Helena High’s girls held off Sheridan, Wyo. to claimed third behined Bozeman and Hellgate, and the Bengals boys finished fifth at the Capital City 7 vs. 7 on Thursday at Bill Roberts Golf Course in Helena.
All seven of Bozeman’s girls finished either first or second to edge Hellgate 11-12 for the championship, while Helena’s 44 points were just enough to secure it’s spot among the top three as Sheridan collected 46 and Flathead finished with 51.
Freshman Kylie Hartnett claimed fourth in the No. 1 race with a personal record of 18:39, senior Katelyn McKay was eighth in the No. 2 race in 20:29, freshman Kylee Wetzel claimed fourth in the No. 3 race in a PR 19:59, freshman Rylie Schoenfeld was fourth in the No. 4 race in a PR 20:04, and senior Jasmine Wilkerson also posted a PR in third in the No. 5 race with a time of 20:18.
But what makes the 7 vs. 7 unique is a scoring format that includes the places of runners No. 6 and 7, and serving dutifully in those positions for the Bengals were junior Alyssa Plant (16th, 23:08) and senior Paige Aasved (5th, 21:57).
The team championship wasn’t settled until the final race as the No. 1s faced off. Billings Senior standout Tiahna Vladic ran away with the victory in 17:35, while Bozeman’s Terra Trom pulled away from Hellgate’s Ember Stratton to seal the Hawks’ victory. Hartnett wasn’t too far behind the vets and was one of nine runner’s to crack the 19-minute barrier.
On the boys side, junior Jonah Fisher clocked the Bengals’ top time with a 10th-place finish in the No. 1 race in 16:45. Helena’s 2, 3 and 4 runners all finished within a couple seconds of each other, despite running in different races.
Senior Zane Roush (17:04) was eighth in the No. 2 race, junior Clayton Ryerson (17:04) was fourth in the No. 3 race, and sophomore Trystan Brewer (17:06) placed third in the No. 4 race. Junior Sam Sullivan matched his personal record of 17:37 to finish sixth in the No. 5 race, while No. 6 and 7 runners Nick Pida (18:18) and senior Eric Carlson (19:24) were 11th and 19th.
Helena’s boys finished with 61 points behind a logjam of teams that finished well back of Bozeman’s 11 points. Sentinel and Hellgate were second and third with 35, while Glacier was fourth with 38.
Helena High’s junior varsity girls finished an impressive third at the Capital City 7 vs. 7, which is considered the JV state championship as it includes only the 14 AA schools in Montana.
Hellgate edged Bozeman for the championship with 25 points, bettering the Hawks’ 37, while the Bengals totaled 109. Through runners 1-4, Helena and Billings West were tied at 84 points apiece, but sophomore Maddy Murgel’s 25th-place finish in team scoring was more than enough to secure the top-three showing for the Bengals.
Freshman Breanna Brewer paced the Bengals in 21st with a time of 21:45, while freshman Grace Oelkers (27th, 22:09, PR), freshman Carly Ryan (28th, 22:09, PR) and junior Jordynn Greve (30th, 22:14, PR) and Murgel (31st, 22:15) completed the scoring pack. Freshman Hannah Romney (41st, 22:42, PR), senior Payton Aasved (46th, 22:49, PR) and freshman Annie Menden (47th, 22:49, PR) also finished among the top 50.
Freshman Robin Triem and senior Janelle Swanson weren’t too far back and dipped under 24 minutes with personal records of 23:21 and 23:28, respectively.
On the boys side, Helena’s JV squad had one of its stronger performances this season to finish seventh behind sophomore Ethan Nelson’s 40th-place finish with a personal best of 18:42.
Junior Roy Rindal also posted a lifetime best in 52nd with a time of 18:52, while junior Boyd Stutz (59th, 18:58) ran a season best and junior Grayson Bonilla (60th, 18:59) just snuck under 19 minutes. Sophomore Dallin Christensen continued to show promise as Helena’s fifth runner with a personal best of 19:08 in 67th place.
Bozeman won the team title with 18 points, while Hellgate was second with 71 and Billings West claimed third with 86. The Bengals finished with 234.
Sophomore Ian Lovshin (19:41), junior Jaron Pollard (20:28), junior Kyle Markoviks (21:15) and senior Coby Sena (21:52) all ran season bests, while freshman Evan Stefaniak (20:38) clocked a personal best.