Saturday, December 26, 2009

Time To Be Resolute

Okay all - it's that time of year................................................

New Year's Resolution Time
Good or bad, big or small...............................We all hate 'em; but, we all make 'em. Now, some of you will say "Oh, I never make new year's resolutions". But we know that you do. Even if it's just back in some dark corner of you mind. You still say -- "What I really would like to do this year is..................................."
Don't be ashamed. It's healthy to make resolutions. Think of them as goals. Or your short term bucket list if that sounds better.
At any rate, the Buzzard is curious as to what you plan to accomplish in 2010.
And, to start it off, I'll even let everyone know some of my resolutions.
Take 90 seconds off 2009 Bloomsday Time
Make top 5 Masters at Wulfman CDT 14-K Trail Race
Blog at least once per week
Finish basement Mud Room and Bedroom Remodel projects
Blog at least once per week (this is an activity that crosses between both "worlds" for me)
Go fishing at least once per week this summer
Okay, there you have it. Now, let me know what you're thinking of accomplishing this year.
See you on the roads, tracks and trails
The Muddy Buzzard

Merry Christmas

The Buzzard hopes that you and yours all had a wonderful day yesterday and that Santa was good to you all.

I had a great day with my family. Our son made it home from Arizona for a week and yesterday we opened presents, ate too much, watched a bunch of movies (including a couple of classics - The Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation -- BTW, cousin Eddy is still my favorite character)) and just hung out.

Of course, The Buzzard spread his wings and hit the pavement (oh, what a mixing of metaphors that was). Things just wouldn't be right without the daily worship at the altar of the mileage gods ;-)

Got a few cool running gifts. Got a Nike Sport Band with the foot pod. Calibrated it yesterday, so, we'll see how it does at tracking mileage. But, most of my running related items were books and video.

On the book front, got Born To Run (about Mexico's Tarahumara (sp??) Indians) and My Running Life (Bart Yasso of Runner's World). Also got Matt Fitzgerald's book Racing Weight. I've always noticed that I race best at a certain weight; but, as I've gotten older, I've also noticed that it's harder and harder stay lean and racing "fit". So am really excited to get Matt's insight.

On the video side of the coin, received Long Green Line (about Joe Newton's York HS XC program) and Saint Ralph (a hilarious story about a boy who thinks that he can save his mom by winning the Boston Marathon). It's a great story, and even funnier to those of us who went to catholic high school.

But, the pest part of the day was certainly just hanging out with the familyand reflecting on how lucky I am. I've had a pretty good life so far; and, really can't complain about how it's turned out to this point.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bozeman Track Club Preps The Next Generation

See the below link for a great story by Tim Dumas (himself a pretty studly masters runner) in the Bozeman Chronicle about the Bozeman Track Club's success at Junior Olympics in Reno this fall.

Dave Skelton does a great job of grooming the next generations of youth athletes in the Gallatin Valley. Any coincidence that Bozeman HS has been producing such stud teams the last few years??????

Thanks to Kirk Keller (another masters stud) of Three Forks for passing this on.

The Muddy Buzzard

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Keeping The Cup All Shined Up

One of the largely unseen and unknown tasks behind the Montana Cup is a yearly organizational meeting that takes place by the core steering committee. This commitee is made up of representatives from all of the 7 cities/regions. Traveling from across the state, we met today in Whitehall as Ray (and Nicole and Eon) Hunt hosted the meeting in his hometown.

Present were Ray and Nicole Hunt (Butte), Jeff Thomas and Pat Judge (Helena), Alan King (Billings - 2010 race host city), Dewey Peacock (Bozeman), Anders Brooker (Missoula) and Tony Banovich (Plains/Kalispell). Unable to attend were John Zombro (Bozeman - 2009 meet director) and Bob Boland & Jaquie Maillet (Great Falls).

Yeah, we did take care of some important race business. We made a few decisions and adjusted some rules that should benefit and improve the race in years to come. Ray will get the rules and updated information up on the website ( in the very near future.

But, the best parts of the day come in a couple of different forms. First is the pleasure of seeing a dedicated group of runners who have a passion for the sport and a desire to see this event continue to gow and thrive. We travel great distances to make this meeting, we all do it on a volunteer basis, and there's no compensation or perks for our efforts.

