Wildwood Running is hosting a Girls Virtual Running Camp in January 2020 highlighting much of the content we would like to emphasize in our program in moving forward. Please take a moment to visit the website and sign up for the camp if it fits in your family’s budget. In fact, it may be a great Christmas gift for the young female runner in your family. And it’s just $40 for some priceless and meaningful content and interaction with some amazing people.
Bengals hit stride in Missoula
This is arriving a little late (5 days after the official race), but the Bengals certainly didn’t arrive late to the finish line on race day at the Missoula Invite.
In fact, both the boys and girls varsity teams placed second, and a whopping 27 runners posted season best times, with an additional 11 chalking up lifetime bests on the flat but turn-heavy route at Missoula’s Linda Vista Gold Course.
On the boys side, senior Robert Wagner (17:44) guided the boys to second behind Hellgate in the varsity race with a fifth-place finish to break up the Knights’ attempt at a 1-5 sweep, and seniors Ethan Nelson (17:58) and Dallin Christensen (18:02) chalked up top-10 finishes in ninth and 10th, respectively. All three Bengals recorded season bests.
The remaining four varsity runners for Helena chalked up their lifetime bests: sophomore Adam Ryland-Davis (18th, 18:27), sophomore Mason Roush (19th, 18:24), junior Evan Stefaniak (2oth, 18:33) and freshman Trey Schlepp (23rd, 19:34).
The Bengals finished with 61 points, while Hellgate topped the quad with 16, and Flathead and Big Sky recorded 70 and 90, respectively.
Helena junior varsity boys also had a strong outing and were led by senior Trystan Brewer, who posted a victory in his first race as he continues to recover from a foot injury suffered over the summer. Brewer ran a very respectable 17:56, despite leading most of the race – winning by 20 seconds.
While the varsity teams were only scored against the three teams they raced directly, the JV results were combined with the other four teams who competed earlier on Saturday. Also running for the Bengals were freshman Ian Rasmann (20th, 19:30, PR), sophomore Taylor Parisot (21st, 19:31, SR), freshman Kriz Fernandez (45th, 21:18, PR), freshman Andrew Mendez (52nd, 23:03, PR), junior Dimitri Sebastian (54th, 25:52, SR) and freshman Kai Moser (55th, 29:32, PR).
On the girls side, the Bengals once again found themselves sandwiched in a battle with fellow state contenders Hellgate and Flathead, finishing second – 19 points behind the Knights and six points up on the surging Braves.
Junior Kylie Hartnett led the way in second place with a season-topping mark of 18:20, while fellow juniors Odessa Zentz (5th, 19:14, SR), Rylie Schoenfeld (7th, 19:29, SR), Carly Ryan (13th, 20:28, SR) and Annie Menden (19th, 21:38, PR) completed the team’s scoring with top-20 finishes. Hellgate posted 27 points in the lead, Helena was second with 46 and Flathead placed third with 52, while Big Sky was fourth with 119.
Excitingly for Helena, No. 6 and 7 runners Sofia Hinderman and Claire Downing closed the gap on their teammates to provide some security for the Bengals as they move into the second half of the season. Hinderman posted a lifetime best of 20:47 to finish 20th and Downing finished a season-best 22:05 to place 22nd for Helena.
Downing is experiencing a senior resurgence. In her four races this season, she has posted her three best times in her career – including her third best this week – and she is zeroing in on her personal best of 21:40, a testament to her resilience, commitment and consistency throughout the summer and fall.
In the girls JV division, sophomore Lexi Erdahl led the Bengals to third place in her second race this season with an 11th-place finish in a second-best time of 22:32. Junior Chloe Roberts ran a personal best of 23:20 in 15th place and senior Maddy Murgel ran a season-best of 23:27 in 17th place.
Rounding out the scoring for the Bengals were juniors Breanna Brewer and Naomi Sweeney, who finished in 24th and 25th, respectively, with times of 24:00 and 24:01 – season bests for both runners. Not too far behind in 29th for the Bengals was freshman Kelleigh McKay, and senior Katelyn Hamill ran her season best of 26:02 in 36th.
The junior varsity squad finished with 92 points, while Hellgate and Flathead finished first and second with 21 and 36. Capital was fourth with 95.
