The Helena High girls stole the show at the Great Falls Invitational, securing a perfect score in a three-team pool against Big Sky and Great Falls at Anaconda Hills Golf Course on Friday, September 14.
Freshman Kyle Hartnett led the team across the finish line for the third time this season, this time collecting her first high school victory in a time of 20:23 on the hilly 5-kilometer course.
She was followed across the finish line by senior Katelyn McKay (21:16), freshman Rylie Schoenfeld (21:35), senior Jasmine Wilkerson (21:38), and freshman Kylee Wetzel (21:39), giving the Bengals a score of 15 points. Senior Paige Aasved placed seventh and junior Alyssa Plant finished seventh and 10th to complete the dominant performance in 21:17 and 24:05, respectively.
Hartnett led from the start, while McKay, Schoenfeld, Wilkerson, and Wetzel took turns shadowing Big Sky senior Madison Edwards before moving past her and successfully stretching their advantage through the finish line.
The meet featured 10 teams, slit up into pools of three or four teams. While the Bengals only faced Big Sky and Great Falls on the course, in the combined team scoring , they placed third behind Bozeman and Hellgate. Hartnett posted the fifth-fastest time on the course.
Helena High’s top four boys finished within 21 seconds of each other in second, third fourth, and fifth, and No. 5 runner Sam Sullivan secured eighth place to complete a dominant showing.
The Bengals finished with 22 points, ahead of Great Falls with 48, and Big Sky with 55. In combined team scoring against the remaining seven teams in Great Falls, Helena finished an impressive second behind Bozeman, while Billings Senior and Hellgate were close behind in third and fourth.
On the course in the Bengals’ showdown with Great Falls and Big Sky, Helena junior Jonah Fisher led early, but couldn’t hold off eventual winner Sean Stineford of Big Sky. Stineford finished in 17:27, while Fisher completed his run in 17:42.
Close behind were Bengal junior Clayton Ryerson (17:51), sophomore Trystan Brewer (17:59), and senior Zane Roush (18:03). Sullivan finished in 18:42 to round out Helena’s scoring. The Bengals’ No. 6 and 7 runners were Nick Pida in 11th (19:32) and Eric Carlson in 18th (19:56).
Fisher’s time was the 10th-fastest overall, while Stineford wound up fifth in the combined report.
Girls Junior Varsity
The Helena High girls junior varsity squad competed admirably as runner-up against a Bozeman juggernaut with freshman Breanna Brewer running a personal-best time of 22:27 in sixth place.
Bozeman finished with 24 points, Helena totaled 16, and Hellgate was third with 84. The Junior varsity race featured 16 teams, including 11 with the required five runners to register a score.
Freshman Grace Oelkers (23:12), sophomore Maddy Murgel (23:20), freshman Hanna Romney (23:26) and freshman Naomi Sweeney (23:38) rounded out the scoring for Helena in 14th, 18th, 19th and 21st, respectively. All told, 13 of 20 Bengals finished in the top half of the 177-runner field.
Brewer has now led the junior varsity team in consecutive meets, and most impressively, shaved more than a minute off her personal best at the toughest course the team will race on this season.
Junior Varsity Boys
Junior Grayson Bonilla (20:02), sophomore Ethan Nelson (20:10), junior Roy Rindal (20:11), and sophomore Dallin Christensen (20:12) finished in a tightly packed lead group of four in 26th, 28th, 29th and 30th to lead the Helena High boys junior varsity to fifth place in Great Falls. Sophomore Ian Lovshin rounded out Helena’s scoring five in 44th place with a time of 20:35.
Bozeman eased to the victory with a perfect score of 15, while Billings West (70) edged Hellgate (71) for second, Capital (113) placed fourth and Helena’s 134 were good enough for fifth. The meet featured 16 teams, including 13 that featured the required five runners to register a score.
Nine of the Bengals’ 11 runners finished in the top half of the field.