Last Saturday was quite a glorious day for a cross country meet. And, the hosts (Mountain West Track Club) and the athletes (1,500 strong) certainly put on a great show. The meet is an opportunity that few high school athletes get to experience. A challenging course that is double flagged througout. Thousands of cheering fans and top quality meet organization. What more could you ask for as a fan of distance running.
As the buzzard circled around overhead, he was left with a few lasting impressions.
First, what a great festival of races, color, excitement and determination. To look out over the north end of the University Golf Course and observed the sea of tents, the legions of runners and the hordes of fans put a smile on the old birds face.
There were some great individual performances. Drew Coco of Whitefish continued his dominant season and ran away from the boys field over the last mile.
The suprise of the day on the boys side had to have been Ryan Ketterling of Joliet. A solid performer in years past, he made a huge step forward with his strong 3rd place finish.
On the girls side, Kelly Dennehy of Butte made a stunning surge over the last 100 meters to make up almost a 20 meter deficit and finish fractions of a second out of first place. The state meet should be a doozy on the AA women's side with Dennehy, the Aragon sisters of Billings Senior, Keely West of CMR and Heidi Turner of Bozeman.
From team standpoints, the Bozeman girls will be hard to beat. And, if they can continue to run at this level, a Nike Team National slot isn't entirely out fo the question. But how about the Whitefish girls. Running agains the best large schools in Montana and several Washington powerhouses, the "A" school pulled out a 3rd place finish. And, this despite their nornal #1 runner (Loni Hanson) running a sub-par performance. Pretty impressive stuff.
On the boys side, the team titles at state in all classes looks to be as wide open as it has been in years. The boys team titles should rival the AA girls individual races for excitement.
See you back in Zoo Town for state on October 25th.
Before then, see you on the roads, tracks and trails.
The Muddy Buzzard