On a typical Montana fall afternoon, the varsity girls race at the Glacier Invitational took place in sunshine, rain and gusting winds.
The Bravettes made a strong statement against their crosstown rivals as they put eight runners across the line before Glacier’s first finisher. The Wolfpack was running without top runner Bailey Gable.
Lilli Rumsey Eash won her fourth straight race, battling the wind to finish the five-kilometer course in 19:55. For the first mile of the race, a group of 10 runners, almost exclusively Bravettes, ran together in a tight pack before separating close to the halfway point.
Eash goes into the state meet next week as the third fastest freshman in the state, behind two Bozeman runners, and as the 15th fastest runner in the state.
In a hypothetical matchup of teams based on season-best performances, Flathead is ranked fourth in the state, just five points behind Billings West and one point ahead of Helena. The Bravettes last finished on the podium in 2014, when they took third.
In the boys varsity race, Glacier junior Sam Ells ran alone from the gun, winning the race by a full minute over Flathead’s Gabriel Felton in a lifetime best of 16:17. Ells ran one second faster than he did two weeks earlier on the same course. Glacier won the race by five points over Flathead.
“I felt so slow out there,” Ells said after battling the wind and rain on his own. “It’ll be great having runners around next week when it starts to get hard.”
The Class AA state meet will be on Oct. 24 at Rebecca Farm. Glacier and Flathead runners will be running the course for the fourth time this season, more than any other team in the state.