The Bengals return to action Saturday with a meet in Boulder against Capital, Jefferson, Broadwater, Three Forks, West Yellowstone and Whitehall. Seven varsity and seven JV runners from both the girls and boys teams will be competing. Helena’s remaining runners will be running a time trial Friday afternoon at Centennial Park.
Hartnett wins, girls second in Kalispell; Boys post six PRs
Junior Kylie Hartnett ran a composed and determined race at Kalispell’s sun-kissed Rebecca Farm 5-kilometer cross country course Friday and led Helena High to a strong second-place showing with three Bengals in the top six finishers and four among the top 13.
Hartnett posted her fastest time this season in an event that featured a unique format to accommodate the MHSA’s race requirements of just 28 runners at the starting line. The 1-3-5-7 runners and 2-4-6 runners from each team were split up, meaning Hartnett, junior Rylie Schoenfeld, junior Annie Menden and senior Claire Downing were in the first race, while junior Odessa Zentz, junior Carly Ryan and sophomore Lexi Erdahl toed the line 5 minutes later.
Hartnett led from start to finish, while Hellgate junior Kensey May finished second in the wave and in the race. Zentz ran neck-and-neck with Hellgate seniors Sage Brooke and Abby Kendrick, before Brooks broke away to claim the second wave and place third overall. Zentz and Schoenfeld finished fourth and sixth overall in 19:44 and 20:08, respectively, while Ryan posted a season-best time of 20:53 in 13th place. Menden finished 30th in 22:22 to round out Helena’s scoring with her second-best time in her career. Downing, meanwhile, shaved 24 seconds off her season best to finish 36th in 22:57, and Erdahl, running her first race this season, was 44th in 23:52.
Hellgate claimed the team title with 33 points, while the Bengals posted 51 and Flathead was third with 72. The Braves’ top finisher was freshman Lilli Rumsey Eash in eighth with a clocking of 20:15.
In the Junior Varsity division, Helena placed third with 97 points, while Hellgate (22) and Flathead (42) claimed first and second.
Freshman Sofia Hinderman lead the Bengals in seventh placed with a personal best of 22:54. Senior Maddy Murgel was 17th (24:32), freshman Kelleigh McKay placed 19th (24:40), junior Olivia Coburn finished 26th (25:14) and Breanna Brewer was 36th (26:05) to round out the team’s scoring group of five.
Also running for the Bengals were senior Katelyn Hamill (42nd, 26:24), junior Naomi Sweeney (43rd, 26:28), junior Haily Tolman (46th, 26:50), junior Grace Oelkers (58th, 28:05), sophomore Aelish Barrs (68th, 29:16), freshman Eva Hicks (69th, 29:22), sophomore Gabby Radley (80th, 30:00), sophomore Eva Cobb (86th, 30:18), junior Hannah Romney (88th, 30:52) and freshman Alivia Thunstrom (89th, 30:54).
Hamill, Oelkers, Cobb and Romney were running in their first official race this season, while Barrs, Hicks, Radley and Thunstrom posted their first official race times in their young careers.
On the boys side, Helena placed fifth as the team’s top four finishers were separated by a mere eight seconds. Junior Evan Stefaniak led the way in 22nd with a personal best of 18:34, sophomore Adam Ryland-Davis was 23rd in a personal best of 18:37, senior Ethan Nelson finished 24th in 18:40 and senior Dallinn Christensen was 25th in 18:42.
Rounding out the Bengals’ scoring was sophomore Mason Roush in 42nd with a time of 19:25. Freshmen Trey Schlepp (49th, 20:15) and Ian Rasmann (52nd, 20:39) both posted personal bests in the race.
The Bengals finished with 136 points behind Sentinel (28), Hellgate (41), Capital (94) and Glacier (105).
Helena’s top time at the meet for the boys was posted by senior Robert Wagner, as he was competing in his first meet this season and cruised across the finish line in third with a time of 18:31.
Sophomore Taylor Parisot was the team’s second JV finisher in a time of 20:28, and he was followed by four freshmen, who all chalked up personal bests – Andrew Madsen (65th, 22:40), Kriz Fernandez (71st, 23:31), Andrew Mendez (79th, 24:01) and Kai Moser (101st, 31:02).
The JV boys placed seventh with 174 points, while Hellgate (31) and Sentinel (43) led the way.
Helena returns to action this week with seven junior varsity runners competing Friday at Linda Vista Golf Course in Missoula, followed by the varsity teams on Saturday.
