Valley cross country teams compete close to home
off & running
RONAN — The weather was perfect for valley cross-country teams on Thursday at the Mission Mountain Golf Course. In a meet hosted by Ronan, 16 teams ran three miles along cart paths, fairways, and greens in a race to post the best times.
Though no valley teams were able to bust into the top 20, Ronan coach Noelle Decker was pleased with the overall result of her Chiefs and Maidens teams.
“It’s actually going really well,” Decker said. “We only have three seniors after losing a ton of seniors last year. We’re very young and somewhat inexperienced but things are kind of moving along quite well, we’re coming into our own slowly but the kids are kind of getting a feel for what they’re capable of.”
Stating she’s never really started out with so many freshmen, Decker is seeing advancement and promise, especially in the years to come once the kids gain more experience.
As cross-country is not as “popular” in the years before high school, experience is something the kids need to pick up after their freshman year, though Decker said having a middle school team has helped.
“The last few years we have had a pretty strong middle school program, which really is our goal, you need to have a strong feeder program,” she said. “We’ve really seen it in our boys, but actually in our last meets, my number-one and number-two runners in the girls have been freshmen, so if that tells you anything.”
Penney Weyent (23:37), Matt Tasyena (23:38), and Kaitlyn Sassaman (24:25) posted the fastest times for the Maidens. For the Chiefs it was Nate Dennis (17:41), Jackson Duffey (18:07), and Daniel Koehler (19:06).
Also participating in the meet were Arlee, Mission, and Charlo.
Arlee ran three girls: Amelia North (23:06), Aly North (28:02), and Naomi Plant (31:37). The Warriors top three were Parker Holz (21:03), Chase Wiley (21:42) and Sequoia Wiley (21:42).
Charlo has a team of four, consisting of two boys and two girls. Aislynn Love posted the best time for the Lady Vikings at 23:33. Devi Knutson came in at 25:54. For the Vikings, Dalton Delaney came in at 17:37 and Dugan Runkel ran 21:13.
Also with four runners is Mission. Lady Bulldog Shaniya Decker finished at 26:34 and Tori Peterson came in at 32:58. Bulldog Tate Weingart finished with a time of 17:58 and Wyatt Decker crossed the finish line at 24:51.
Overall Decker believes the meet was a success and said the volunteers that come out to every Ronan meet were and are amazing.
“We have three meets every season, which is a lot for one program to host,” Decker said. “I have a great group of volunteers that show up for every meet and without them I don’t think that I could do it.”
All four teams will head to Missoula Sept. 20 for the Mountain West meet held at the University of Montana golf course.
Team scores – Hamilton, 35; Corvallis, 41; Frenchtown, 90; Whitefish, 141; Eureka, 178; Thompson Falls, 193; Loyola Sacred Heart, 210; Ronan, 240; Columbia Falls, 303; Darby, 472; Arlee, 552. No score: Charlo, Mission, Seeley-Swan, Deer Lodge.
Team scores – Corvallis, 50; Whitefish, 72; Hamilton, 80; Columbia Falls, 166; Eureka, 196; Loyola Sacred Heart, 216; Ronan, 248; Frenchtown, 302. No score: Thompson Falls, Seeley-Swan, Darby, Mission, Stevensville, Charlo, Arlee, Deer Lodge, Plains.