HELENA — The Corvallis boys' cross country team captured its fourth State A team title in eight years Saturday in Montana's showcase meet at Bill Roberts Golf Course.
The Blue Devils finished with 109 points behind all-staters Anders Watt and Jake Jessop. Watt took third in 16:40 and Jessop 13th in 17:19.
“The boys ran well all season. We had four seniors and their hard work brought the other kids along with them,” explained Blue Devils’ coach Joanne Cleveland.
The Class A individual crown was garnered by Levi Taylor of Laurel, who passed Hamilton’s Matt Wilson in the last 150 yards for a 16:29 finish and a five-second victory.
“I was in third most of the way, conserving my energy behind Anders (Watt) and Matt,” Taylor recounted. “About halfway Matt picked up the pace and I went with him. Then he put on a burst trying to get rid of me, but I’ve always had a good kick.
“He beat me at Mountain West by half a second, but I beat him by 20 seconds at the 7-7, and I had confidence I could do it again today.”
Bozeman High continued its dominance as the Hawks captured their 10th consecutive Class AA championship.
Bozeman tallied 41 points for their title, with all five scorers attaining all-state status by finishing in the top 15. The Hawks were followed by Glacier High with 139 points and Billings Senior at 149.
Helena High finished in eighth place at 196 points, while Capital came in 12th with 269.
C.M. Russell’s Cooper West captured the individual championship, with a clocking of 15 minutes, 31 seconds over the 5K course.
The Hawks, who are also the reigning national high school champions, were led by three top-10 placings. Duncan Hamilton and Leonard McComas finished 2-3, in 15:47 and 15:52, respectively, while Dillon Humberger placed seventh at 16:25. Renn Meuwissen and Brooks Peters were 14th and 15th.
“I’m proud of the team and the coaches,” said Hamilton, a senior co-captain with back-to-back state runner-up medals. “We did a lot of hard work and put in a lot of miles.”
Teammate and co-captain Simon Rozenweig, who finished 25th, added, “The team dynamics has been great, our performance here today was great, and we’re all pumped to defend our Regionals title next month.”
Manhattan tallied 52 points to claim its’ third championship since 2010. The Tigers were led by titlist Zak Meeker, with a 17:03 clocking, and three other top-15 finishers.
“Unbelievable,” said Meeker, a junior, when asked to describe his feelings about the triumph. “To win the team title with my best friends, we’re like a family. And I couldn’t have done it without my coach (John Sillitti), he’s more like a best friend to us than a coach.”
Coach Sillitti said he was proud of all his guys, but especially senior captain Charlie Rasnick — who placed seventh — and “is our emotional leader; he was the key, Charlie’s everything we want the program to be.”
Townsend collected the third-place trophy with 96 points, despite losing three all-staters from its’ 2016 championship team.
Senior Jack Dolan led the way with a third-place medal, running a 17:27.
“I was hoping to win, but I’ll take it,” said Dolan of his second all-state citation. “I led the first mile because things got packed up; it wasn’t my original strategy, but I don’t regret it.”
Dolan knocked 6 minutes off his freshman time four years ago.
Next came fellow all-stater Louis Ingalls (17:46) in seventh, ahead of ‘Dawg teammates Zane Newman (22nd), Nick Bruins (29th) and Tyhenry Steele (34th).
“The guys ran really well and did as much as I could’ve asked for,” said Broadwater coach and Jack’s mother, Brooke Dolan. “And with only one senior, I’m excited for the future.”
Manhattan Christian retained its title, with a new record of 8 points — Class C only scores the top 3 runners — placing second, third and fourth.
Individual champ Isaiah Runsabove of Hays Lodge Pole posted a winning time of 17:23 for a 5-second margin against Manhattan’s Sam Leep.
“I passed the two leaders about two-thirds of the way through, when I saw they were dying off,” related Runsabove, who is the first in his school’s history to win a state cross country title.