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Arlee runners wrap up regular season in Missoula

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MISSOULA — No Arlee cross country runner had an amazing race at the Runner’s Edge Cross Country Invitational Thursday, but that’s exactly how their coach wanted it.

Arlee coach Katea Dreiling said it seems like her team always peaks in the penultimate race of the season instead of the state championship, but she’s hoping that’s not the case this season and her team will hit their stride next weekend at the state championship in Helena.

“We had some strong times, but nothing super amazing. We’re saving the amazing for state,” Dreiling said.

Jesse Pfau was the Warriors’ top finisher coming in 44th with a time of 18:46, more than a minute slower than the PR he set last week at the Arlee Hatchery Challenge. Dreiling said that Pfau will have to run in the 17-minute range again if he wants to make all-state and be one of the top 15 runners in the state, something she thinks he is capable of.

“He’s really going to have to work and focus on staying conscious the whole time of what he’s doing and keep pushing himself,” Dreiling said.

After a couple of off races, Trae Burland returned to form Thursday. Burland finished in 55th with a time of 19:14 and will be the Warriors’ second runner at state. Burland entered the Loyola meet as Arlee’s fourth runner.

“(Burland is) back where he should be, and should be confident with his times,” Dreiling said.

Nick Morigeau finished 59th with a time of 19:40. He and Burland have been running neck-and-neck all season and should be able to push each other at state.

Al Plant finished 74th with a time of 20:32 and will be Arlee’s fourth runner in Helena. Even though it’s the sophomore’s first year of cross country, Dreiling expects him to have a strong performance next week.

“He’s going to leave everything on the course at state. He knows how to push himself real hard,” Dreiling said.

The Warriors will take seven runners to state. Michael Brown finished 86th with a time of 21:39, Dominic Burland finished 93rd with a time of 22:23 and freshman Jordan Keltner crossed the line in 102nd place with a time of 23:09. Keltner was the only Arlee runner to set a PR at the Loyola Invite.

Only three Scarlets ran Thursday. Tayla Desjarlais finished 88th with a time of 27:54, which is pretty close to her PR. Dreiling said that Desjarlais seems to be healthy and is constantly cutting time from last year.

Desirae Nault finished 91st with a time of 29:06 and senior Kaylene Adams finished 98th with a time of 38:26. The Scarlet’s top runner Kristyn Adams will join them at the state tournament. Adams didn’t run in Loyola because of a sprained ankle. Dreiling said this will be Adams’ first week of running since spraining her ankle at the Hatchery Challenge, and she doesn’t know what to expect from her at the state meet.

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