The Hellgate girls continued their dominance over Western AA cross country teams, winning the 7-on-7 format meet in Helena on Oct. 8, but it was the second place team that made a statement. The Flathead girls were only four points back, and two points ahead of third place Helena.
The format of the meet, where the seven team members are divided among seven races and only compete against their equivalently ranked rivals, allows for teams with a lot of depth to prevail. The Bravettes won races 4-6, tying Hellgate for the most individual wins.
Lilli Rumsey-Eash was again the fastest finisher for Flathead, running 20:21 on a hot, windy and hilly course.
In the boys races, Sentinel took the top spot, winning all but one of the individual titles. In the team spots, Glacier edged out Flathead by a single point, after a photo finish between Jeff Lillard and Seth Trumm in the second to last race of the day. Lillard edged Trumm by two hundredths of a second.
Glacier’s Sam Ells took second in the top race of the day to Hellgate’s Ignatius Fitzgerald, the top returner from last year’s state meet. Ells beat rival Tanner Klumph from Sentinel for the first time this season. Klumph and Ells finished 18 and 19 respectively at state last year as the top sophomores.