

Harwood and Calaway went 1-2 at state as sophomores as well.

"I love competing against Kaci Calaway. It's really been great," Harwood said. "She's the hardest competitor I've ever run against."

Calaway led a red tide of Valkyries as Bigfork claimed its third straight team title with 76 points. Sophomore Brooke Andrus placed fourth after leading at the 2-mile mark of the 3-mile race. Senior twins Lauren and Lesley Dalton were ninth and 10th, respectively. Bigfork's fifth runner, Ashley McCallister, placed 52nd in a field of 143.

Havre took second with 98 points, followed by Lewistown with 113. Libby was the next western Montana girls' team, placing seventh.

As expected, the Browning boys claimed their second straight title, placing all five scoring runners from seventh to 15th to score 53 points. Polson, led by senior Chad Hunsucker's third-place effort, was a distant second with 123 points. Hardin took third with 157 points, just ahead of Columbia Falls at 166.

Sophomore Nolan Real Bird of Hardin, who was third last year, took control of the boys' race in the last mile and won in the fastest time of the day - 15:31.15. TJ Strangeowl of Colstrip, fourth last year, was second this time in 15:42.57. Hunsucker was another 36 seconds back.

For Harwood, it was her 11th state championship in 3fi prep seasons. The other nine came on the track, where she has proven herself one of the better hurdlers and middle-distance runners in Class A annals.

"I love every event that I do," she said. "I definitely love competition. When I was in eighth grade I was saying I couldn't wait to be a serious athlete and work hard every day and compete against really good people."

She got her wish in the latter on Saturday. As she started up "Killer Hill" at the midpoint of the race, Harwood was surrounded by red and green and blue uniforms. Eight girls jostled up the hill within a few strides of each other. Three careened down it ahead of the rest - Andrus, Harwood and Calaway.

Calaway and Harwood passed Andrus near the 2fi-mile mark and ran virtually side-by-side. But before they came into sight of the throngs lining the last couple hundred yards of the course, and before most runners even think of it, Harwood started her kick.

"That was my plan," she said. "I usually start picking it up a little earlier than most people, because they're not used to that."

And Harwood had plenty of gas at the end.

"I felt that no matter what came up, I could find another gear if I needed to," she said.

Bigfork's remarkable run continued, though its four coaches still work on a volunteer basis.

"We did get $1,000 this year (from the school district) because Bigfork dropped softball," said Sue Loeffler, one of four Bigfork coaches. "But the coaches are not paid. We don't want to take the money from the program because then we wouldn't have the program."

Browning has won 20 state boys' titles in both Class A and B, 13 since coach Randy Sheppard took over in 1980. The Indians have no dominant runner - freshman Matthew BullChild was their fastest on Saturday in seventh place. But in a field of 119, senior Ryan Running Crane was ninth, freshman Terran Guardipee placed 11th, sophomore Jeremy Johnson was 12th and junior Isaiah Webber came in 15th. Another freshman, Marlin BlackWolf, didn't score but finished 17th, missing all-state honors by nine seconds.

"They're good runners, and it's kind of a tradition to run in Browning," Sheppard said. "We have societies and we have clubs up there the kids run in and it really helps us out."

Sheppard's runners belong to what translates in English as the antelope society in the Blackfeet tradition, much as other generations belonged to warrior societies.

"They're just kind of carrying that on, but they're doing it with their running now," Sheppard said.

Polson boys had hoped for a second-place trophy, said Mindy Harwood, who coaches the boys and girls and is Kasey's proud mother.

"We knew we could get second, but everything had to go well for us," Harwood said. "The seniors just all had senior races, and our two juniors that were in our top five also ran very well.

"They're such a close team that the other coaches call them a cult."

After Hunsucker, the Pirates' Zak Morrow earned all-state honors in 14th, David Ring was 26th , Kai Smith was 45th and Olin McCrumb was 47th.

Other boys from western Montana who earned all-state honors with top-15 finishes included Frenchtown sophomore Chris Bick, who was fifth; Ronan junior Zanen Pitts, sixth; Whitefish senior Matt Helgath, eighth, and Hamilton junior Pat Joiner, 10th.

All-state certificates in the girls' race also went to Hamilton's Jordan Gurgiolo, who took sixth, and Athlene Allred of Corvallis, who was 12th.

BOYS

Team scores: Browning 53, Polson 123, Hardin 157, Columbia Falls 166, Colstrip 170, Whitefish 183, Ronan 200, Beaverhead 202, Belgrade 207, Frenchtown 215, Hamilton 274, Anaconda 316, Laurel 331, Corvallis 354, Libby 362, Butte Central 409, Park 438.

