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Hitting their stride

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RONAN – The smoke cleared out and the rain clouds blew in creating one of the coldest Canal invitational cross-country meets ever on Friday afternoon.

“It’s usually hot at this time and the kids are sweating,” said Noelle Decker, Ronan coach. “This is the first Canal Bank Run that’s been cold. It’s perfect for running.”

Runners took off from a wooded pine area and followed the cones onto the canal bank. Race volunteers drove the course before teams arrived to cover cattle guards with plywood and check for bears.

Five teams competed including Ronan, St. Ignatius, Hamilton, Deer Lodge and Frenchtown. Hamilton had the first runner in at 18:59 for the girls, but Frenchtown took the overall team lead with 51 points. Ashley McCready from Ronan was the first local runner to cross the finish line with 21:58. She took fourth place. 

“This is the first meet we’ve had this year,” she said. “I didn’t think I’d do so well, but I guess I run better when it’s cold.”

Only four more local runners participated for the girls. Penny Weyant of Ronan came in seventh with 23:48, and Kaitlyn Sassaman was eighth at 23:48. Shaniya Decker of St. Ignatius was 14th with 26:48 followed by teammate Tori Peterson with 27:07.

Hamilton again had the first runner in for the boys at 16:03, and Frenchtown took the overall team lead with 29 points. The Ronan team took third. Jackson Duffey was the first runner from Ronan with a time of 17:00. He took fifth place. 

“My time surprised me,” he said adding that running during the summer months paid off. He hopes to lower his time by almost a minute and help his team place in the top three at state.

Tate Weingart was the next local runner from St. Ignatius with a time of 17:55 in 12th place. He shaved off 10 seconds from his time at the Big Sky meet in Missoula on Thursday. 

Nate Dennis of Ronan came in 15th with 18:34 followed by Kiry Detwiler, 18:46, and Daniel Koehler with 18:48. The rest of the Ronan team included Andrew Koehler with 20:10, Hunter Peterson, 20:39; Aden Birdinground, 20:42; Tyler Joachim, 22:04; Jacob Dresden, 22:24; Michael Koehler, 22:56; Ezra Johnson, 26:54. Wacey McClure of St. Ignatius finished with 28.16, despite an injury.


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