Well that's not entirely true - which brings me to the other best part of the day - the big perk/payoff is the honor of being able to go for the obligatory pre-meeting run with some great folks. Today, Ray took the group out so that we could have the wind at our backs. Part of the group ran about 10 kilometers. Nicole, Alan and I ran about 15 to 16 kilometers. With the exception of the last 1,200 meters, the whole run was on gravel & dirt roads and trails. On a pleasant day of about -2 degrees celsius, we ran across some great high prarie areas with some wonderful views of the Tobacco Roots and the Highlands. Last year, it was a nice run on a crisp day on the snow covered trails around Bozeman. In the end, this is all payment enough for me.

See you on the roads tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mtn West Does Up Louiseville

The women of Missoula Based Mountain West Track Club made the trek to the southeast this past weekend to the USATF Cross Country Club National Championships in Louiseville, Kentucky.

Competing against big club teams likeBoulder Running Company, McMillan Elite, Asics Aggies, New York Athletic Club and Club Northwest - the women from the banks of the Clark Fork River did the Big Sky Country proud. Running against 29 complete teams - the ladies finished as the 18th team.

They were led by the Meg Lerch (the 2009 MT Cup Champion), who finished 17th overall (out of a field of 234). Her finish time of 21:14 over the 6 Kilometer course was only :53 seconds behind the time of individual champion Serena Burla. Over the last couple of years, Megan has steadily improved her level of perfromances and continues to move upwards on the National stage.

The 2nd and 3rd runners for the Mountain West team were also compeitors at this year's Montana Cup. After finishing 8th and 6th respectively in Bozeman, Jenny Newton and Rye Palen had great races in the Bluegrass State. Jenny hit a 22:42 for 111th place, with Rye only 15 seconds and 13 places behine (22:57 - 124th).

Next up for the Mtn. West women was master studdette Mary Thane at 24:17. And, she was followed by fellow master Janicka Umile in 25:01.

Great running ladies and thanks for showing the rest of the country what kind of talent we have here in the treasure state.

Check out these links for a few pix of Meg and Jenny

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Missoula Is The Place To Go

For those of you who haven't seen or heard the news - The Missoula Marathon (in only it's 3rd year of existence), was named by Runner's World as the Best Overall Marathon by it's readers in it's 2010 marathon guide.

Pretty big honor for our very own western Montana marathon. Outdid races like Boston, St. George, London, Twin Cities, New York, Disney, etc.

To check out the full list, pick up a copy of the January 2010 edtion of the magazine at your local Hastings, Borders, Barnes and Noble, etc.

Congrats to the whole Run Wild Missoula crew from The Muddy Buzzard.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Grim & Gray

Just spent a couple of days in the Seattle area. Most of my time in the Pugent Sound region has been in the summer; and, I've always found it to be a most pleasant place to run. I've always heard about the winter gloom of the Pacific NW; but, not having been in the region during this time of year, I hadn't had first hand experience with the phenomenon.

But - I can now say - Been There Done That. Was suprised by a couple of things. First, it's amazing how quickly the gloom can set in and get you down. Two days and I was already feeling less than chipper.

Second, the rain and wetness is relentless. No hard or driving so much - just a constant drip and drizzle that never really goes away.

On the upside - the running retailers must love it. There is no way that you are getting buy with just one pair of shoes at a time. During this time of year - two or three pairs must always be needed in order to make sure that you have a dry pair.

I'm sure as with everyting - you adjust and adapt and learn to deal with the conditions. But, have to tell you that I'm happy to be back in Montana and our style of winter weather.

Just my two cents for the day.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Buzzard Wakes Up

Actually, haven't been asleep. Just seriously underestimated the amount of time that coaching high school cross county would take. With a couple of hours devoted to practice every day, writing schedules, tracking times & spits, and meet entries. Then, most weekends traveling to a meet. Turns out it takes a lot of time to take care of a bunch of unruly high school harriers.

But, now that the season is behind us - the Buzzard has some time to get caught up on things. First off, a few musings from recent activities.

Loved the mudfest that was the Montana Cup. For the first time in the meet's history mud was the dominant theme of the day. And, I loved it. Mud-caked legs, globs on your face and in your hair - ahhh, it was glorious. You could tell who had the fastest times by the size of the rooster tail running up their butt and back. (For me - little rooster tail equal slow time. But, hey, I was happy to have had enough back kick to at least get a bit of mud on the back of the jersey:-). Sometimes we just have to go with the little victories.)