Top 30 individuals

1, Nolan Real Bird, Hardin, 15:31.15; 2, TJ StrangeOwl, Colstrip, 15:42.57; 3, Chad Hunsucker, Polson, 16:08.64; 4, Ryan Kearney, Butte Central, 16:14.04; 5, Chris Bick, Frenchtown, 16:15.56; 6, Zanen Pitts, Ronan, 16:29.60; 7, Matthew BullChild, Browning, 16:37.77; 8, Matt Helgath, Whitefish, 16:42.68; 9, Ryan Running Crane, Browning, 16:43.08; 10, Pat Joiner, Hamilton, 16:47.09; 11, Terran Guardipee, Browning, 16:54.03; 12, Jeremy Johnson, Browning, 16:56.05; 13, Aaron Hyams, Billings Central, 16:58.11; 14, Zak Morrow, Polson, 16:59.15; 15, Isaiah Webber, Browning, 17:02.17; 16, Colton Reid, Colstrip, 17:08.00; 17, Shann Hill, Hardin, 17:11.54; 18, Marlin BlackWolf, Browning, 17:14.47; 19, David Myer, Bigfork, 17:14.77; 20, Michael Fisher, Ronan, 17:15.75; 21, Devin Schmit, Columbia Falls, 17:27.72; 22, Tony Klee, Billings, 17:28.39; 23, Carl Trombley, Browning, 17:29.50; 24, Chris Dudley, Frenchtown, 17:31.19; 25, Trevor Jallings, Belgrade, 17:33.84; 26, David Ring, Polson, 17:34.26; 27, Collin Fehr, Corvallis, 17:34.89; 28, Devon Schuck, Libby, 17:40.02; 29, Jack Arcand, Belgrade, 17:40.26; 30, Josh Lynch, Billings, 17:42.57.

Other western Montana finishers:

31, Andrew Faber, Columbia Falls, 17:44.39; 32, Ian Mallams, Whitefish, 17:44.73; 36, Andrew Graham, Ronan, 17:51.92; 41, Dalvin Averill, Columbia Falls, 17:57.75; 42, Aric Tarr, Columbia Falls, 17:58.03; 45, Kai Smith, Polson, 18:05.86; 46, Nigel Neaves, Hamilton, 18:07.46; 47, Olin McCrumb, Polson, 18:08.16; 48, Curtis Clowdus, Whitefish, 18:08.76; 49, Steffen Anderson, Columbia Falls, 18:09.73, 50, Paul Webb, Columbia Falls, 18:10.45; 53, Luke Metzmaker, Whitefish, 18:14.57; 55, Andrew Ofstad, Polson, 18:16.53; 57, Toby Long, Frenchtown, 18:18.06; 58, Mike Bestwick, Whitefish, 18:18.45; 59, Chris Ogle, Polson, 18:23.21; 61, Brian Merseal, Columbia Falls, 18:29.87; 65, Wes Hill, Bigfork, 18:41.44; 68, Josh Stone, Hamilton, 18:45.42; 71, Shawn Johnson, Frenchtown, 18:46.89; 72, Erick Stedje, Ronan, 18:49.43; 74, James Allred, Corvallis, 18:52.64; 75, Eric Frazier, Frenchtown, 18:53.73; 76, James Stanton, Hamilton, 18:54.72; 77, Price Richardson, Corvallis, 18:55.45; 81, Charley May, Libby, 19:01.97; 82, Shane McMillan, Ronan, 19:02.61; 85, Grant Metzmaker, Whitefish, 19:03.58; 87, Brian Kehn, Libby, 19:12.81; 91, Derek Carpenter, Libby, 19:27.80; 93, Jaydn Ekin, Hamilton, 19:31.89; 94, Ryan Call, Bigfork, 19:40.22; 95, Brandon Drake, Hamilton, 19:41.02; 96, Vern Cheff, Ronan, 19:41.23; 98, Ray Bailly, Corvallis, 19:46.59; 99, Rich Hutter, Libby, 19:47.21; 100, Izaak Opatz, Whitefish, 19:55.21; 102, Brandon Stedman, Frenchtown, 19:57.39; 103, Travis Allred, Corvallis, 19:59.35; 107, Greg Normand, Frenchtown, 20:14.69; 109, Josh Johnson, Corvallis, 20:15.44; 110, Jason Jones, Hamilton, 20:25.99; .

GIRLS

Team scores: Bigfork 76, Havre 98, Fergus 113, Colstrip 217, Custer 228, Beaverhead 267, Libby 270, Belgrade 280, Anaconda 292, Polson 295, Billings Central 295, Browning 317, Columbia Falls 317, Sidney 343, Park 352, Laurel 355, Ronan 359, Hardin 394, Hamilton 402, Frenchtown 467, Whitefish 496, Corvallis 528.