Friday Night Lights 2-Mile a Superb Stage for Bengals’ Magnificent Seven
Seven is a special number in cross country, being that it’s the designated number required for an official team. It’s appropriate then that on a night set aside for runners unable to travel to the first away meet this season that seven Bengals donned cardinal uniforms under the lights at Vigilante Stadium for a 2-mile race Friday, Sept. 4.
And with their teammates donning Western outfits for cheering duties, it seems the “Magnificent Seven” was an appropriate title for the Bengals who steeled their nerves with music blaring from the overhead speakers as they dueled with 11 equally excited Bruins from across town, supported by a more futuristic looking neon-clad group of fellow runners.
The evening began with the boys division, which featured only Bruins, but the crosstown vibe soon took over when the girls toed the line with a stunning sunset providing a backdrop.
Senior Katelyn Hamill, juniors Grace Oelkers and Hannah Romney, sophomores Aelish Barrs and Eva Cobb, and freshmen Eva Hicks and Alivia Thunstrom represented Helena.
From the start, Oelkers got herself into the mix up front, while Hamill and Romney established a consistent pace just behind the leaders and the others settled in a little further off that pace. Oelkers led the team through the halfway point in 7:27 and Hamill finished four laps about 7 seconds behind her.
While all seven runners kept up a consistent pace heading into the second half of the race, Hamill and Hicks were the big movers. Hamill moved into the top spot with about 1 kilometer remaining and pushed trough the last kilometer to finish in 15:36, while Hicks ran nearly even splits of 8:07-8:11 to cross second for the Bengals in 16:18. Hicks entered the second half of the race fifth among her teammates.
Moments after Hicks finished, the trio of Oelkers, Barrs and Thunstrom finished in 16:32, 16:32 and 16:34, respectively. Romney was next, battling through the finish line against a Capital rival, and Cobb ran a very respectable 17:21 after just recently returning to running.
The energy remained palpable after the race as teammates cheered and congratulated their Magnificent Seven, who will have the opportunity to join them in Kalispell for an official race Friday at Saturday at Rebecca Farm.
Varsity girls second, boys sixth at Missoula Coaches Invitational
Girls top five all finish among top 25 runners; Christensen paces the Bengal boys in 22nd
The Missoula Coaches Invitational was hotly contested in more ways than one.
With the sun beating down and no shade to be found on the hard-packed paths of Big Sky Horse Park on the western edge of Missoula, the Helena High girls finished runner-up to Hellgate and the boys placed sixth in a meet that featured two flights of four teams from the Western AA conference.
Led by three top seven placers in juniors Kylie Hartnett, Odessa Zentz and Rylie Schoenfeld, and another pair of top 25 finishes from juniors Carly Ryan and Annie Menden, the Bengals – who placed third at state a year ago – finished with 58 points, behind reigning state runner-up Hellgate at 28 and ahead of third-place Flathead at 77. The Braves were fourth at state last fall.
Hartnett ran in her signature style, leading from the start, but Hellgate senior Sage Brooks took the overall win in 18:38, while new teammate and junior Kensey May – who recently moved to Missoula from Virginia – placed second in 18:42. After leading through 2.5 miles, Hartnett maintained her composure and pushed through the finish in 18:53 in third place.
Zentz and Schoenfeld ran step-for-step through most of the race before Zentz made a late push in an attempt to reel in fourth-place finisher Abby Kendrick of Hellgate, and finished in 19:30 in fifth place – less than seven seconds behind Kendrick, last year’s third-place state finisher. Schoenfeld crossed moments later with a time of 19:37 in sixth place in the first four-team wave, and wound up seventh overall after results were combined with the second wave.
Ryan placed 20th in 21:38 for the Bengals, a 34-second improvement over her performance in last week’s time trial against Capital. Rounding out the team scoring for Helena was junior Annie Menden, making her first appearance in an official varsity race and walking away with a personal best of 21:58 – a 36-second improvement over her previous best established on a very fast Billings course last fall.
Also performing incredibly well in their first varsity appearances were freshmen Sofia Hinderman and Kelleigh McKay, who placed 37th and 40th with times of 23:22 and 23:49, respectively. After all results from the JV and varsity meet were combined, the two Bengals impressively ranked 5th and 7th among freshmen at the two-day event.
