Whitefish Girls Win Fourth Straight Cross Country Title

By Beacon Staff

Whitefish edged Fergus to claim its fourth straight Class A girls cross country title, while the boys just missed out on a title of their own.

Led by four runners in the top 15, the Lady Bulldogs scored 80 points to narrowly beat second-place Fergus, which had 88. Their counterparts on the boys squeaked past Belgrade by one point for second place, finishing with 124. Corvallis took the crown with 81.

Defending champion Columbia Falls finished fifth in boys, led by runner-up Derrick Williams. The girls came in eighth.

The Lady Bulldogs won their first title in 2007 and have not dropped out of the top spot since. While this year’s performance may not have been as dominant across the board as some of their three others, the Bulldogs showed how far depth can take a team.

Jessica Sagen was Whitefish’s highest finisher at fifth, completing the race in a time of 19:33. Just behind her in sixth was teammate Carly Schwickert. Rounding out Whitefish’s other top finishers were Stella Holt in 11th, Jackie Cassidy in 13th and Bailey Eaton in 45th.

Polson used three top-10 performances to secure third place. Claudia Hewston finished less than a second behind the overall winner to claim third, while teammates Mesa Starkey and Tegan Bauer finished eighth and 10th, respectively. Aja Starkey came in 23rd.

Columbia Falls placed one runner in the top 10. Jinise Osborne ran a 19:46 to come in ninth.

For boys, Columbia Falls’ Williams, a junior, improved on last year’s fifth-place performance but fell short of the state title. Chris Jessop of Corvallis topped Williams by 24 seconds, finishing in 16 minutes. Columbia Falls’ Justin Whitman was 17th.

Whitefish had four runners in the top 25, giving the Bulldogs enough points for second place. Nathan Knox was 12th, Fischer Gangemi was 13th, Mathias Komarek was 19th and Jace Kalbfleisch was 24th.

In Class AA, the Bozeman boys won their third straight title and the girls claimed their fourth straight. The girls were particularly impressive, placing four girls in the top 10, including state champion Carolina Hardin, and two more in the top 20.

Flathead placed seventh in both boys and girls, while Glacier’s girls were eighth and the boys were 11th.

The top overall finisher from Kalispell was Zach Perrin of Flathead. Perrin, a sophomore, finished in 16 minutes for seventh place. Teammates Hunter Schutt and Kiefer Wills came in 27th and 34th, respectively.

Flathead’s top girl runner was Paige Bouma. The junior finished with a time of 19:15, good enough for 14th place. Bailey Hughes was 33rd.

The top runners from Glacier were both named Fraley. For boys, sophomore Troy Fraley finished 21st while his older sister, senior Heather Fraley, was 23rd in girls. Troy’s time was 16:37 and Heather’s was 19:46. Rachel Hart finished 30th for Glacier’s girls.

In Class B, Bigfork’s top finisher for boys was Evan Jordt, who came in 16th with a time of 17:36. The top finisher for girls was 17th-place Chelsey Olson, who completed the race in 21:02.

Bigfork didn’t register a score for either boys or girls. The winner in Class B boys was Missoula Loyola Sacred Heart. The winner for girls was Glasgow.

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