Hartnett secures Helena High’s first Gatorade Montana Girls ROY Honor

GatHelena High sophomore Kylie Hartnett has been awarded 2019-20 Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.

Hartnett is the first Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year to be chosen from Helena High School. Former Bengal Aidan Reed claimed the boys honor in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The award, which recognizes not only outstanding athletic excellence, but also high standards of academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, distinguishes Hartnett as Montana’s best high school girls cross country runner.


Now a finalist for the prestigious Gatorade National Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year award to be announced in February, Hartnett joins an elite alumni association of past state award-winners in 12 sports.

The 5-foot-4 sophomore won the Class AA state meet this past season with a time of 17:49.68, breaking the tape 14.61 seconds ahead of her next-closest competitor and leading the Bengals to a third-place finish as a team. Hartnett, who also won the multi-state Mountain West Classic, took 10th at the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regional championships and finished 62nd at the NXN Final.

Hartnett has volunteered locally as a youth running coach.

“Kylie is a tough competitor,” said Sarah Lord, head coach of Billings Senior High. “What makes Kylie stand out is her fierce determination to improve. Winning or not, she was always determined to push herself to be her best.”

Hartnett has maintained a 3.86 GPA in the classroom. She will begin her junior year of high school this fall.

The Gatorade Player of the Year program annually recognizes one winner in the District of Columbia and each of the 50 states that sanction high school football, girls volleyball, boys and girls cross country, boys and girls basketball, boys and girls soccer, baseball, softball, and boys and girls track and field, and awards one National Player of the Year in each sport. From the 12 national winners, one male and one female athlete are each named Gatorade High School Athlete of the Year. In all, 607 athletes are honored each year.

Hartnett joins recent Gatorade Montana Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year Tiahna Vladic (2018-19 & 2016-17, Billings Senior High School), Camila Noe (2017-18, Bozeman High School), Annie Hill (2015-16, Glacier High School) and Makena Morley (2014-15, Bigfork High School), among the state’s list of former award winners.

As a part of Gatorade’s cause marketing platform “Play it Forward,” Hartnett announced has awarded a $1,000 grant to the Helena Novas XC & TF youth program, which she is part of. She also submitted an essay with the hope of winning one of twelve $10,000 spotlight grants for the organization of choice, which will be announced throughout the year.

Since the program’s inception in 1985, Gatorade Player of the Year award recipients have won hundreds of professional and college championships, and many have also turned into pillars in their communities, becoming coaches, business owners and educators.


Nike Cross Regionals and Nationals

NXN19-Web-Poster-3300x4950-1Twenty-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.

Nike Cross Regionals Roster & Itinerary

Below is the roster and tentative itinerary for the Nike Cross Regionals trip scheduled for Nov. 14-17 to Boise, Idaho. The cost (which covers transportation, lodging and meet registration) is $200 per athlete, which can be paid by writing a personal check to coach Zentz or paying with Venmo to @Jesse-Zentz.


Carly Ryan F
Kylee Wetzel F
Kylie Hartnett F
Odessa Zentz F
Rylie Schoenfeld F
Haily Tolman F
Lexi Erdahl F
Linnea Onushco F
Olivia Coburn F
Alyssa Plant F
Clayton Ryerson M
Dallin Christensen M
Ethan Nelson M
Grayson Bonilla M
Jonah Fisher M
Kaden Jenkins M
Trystan Brewer M
Adam Ryland-Davis M
Dimitri Sebastian M
Evan Stefaniak M
Mason Roush M
Nick Pida M
Taylor Parisot M

ITINERARY (Tentative)

Thursday, Nov. 14

  • 12 p.m. – Leave Helena High
  • 4:15 p.m. – Arrive in Idaho Falls, go for a short shakeout run at Russ Freeman Park
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner at the Olive Garden in Idaho Falls
  • 7 p.m. – Arrive in Pocatello, check in at Hampton Inn & Suites

Friday, Nov. 15

  • 8:30 a.m. – Leave Pocatello
  • 11:30 a.m. – Arrive in Mountain Home for lunch
  • 2 p.m. – Arrive at Eagle Island State Park
    • Course jog/Premeet workout
    • Visit Nike Store at meet for apparel purchases for those interested
  • 3:30 p.m. – Leave course to check in at La Quinta Inn & Suites Boise West/Meridian
  • 5 p.m. – Dinner at Noodles and Co, Blaze Pizza, Café Zuppas or The Habit Burger Grill
  • 7-9 p.m. – Packet Pickup and Ice Cream Social
  • 8 p.m. – Coaches meeting if our girls varsity team is accepted into Championship Division
  • TBA – Stop at grocery store on return to hotel to buy snacks/lunch for Saturday
  • 10:30 – Lights out at hotel