Leading the way for the Helena High boys was senior Dallin Christensen, who placed 22nd with a time of 18:32. From there, the Bengals arrived at the finish line in a quick procession with senior Ethan Nelson 30th in 18:44, junior Evan Stefaniak 34th in 19:08, sophomore Adam Ryland-Davis 35th in 19:10 and sophomore Mason Roush 38th in 19:36 to round out the team’s scoring five. Stefaniak was just 8 seconds shy of his personal best.
Helena’s boys also had a pair of freshmen in the varsity ranks with Trey Schlepp placing 48th in 20:07 and Ian Rasmann 54th in 21:09. Like the freshmen girls, the Helena duo ranked well against their peers, finishing 7th and 11th among freshmen boys at the eight-team meet.
In the team standings, Sentinel demonstrated why many consider them a state favorite with 20 points to dominate the meet, while Hellgate placed second with 45 and Capital was third with 91. Helena was sixth with 159 points.
Sentinel’s scoring runners placed an impressive 1-3-4-5-7, with meet champion Tanner Klumph posting an sound opening time of 15:58. Hellgate’s Miles Colescott broke up a Sentinel sweep of the top four spots with a time of 16:03 in second place.
The Bengals continue Friday night with a JV time trial under the lights at Vigilante Stadium, before heading to Kalispell next week for a two-day meet at Rebecca Farm.
Girls Results: http://competitivetiming.com/results/205216TSG
Boys results: http://competitivetiming.com/results/205216TSB
Bengal girls JV squad places third in Missoula Coaches Invite
Downing, Parisot lead teams across the line on hot and windy day
After a strong showing in a time trial against Capital on Saturday, the Helena High junior varsity boys and girls ventured west to Missoula to officially lift the lid on the 2020 cross country season Wednesday afternoon.
The Bengals toed the line on a hot and windy day against Western AA foes Hellgate, Capital and Big Sky, but the times were combined with results from the later quadrangular featuring Flathead, Glacier, Sentinel and Butte. Helena’s girls (78 points) edged Capital (100) to place third behind Hellgate (15) and Flathead (59), while the young boys squad placed eighth and gained some valuable experience for the road ahead.
To place a focus on the team’s collective effort prior to their race, each girl wrote the name of a teammate on their hand to establish a visible reminder they were running for more than just themselves – #LoveYourTeammates.
After the gun sounded in the girls race, senior Claire Downing charged up the only substantial hill on the course to take pole position for the Bengals early, and she worked her way up the pack to lead her team with a time of 23:21 in sixth place. Junior Chloe Roberts (23:31, personal best) and senior Maddy Murgel (24:48) were Helena’s second and third finishers in eighth and 20th, respectively, while juniors Haily Tolman (24:54, 21st), Breanna Brewer (24:58, 23rd) and Olivia Coburn (24:59, 24th) finished next after working together through the first two-plus miles. Junior Naomi Sweeney (28:55, 40th) battled through some discomfort, but was determined to finish and completed the Bengals’ strong performance.
On the boys side, sophomore Taylor Parisot guided the boys to the finish in 21:33 for 27th place, and was followed across the line by freshmen Kris Fernandez (23:50, 42nd), Andrew Madsen (24:50, 44th), Andrew Mendez (24:52, 45th) and Kai Moser (31:18, 52nd).
Girls Results: http://competitivetiming.com/results/205216JVG
Boys Results: http://competitivetiming.com/results/205216JVB
2020 Season Officially Starts Aug. 14
Many of the the Helena High Bengals have been hard at work throughout the summer in preparation for the 2020 high school cross country season, which begins with our first official practice at 7 a.m. Friday, Aug. 14 at Vigilante Stadium (Helena Middle School).
We have added some information about the upcoming season to a variety of pages on this website and will be adding additional information as it becomes available. If you are an incoming freshman or older HHS student interested in joining the team, please visit our homepage and use the links available there to complete a questionnaire, so we can add you to our email list for important communications prior to our first practice.
Please take some time to familiarize yourself with the site and read the information recently updated on the pages below.
- Forms and Fees (All required forms must be turned in prior to or at the first practice)
- Parent Information (page will be updated regularly)
- Schedule (page will be updated soon)
- Team Store (Get some gear; Closes on August 16, so act fast!)
Hartnett secures Helena High’s first Gatorade Montana Girls ROY Honor
Helena 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
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.
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.
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