Twenty-two athletes who represented Helena High during the 2019 high school cross country season journeyed to Boise, Idaho for the Nike Cross Regionals Northwest, and represented the Helena Novas, since the meet is considered an out-of-season event.
More important than the results below were the great moments shared on the van ride to and from the meet, a team celebration at Wahooz Family Fun Center (go-kart racing was a favorite) and several meals shared together on the road. Fun was had by all and the competition was fierce when the runners laced up their spikes.
Paced by Kylie Hartnett’s 10th-place finish (17:52) in the team’s first appearance in the Championship Division, Helena’s girls placed 14th against the top team from seven states, including distance running powers Washington, Oregon and Utah. Hartnett’s placing guaranteed her a spot in Nike Cross Nationals, where she represented the entire Northwest region with a 62nd-place finish. Kylie’s impressive run in pouring rain at nationals in Portland was a the final run of an incredible season that saw her claim the AA state championship to help guide the Bengals to their first state trophy on the girls side in 35 years.
Also representing Helena were Odessa Zentz in 109th (19:43), Rylie Schoenfeld in 115th (19:46), Alyssa Plant in 154th (20:25), Lexi Erdahl in 179th (21:09), Kylee Wetzel in 187th (21:34) and Bengal soccer player and runner Linnea Onushco in 194th (23:51). Onushco was hampered by a sprained ankle, but demonstrated incredible determination to reach the finish line. The Championship division hosted 194 runners.
Two Helena athletes also competed well in the Open Invitational division, as Haily Tolman placed 557th (23:44) and Olivia Coburn ran to 591st (24:07). For a bit of perspective, there were 737 runners in the Open Invitational division.
On the boys side, 12 Helena athletes competed and the local squad placed 17th in the Open Invitational division in a field of 114 complete teams.
Trystan Brewer led the charge in 35th placed with a time of 16:31, while Jonah Fisher was 65th in 16:44. Rounding out the scoring five were Clayton Ryerson in 154th (17:11), Grayson Bonilla in 242nd (17:31) and Kaden Jenkins in 429th (18:00). Ethan Nelson was just a couple seconds further back in 442nd (18:04) and Dallin Christensen placed 488th (18:12).
Next up was Evan Stefaniak in 747th with a personal best of 19:00, followed closely by Adam Ryland-Davis in 801st (19:12) and Taylor Parisot (19:21, personal best). Mason Roush finished in 953rd (19:44) and Dimitri Sebastian posted a nearly 2-minute PR to finish in 1,179th in a time of 22:36. A whopping 1,224 athletes competed in the Open Invitational division.