Saturday, Nov. 16

  • 9:30 a.m. – Depart for course
  • 10 a.m. – Set up tent, etc.
  • 11:05 a.m. – Boys Open Invitational 4
  • 12:15 p.m. – Girls Open Invitational 2
  • 12:30 p.m. – Rising Star Awards
  • 1:30 p.m. – Boys Open Invitational 2
  • 2:35 p.m. – Girls Championship
  • 3:25 p.m. – Open Invitational/Championship Awards
  • 4:30 p.m. – Depart Course
  • 5:30 p.m. – Depart hotel for team dinner/celebration at Wahooz or Big Als – TBA
  • 11 p.m. – Lights out at hotel

Sunday, Nov. 17

  • 8:30 a.m. – Depart hotel for grocery store to purchase food for lunch on the road
  • 12 p.m. – Stop for lunch at Craters of the Moon National Monument
  • 5-6 p.m. – Arrive at Helena High

State Championship Info

The 2019 state meet is shaping up to be a great weekend, and you deserve it after putting in so much hard work for that past five months – ranging from summer runs in the dreadful August heat to chilly outings in the snow this fall. We couldn’t be more excited for this amazing group of Bengals. Believe and be positive!

“You must expect great things from yourself before you can do them.” – Michael Jordan

  • Friday evening reminders:
    • Relax and smile, tomorrow will be fun
    • Check that your spikes are all tightly screwed in
    • Special note for the girls: Color in any logos or writing (Ex: “NIKE PRO”) on your shorts (other than the small swoosh logo) so they meet MHSA uniform requirements
    • Pack for the meet and check your bag twice to ensure you have everything you need (uniform, spikes, team warmup gear, snacks, hydration and clothing for all weather conditions; also bring money for a team meal)
    • Eat a dinner you know your body handles well (this is not a good time to change things up)
    • Do something to calm your nerves like watching a movie (comedies work great) or by reading a book
    • Smile again, remember what got you here, know how proud we all are of you, and most importantly get a good night of sleep
  • Bus leave time: 9 a.m. Saturday (Athletes, arrive 15 minutes early so we’re settled and ready to roll.)
  • Meet Schedule
    • 11:00 am: B-Boys; At conclusion, B Boys’ individual awards
    • 11:30 am: C-Boys; At conclusion, C Boys’ individual awards
    • 12:00 pm: B-Girls; At conclusion, B Girls’ individual awards and B boys’/girls’ team trophies
    • 12:35 pm: C-Girls; At conclusion, C Girls’ individual awards and C boys’/girls’ team trophies
    • 1:10 pm: AA-Boys; At conclusion, AA Boys’ individual awards
    • 1:40 pm: A-Boys; At conclusion, A Boys’ individual awards
    • 2:10 pm: AA-Girls; At conclusion, AA Girls’ individual awards and AA boys’/girls’ team trophies
    • 2:45 pm: A-Girls; At conclusion, A Girls’ individual awards and A boys’/girls’ team trophies
  • Morning reminder: Eat a balanced breakfast you know your stomach can handle to ensure your body is fueled and ready to go for the race.

GO BENGALS! Run hard, be strong, think big.

Crosstown Meet Info

Believe it or not, Crosstown is here. This will mark the end of the official high school season for our Junior Varsity runners and a send-off to state for the Varsity squads. The meet is Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Bill Roberts Golf Course, and begins at 3 p.m. with the middle school boys and girls race. Please arrive early to cheer on the future Bengals and Bruins, as our programs owe a lot to the work our middle school coaches and athletes put in. We will also spend some time before the races to recognize seniors from both Helena schools.

SENIOR DAY: The senior recognition ceremony will take place immediately after the middle school race. Senior runners and parents are asked to assemble near the arch with balloons by 3:30 pm. We’ve been asked to line up in alphabetical order (last name). Capital runners will go first followed by Helena High.

MEET INFO: Below, you’ll find meet information, including the school release time and other important details. At the bottom of this email, I will provide information about this week’s spaghetti feed when available.

Important Athlete Information

  • Runners will be released from school at 1:45 p.m. and must find their own ride to Bill Roberts Golf Course. Try to arrive at the Golf Course by 2 p.m.
  • Runners are required to stay at the golf course for the duration of the meet.
  • Eat and hydrate properly throughout the day to ensure you’re not running on empty before the race.
  • Dress appropriately for the weather and bring extra layers to ensure you’re not shivering or wet at the start of the race. Pack two trash bags – one to put over your backpack in the event of rain, and another to clean up after the meet.
  • Wear your team gear (T-shirts and sweatshirts) throughout the meet to exhibit your school spirit and team pride.
  • Pack your uniform and racing spikes or flats. This course consists of mostly grass with small sections of dirt trail. Spikes are recommended.

