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Mission cross-country: learning, improving, smiling

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RONAN – Second-year cross-country coach Marc Cutler was all smiles under the rare October sunshine Friday as he was pumping his Bulldog and Lady Bulldog runners up with words of encouragement. 

The young team came to Ronan to compete in the Divisional Championship Meet with B teams from around the Western Division. 

With only one senior, Mission is using this season as an opportunity to build and learn.

“We do the best we can,” Cutler said. “Every year is a new learning experience; it’s a wonderful sport.”

Cutler has had to work practice times around other sports schedules with almost all of his kids playing either football or volleyball. According to Cutler they have to do their practices very early before school and sometimes do not have a complete team at meets; only two boys were available for Friday’s divisional meet. 

“The kids are very busy but in great shape,” Cutler said. 

With hard work and practice comes great things and Mission has proven they can persevere. The Bulldogs grabbed a first place finish earlier this season in Arlee and personal bests have been beaten more than once.

Though Mission didn’t place at the top as teams, one Bulldog and one Lady Bulldog placed in the top 20 and will advance to State. 

Tait Weingart led the boys with 17:57, his personal best of the season, finishing in the number 11 spot. Senior Kaylie Durglo logged a time of 22:26, which put her in 14th. 

Durglo has impressed Coach Cutler this season showing great leadership as the lone senior. “She’s been leading stretches and really getting stuff going,” he said.

Cutler is hoping some personal goals are met at the upcoming State Tournament. “I’m excited for State,” he said. “With hard work and focus, we’re going to try for some (personal) best times.”

On Saturday, Oct. 26, all teams from Montana will meet in Missoula for the State championships.

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