Top 30 individuals

1, Kasey Harwood, Polson, 19:11.69; 2, Kaci Calaway, Bigfork, 19:15.53; 3, Teri Lea McCormick Billings, 19:26.57; 4, Brooke Andrus, Bigfork, 19:30.03; 5, Ashley Bakich, Colstrip, 19:46.79; 6, Jordan Gurgiolo, Hamilton, 19:51.42; 7, Wasewi Shawl, Browning, 19:54.10; 8, Tessa Boehnke, Belgrade, 19:54.57; 9, Lauren Dalton, Bigfork, 19:57.90; 10, Lesley Dalton, Bigfork, 20:02.78; 11, Sonya Rogers, Fergus, 20:11.45; 12, Athlene Allred, Corvallis, 20:16.01; 13, Kelsie O'Rourke, Laurel, 20:16.28; 14, Dianna Stanley, Custer, 20:16.61; 15, Candice Rodriguez, Fergus, 20:29.13; 16, Amy McLain, Havre, 20:34.49; 17, Mandi Nystrom, Havre, 20:35.20; 18, Cassie Hughes, Libby, 20:46.00; 19, McKayla Patterson, Havre, 20:51.88; 20, Shannon Newth, Havre, 20:52.12; 21, Alexis DiGiovine, Butte, 20:53.88; 22, Desiree Marjerrison, Columbia Falls, 20:56.95; 23, Kristen Mantooth, Fergus, 21:04.19; 24, Rachel Cole, Billings, 21:05.30; 25, Alisa Ogden, Laurel, 21:05.73; 26, Sarah Becker, Libby, 21:08.44; 27, Kelsey Malsam, Havre, 21:08.67; 28, Lauren Fuglevand, Custer, 21:09.45; 29, Kalin Andrews, Custer, 21:19.13; 30, Meghan Keigley, Belgrade, 21:35.56.

Other western Montana finishers: 39, Shauna McCracken, Columbia Falls, 21:54.99; 40, Briana Malmquist, Ronan, 21:57.45; 42, Kira Crenshaw, Ronan, 21:59.44; 46, Ingrid Segarra, Whitefish, 22:15.21; 52, Ashley McCallister, Bigfork, 22:22.88; 54, Jamie Morgenstern, Bigfork, 22:29.67; 55, Heather Parsons, Browning, 22:31.54; 59, Leslie Patterson, Polson, 22:44.17; 61, Tina McLinden, Libby, 22:47.71; 62, Brittany Hader, Columbia Falls, 22:48.46; 65, Annie Diettrich, Frenchtown, 22:56.12; 68, Christa Salomon, Ronan, 23:00.24; 71, Hollis May, Libby, 23:07.95; 73, Ashlee Walker, Hamilton, 23:13.71; 75, Tanna Bull, Polson, 23:20.59; 79, Breanna Ortola, Frenchtown, 23:30.08; 80, Samantha Pitts, Polson, 23:31.03; 84, Ruth Bumgarner, Polson, 23:44.11; 90, Kamden Nelson, Hamilton, 23:56.09; 95, Janna Rozar, Whitefish, 24:07.41; 96, Nellie Lutz, Columbia Falls, 24:09.09; 97, Britany Maddox, Ronan, 24:09.51; 99, Kelsey Kenck, Libby, 24:13.78; 102, Stephanie Woodbeck, Whitefish, 24:29.47; 103, Jessie Taylor, Bigfork, 24:30.27; 105, Colleen Dalimata, Columbia Falls, 24:36.72; 108, Candance Lange, Frenchtown, 24:39.56; 109, Sam Nelson, Corvallis, 24:40.84; 110, Sam Fife, Frenchtown, 24:42.16; 111, Jessica Dedman, Columbia Falls, 24:45.98; 112, Terry Bryan, Hamilton, 24:50.02; 113, Amanda Armstrong, Frenchtown, 24:50.36; 115, Kelly Reed, Frenchtown, 24:53.83; 119, Felicia Danielson, Ronan, 25:00.01; 120, Kari Mowbray, Polson, 25:04.31; 126, Kayla Knight, Whitefish, 25:58.67; 128, Sarah Johnson, Hamilton, 26:04.22; 130, Laura Shrives, Hamilton, 26:20.87; 131, Kara Howard, Libby, 26:32.95; 132, Holly Oakland, Ronan, 26:34.31; 134, Meghan May, Corvallis, 26:43.28; 135, Amanda Nofer, Hamilton, 27:02.82; 136, Erin Lamb, Whitefish, 27:04.38; 137, Haven Brossman, Libby, 27:12.07; 138, Eileen Babon, Frenchtown, 27:14.63; 139, Anna Goodsell, Corvallis, 28:17.83; 140, Emilee Sanders, Whitefish, 28:29.22; 141, Amanda Clowdus, Whitefish, 28:50.53; 142, Jaylene Swanson, Corvallis, 29:41.06.

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