The meet schedule is posted below, so please review it and plan your eating and hydration accordingly.

Meet schedule:

  • 3 p.m. – Middle School Boys and Girls
  • 4:15 p.m. – High School Girls
  • 4:45 p.m. – High School Boys

Spaghetti Feed

The spaghetti feed is hosted by the McNamara’s – the address is 16 Bitterroot Mnt Rd in Mt. City. Take the MT City exit and turn left over the freeway then the first right (Johns St by Papa Rays) proceed about a mile up the mountain and take a right on Bitterroot Mnt Rd – the house is at the end of the road – it’s gray with maroon trim.

Mountain West Classic Recap

I intended to write this much earlier, so I apologize for being so late. – Coach Zentz

Meet Photos


As expected, the Mountain West Classic was full of thrills – starting with a snowy adventure driving over McDonald Pass en route to UM Golf Course in Missoula.

Sophomore Kylie Hartnett highlighted the Bengals’ strong showing with a championship in the girls division, racing to the finish line in 18:08 to best her nearest competition by 24 seconds. Her victory paced the girls to a fifth-place finish and third among Montana teams. Hartnett led from start to finish and added distance to her lead throughout the race.

Sophomore’s Odessa Zentz and Rylie Schoenfeld picked off several runners late in the race finished near even for the second consecutive week. This time, the duo posted times of 19:58 in 24th and 26th, respectively, in a race that featured 42 complete teams and 321 athletes. Sophomore Carly Ryan was next for Helena in 41st (20:24) and senior Alyssa Plant rounded out the team’s scoring in 59th (20:40). Sophomore Kylee Wetzel placed 87th in 21:12 and freshman Lexi Erdahl was 131st in 21:56.

The Bengals finished with 138 points, while the Bozeman juggernaut rolled to an impressive 40 points, and was followed by Hellgate (78), Post Falls, Idaho (125) and Lewis and Clark of Spokane, Wash. (127).

Click here for complete girls varsity results.


On the boys side, senior Jonah Fisher led the charge for the seventh-place Bengals (fourth among Montana teams) with a time of 16:47 in 30th place. Trystan Brewer wasn’t too far behind Fisher in 36th (16:56) and senior Clayton Ryerson posted a strong effort in 43rd with a time of 17:02. Helena’s fourth scoring runners was Sam Sullivan in 85th (17:41) and junior Robert Wagner put together a strong varsity debut as the Bengals’ sixth runner in 93rd with a finish in 17:47.

Sixth for HHS was senior Grayson Bonilla in 133rd (18:10), and senior Kaden Jenkins placed 195th in 18:43.

Bozeman picked up the team victory with 65 points and was followed by Hellgate (94), Lewis and Clark (149), Central Valley, Spokane (154), Gonzaga Prep, Spokane (167), Sentinel (257) and Helena (276).

The boys individual race was dominated by Lewis and Clark’s Wil Smith, who claimed the championship for the second consecutive year, this time winning in 15:35. Glacier’s Simon Hill was the top Montanan in 16:03. The boys race included 53 full teams and 376 runners.

Click here for complete boys varsity results.


In junior varsity competition, Helena’s girls finished seventh and were led by sophomores Olivia Huber (22:58) and Breanna Brewer (23:03) in 53rd and 55th. Also scoring for the Bengals were sophomore Grace Oelkers (81st, 23:36), sophomore Hannah Romney (93rd, 23:47) and sophomore Olivia Coburn (94th, 23:47). Sophomore Naomi Sweeney (105th, 23:59) and senior Tatum McNamara (115th, 24:09) rounded out the top seven.

The Bengals finished with 227 points, while Bozeman (21), Lewis and Clark (55) and Central Valley (71) claimed the top three spots.

Click here for complete girls JV results.


On the boys side, Helena placed ninth with 282 points, while Bozeman (32), Lewis and Clark (63) and Gonzaga Prep (72) finished first through third.

Junior Dallin Christensen paced the Bengals with a 31st-place finish in 18:31. Fellow junior Ethan Nelson followed him across the line in 18:36, good enough for 38th, while senior Roy Rindal was 60th (18:56) and freshmen Mason Roush (19:25) and Adam Ryland-Davis (19:33) placed 100th and 110th, respectively. Helena’s sixth and seventh finishers were sophomore Evan Stefaniak (195th, 20:24) and freshman Taylor Parisot (207th, 20:31).

