Saturday, February 24, 2018

The Hardin girls cross-country team ran to a Class A state championship in Kalispell, Mont. on Saturday. This is the first time in 25 years that the girls cross-country team has won state. Pictured in the back row are (from the left): Assistant Coach Chris Fuchs, Michelle Wall, Mei-Li Stevens, Madisan Chavez, Charlie Bellrock, Guan Yin Stevens and Head Coach Cindy Farmer; the front row runners are as follows: Journey Erickson, Kyrstyn Price, Naumie Dushane and Johnice Half.Local High school, middle school and community members gather Tuesday afternoon to celebrate the Hardin High School girls cross-country team’s state championship. Each coach and member of the team were introduced to the crowd.

Relentless effort

Hardin girls cross-country team ends season as Class A state champions
The girls had perseverance, they were not going to be denied.” – Cindy Farmer, Head Coach
After a three-month running season full of triumph and hardship, Hardin cross-country teams ultimately proved themselves challengers of state competition in the final meet of the year. Varsity girls finished their season as the 2016 Cross-Country Class A State Champions.
Hardin’s girls cross-country team brought home the Bulldogs’ second ever state title for the sport. The boys swim team won the last state title for Hardin’s athletics in 2009.
“They were compassionate with each other; they were happy for everyone’s successes, even when they outran each other,” Head Coach Cindy Farmer said. “Their goal all season was to take state and they earned it.”
In taking first at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell, Hardin’s girls varsity runners passed second place Whitefish and last year’s champions – Corvallis.
“The state meet went very well,” Farmer said. “Once they got to state, they were physically prepared, and it was just down to mental toughness and them being focused on the task at hand.”
Leading Hardin’s girls was Madisan Chavez finishing sixth overall at 19:22 – one minute, five seconds behind first place Pipi Eitel of Belgrade.
“When the gun went off, the girls ran together just like they usually do,” Farmer said. “We knew who our competition was and our top three runners just had to finish around 19 minutes.”
Following Chavez were Charlie Bellrock in 14th at 19:34, Mei-Li Stevens in 15th at 19:38 and Journey Erickson in 25th at 20:18. Also finishing in girls varsity were Michelle Wall in 31st at 20:34, Guan-Yin Stevens in 54th at 21:54 and Kyrstyn Price in 83rd at 22:26 for a pack-time of three minutes, four seconds.
“The girls had perseverance; they were not going to be denied,” Farmer said. “They just worked together so well all season and pushed each other through friendly competition.”
Boys varsity finished the state meet in seventh behind first place Frenchtown. Leading the boys was Anton Rides Horse finishing seventh overall at 16:13. Following Rides Horse were David Prather in 25th at 16:46, Toshiki Honda in 49th at 17:34 and Trajan Hill in 60th at 17:48.
Also running for boys varsity were Austin Monroy, who finished 76th at 18:13, Mykal Grant in 79th at 18:16 and Kirby Simpson in 102nd at 19:00 for a pack-time of 2 minutes, 49 seconds.
“I couldn’t be prouder of both the boys and the girls,” Farmer said. “The boys tied for second last year and they ran their best this year. There’s good things coming up for them, they just have to stay strong.”
For Class B Lodge Grass, the boys finished their bracket in 23rd place of 32 teams behind Wolf Point and Roundup. Leading Lodge Grass’ boys was Hank Pretty On Top, finishing 30th at 17:28. Following Pretty On Top were Isaiah Brown in 125th at 19:55, Belo Lefthand in 137th at 20:16, Fred Backbone in 166th at 21:58 and Teton Lefthand in 169th at 22:21 for a pack-time of 4 minutes, 52 seconds.
Lodge Grass girls had an incomplete score with three runners crossing the finish line. Leading the Lodge Grass girls were Samantha Dust, finishing 93rd overall at 23:45. Following Dust was Santina Bishop in 127th at 25:31 and Keely Flying in 140th at 26:17 for a pack-time of 2 minutes, 32 seconds.
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