On the Run-Polson girls place third at championship meet
A custom order for perfect fall weather was placed and delivered in time for the Western A Fall Classic cross-country conference championship meet, held Saturday at the Polson Golf Course.
The event was the first ever conference championship for the newly formed NW and SW A combined conference, where eight teams joined Polson’s cross-country team in a showdown of the swiftest runners.
The Polson girls’ powered their way to a third-place team finish, with all-conference sophomore Ryan Harrop finishing third overall in individuals with a time of 19:35.58.
Malia Seeley (19:39.49) was on her heels in fourth place and freshman Molly Sitter (19:58.56) earned the seventh spot.
Quinn Motichka came in top 25 at 20th with a time of 21:12.02.
“The girls have continued where they left off last year with very strong racing and an uncanny ability to race smart and move up in the last half of the race,” Coach Matt Seeley said. “It is rare to these this level of maturity in such young runners.”
Freshman Quin Stewart was the first to cross the line for Polson, clocking in at 17:20.24 and the 22nd position overall for the boys.
“Stewart is a very talented and hard working young runner,” Seeley said. “He is still figuring out just how fast he can go and seems to really like the sport.”
The boys team has impressed Seeley with their newfound ability to work as a team and push each other in workouts and races.
“I credit a lot of this to strong senior leadership from Warren Wood and Thunder Morales,” Seeley said, adding that the scoring crew is rounded out by seniors Wood and Morales, who he calls the heart of the team in terms of motivation, dedication, and pride.
“It is great to see them compete and the finish order among the varsity change every week.”
Much of the teams’ success comes from consistently training and taking the workouts very seriously, according to Seeley.
“We emphasized more endurance work at the start of the season and are now bringing in some high quality speed work as they taper down for the championship meets,” he said.
Looking toward State competition, Seeley said the girls have a great shot at a top three podium finish, something that has only happened once before in the 11 years that he has coached.
“The boys were 17th last year, but are racing so much better as a team this year that they might have a chance to get into the top ten,” he added.
Next season the team will lose five key seniors, but they had a big group of freshman boys join this year so the numbers are growing overall.
“We hope this trend continues and we can match the increase on the girl’s side next year,” Seeley said. “I think more and more kids and families in this community are becoming aware of the strength of this program and the value of a scholastic introduction to running as a lifelong source of fitness and pleasure,”
Corvallis 32, Frenchtown 76, Hamilton 96, Whitefish 139, Columbia Falls 145, Polson 147, Dillon 159, Stevensville 200, Butte Central 221.
Quin Stewart 17:20.24
Zach Evertz 17:32.75
Matt Sitter 17:40.43
Coby DeBruin 17:53.11
Thunder Morales 17:53.80
Corvallis 56, Whitefish 57, Polson 65, Hamilton 100, Columbia Falls 120, Dillon 128, Frenchtown 163, Stevensville 189
3 - Ryan Harrop 19:35.58
4 - Malia Seeley 19:39.49
7- Molly Sitter 19:58.56
20 - Quinn Motichka 21:12.02
Tessa Nunlist 22:00.21