Click here for complete boys JV results.

Butte Invitational Information

Meet No. 6 is the Butte Invitational, being held Saturday, Oct. 5 at Stodden Park in Butte. Below, you’ll find meet information, including the schedule, bus leave time and other important details.

At the bottom of this email, I will provide information about this week’s spaghetti feed, when it’s made available.

Spaghetti Feed

Friday’s spaghetti feed is being hosted by the Cunningham’s. The address is 26 Sidewinder Loop, Clancy. Food will be ready to be served at 4:30 p.m.

Important Athlete Information

  1. Bus leaves Helena High School at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, which means athletes need to be at the high school no later than 9:15 a.m.
  2. Pack a lunch, and also bring snacks, water/sports drink, and money for a meal on the return trip.
  3. Wear your team gear (T-shirts and sweatshirts) on the bus and throughout the meet to exhibit your school spirit and team pride.
  4. Pack your running shoes, uniform and racing spikes. This course is entirely on grass. DO NOT FORGET!
  5. The forecast looks good, but bring rain gear, and pack two trash bags – one to put over your backpack in the event of rain, and another to clean up after the meet.
  6. The meet schedule is posted below, so please review it and plan your eating and hydration accordingly.

Meet schedule:

  • 11:00 a.m. Walk-through
  • 12:00 p.m. JV Girls
  • 12:40 p.m. JV Boys
  • 1:15 p.m. Varsity Girls
  • 1:45 p.m. Varsity Boys
  • 2:15 p.m. Middle School (2 mile)
  • 2:30 p.m. Grade School (1 mile)

Course Map

10-1-2019 2-43-33 PM

Sleep: The Best Recovery Tool in the Shed

I say it often to our team, but there is no better recovery tool than your bed. As we venture into the second half of the 2019 cross country season, it is important to remember the value of sleep to a young athlete’s ability to recover properly.

We all know too well the varied commitments our student-athletes face, whether it’s school, homework, practice, family, time with friends … the list goes on. With that in mind, I just want to re-emphasize the importance of sleep, and this is an area where parents can help. Proper sleep benefits their performance in the classroom and on the field of play, and it reduces the chance of developing injuries or succumbing to illness.

Please take a moment to read this article, by clicking here.

From the article: The National Sleep Foundation recommends that teens get 9 ¼ hours of sleep per night. But most teens don’t get that much sleep, “One study found that only 15% reported sleeping 8 ½ hours on school nights.” (Teens and Sleep, 2013) Without proper sleep, teens will have a harder time concentrating on their studies and their athletic performance will suffer.”

Nike Cross Regionals Sign-Up

To prepare and budget for a trip to Nike Cross Regionals (NXR) on Nov. 14-17 in Boise, Idaho, please complete this quick form whether you intend to participate or not to allow me to solidify a roster as soon as possible. For more information about the meet itself, visit this link: https://nxrnw.runnerspace.com/

Nike Cross Regionals Sign-Up

Cost: My goal is to keep the cost under $200 per athlete, which is low considering the duration of the trip (Current estimate is about $160-190 per athlete). That cost would include transportation, lodging for three nights, meet registration and possibly a team party after the meet at a family fun event center in Boise. Athletes would be responsible for food, personal spending money and additional entertainment during the trip. We will pursue sponsors, and encourage athletes to assist, to reduce the cost as much as possible. The cost will include:


  • Transportation to Boise, Idaho
  • Lodging from Nov. 14-17 — three nights
  • Meet Registration
  • Team celebration at a family fun center or restaurant in Boise (securing bids to see if this is an affordable add-on)

Eligibility: Anyone can attend the trip, but if you intend to participate, you must attend postseason practices, which will be shared as soon as that plan is prepared.

This event presents and incredible opportunity for our student-athletes with an opportunity to participate in one of the top meets in the country, from a competition standpoint and from a presentation standpoint. Last year, we had a team of 12 athletes make the trip and would like to see that number grow.


Because this meet is not affiliated with Helena High School, as it is a post-season event, we will compete under the name Helena Novas – HHS and competition singlets will be loaned to all participants. Athletes will be asked to supply their own shorts (more on that after we get commitments).

While this event can be highly competitive at the championship level, there are multiple races that allow us to place teams with appropriate competition. This opportunity is open to all runners, both JV and varsity. Once we have a list of confirmed participants, we will place teams in appropriate races.

Once we have a confirmed list of athletes, coach Zentz will host a pizza/movie party for athletes to share important information and finalize plans for the trip.

Pictures from last year’s trip: