Athletes compete in one of the biggest cross country meets in the country
By Eric Killelea
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
The top varsity runners on the Dawson County High School cross-country team competed in the Mountain West Classic at the University of Missoula Golf Course last Saturday.
DCHS formed an incomplete team with three finishers in a talented pool of 17 incomplete teams and 43 full teams from Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.
“This is one of the biggest cross-country races in the country,” DCHS head coach Tom Temple wrote in email. “The sheer number of competitors in each race is maybe more challenging than the course itself. I was happy with how the kids competed.”
Overall, the Bozeman Hawks won the girls’ race, followed by Missoula Hellgate and Billings Senior. Lewis and Clark of Washington won the boys run, with Bozeman second and Joel Ferris of Washington third.
Tiahna Vladic of Billings Senior was crowned the girls champion running 17:44.63 to beat Camila Noe of Bozeman at 17:47.62. The girls ran among 324 finishers. Lady Red Devil Emily Kuehn placed 34th with a personal record of 19:53. Her teammate Kasidi Walker matched her season record of 23:54.
“Emily was the fifth fastest Class A competitor in the race,” Temple wrote.
Cooper West of Great Falls CMR was named the boys winner running 15:30.43 to defeat Duncan Hamilton Jr. of Bozeman, who finished at 15:33.84. The boys ran among 400 finishers. Red Devil Ase Ackerman placed 97th with a time of 17:37.97. His teammate Ben Stortz finished in the middle of the pack at 276th at 19:25.06.
“It is tough to compare what they did there to our competition here,” Temple wrote. “Most of the kids who finished higher than them were from the biggest high schools in Montana, Washington and Idaho.”
Before Mountain West, most of the DCHS team traveled east to compete in the Becky Wells Invitational in Dickinson last Friday.
Only Myles Stinnett and Calob Grigsby ran in the varsity race there, while the rest of the boys ran in the junior varsity event.
“Stinnett ran in the 19:20s for the first time and placed a very respectable 39th in a tough field,” Temple wrote. “Calob ran a very good 19:59, which is nice to see as he had some injury problems a couple of weeks ago.”
The JV boys runners posted some impressive times as well.
“Justin Skartved set a personal record by over 30 seconds to run a 19:27 and take sixth in that division,” Temple wrote. “Gavin Palmer, Logan Phipps and Sam Velasquez weren’t far behind and all ran season’s bests.”
All the girls competed in JV. The top runner was Mishal Lucido, who placed 16th with a time of 25:09. Alexis Moos was close behind at 18th.
“The wind during their race made it tough to run any really improved times,” Temple wrote.
This week, the DCHS team planned to take enjoy a short bus trip together to run a flat course at 10 a.m. in Miles City.
Mountain West Classic
Boy finishers: Ase Ackerman, 97th, 17:37:97; Ben Stortz, 267th, 19:25.06.