The New York City Marathon was last week - three words about the race ............................................... Meb, Meb, Meb. Keflezghi is the first American to have won the race since Salazar in 1982. It was almost shocking to see him pull away from the best africans in the last couple of miles. Equally shocking was seeing the top 3 pull away from Paula Radcliffe in the final miles of the women's race.

Now, there are those that will say that Meb isn't a real American. That's he's just a transplanted African (Meb was born in Eritrea). I'm throwing the bull-shit flag on that one. There was a post on Let' that perhaps sums it up best - basically it said that here is a family that left their war torn country in search of a better life for their children. If that isn't the American dream, then we've really lost our way (the post at this link: http:// )

Did anyone else see how Heidi Turner flew past Alexa Aragon at the Class AA state XC championhsips? It was a fantastically executed race by Turner. As were the team races by the entire Bozeman boys and girls teams. On the boys side, they were nowhere to be seen at the first mile. But, with 800 to go, the front of the field had been transformed to a sea of black and red. Kudos to the Hawh coaches and athletes.

Mike Asay and Gavin Owens are clearly the class of the HS boys distance runners. Both dominated the smaller divisions and would have definately been capable of winning at the A and AA levels.

Kelli Dennehy of Butte - there's a stud. She doesn't run a meet all year due to IT band issues. But, in spite of that, she still holds on for a solid third place at the state meet. Couldn't quite pull off the Alec Brekke miracle from a couple of years ago; but, still - pretty damn gutsy run.

Back to the Montana Cup - John Zombro and the Bozeman crew did a great job of putting on the event. Too bad we had some course and technical issues that wrecked havoc with the results. But, the race committee will take these snafus, use them as a learning tool and tighten up some rules and protocols to hopefully avoid this in future editions. But, in the end - the race met it's overall goal. It brought together the best runners in the state in a friendly, competitive environment.

That's probably it for now. The Buzzard's wings are tired after not having posted in so long. Need to get back in the grind and get my feathers used to hitting the keys again.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Quality Of Life and The Root Festival

The last couple of weekends have seen a few good races on opposite sides of the state.

In Billings on August 22nd was the Annual Quality of Life Run 5-Mile sponsored by the local realtors. The women's race was won by MSU-B trackster Lisa Minnehan in 31:45. Lisa comes to the sport a bit later than most; but, si making up for lost time. She had a great track season this spring and has run several really good road races this year.

2nd place went to Jen Reiter in 32:28. The masters winner (9th overall woman) was Lori Christiansen in 38:10.

The real racing was in the men's race. The normal favorite in a Billngs area race would be Alan King. But, returning to his hometown for a family visit was professional triathlete Lewis Elliot (now living in Phoenix). They went head to head and down to the wire, with Lewis getting a 12 second win (25:20 to 25:32). The top 5 were rounded out by Cody Englert (29:01), Mark Bolt (29:31) and Justice Mack (30:53). The top master runner was the head of the Running Ricardi clan. Running in the 50-59 age group, Nick Ricardi was 13th ovarll with his 33:03.

Continuing a season long trend of having fast and deep events, the race of the month goes to the Roots Festival 4-Mile in Missoula this last weekend (8/30/09). Here's the top 25; and, they pretty much speak for themselves. (Full results at

1 458 Hendrick, Duncan 23 20:30.49
2 937 Grant, Jimmy 31 20:53.33
3 599 Foote, Mike 25 21:23.14
4 453 Garbett, Seth 17 21:48.12
5 443 Drobeck, Audy 27 21:58.18
6 904 Dumke, Chuck 43 22:05.08
7 817 Leavens, Moses 24 22:17.85
8 520 Babcock, Courtney 37 22:54.07
9 229 Lerch, Meg 25 23:11.70
10 868 Ridesatthedoor, Sancho 18 23:16.37
11 891 Hunt, Nicole 39 23:18.36
12 896 Morley, Steve 41 23:20.67
13 431 Plumage, Kevin 40 23:24.37
14 516 Anderson, Erik 16 23:28.71
15 525 Braun, Jeff 45 23:32.13
16 457 Brosh, Allie 24 23:38.53
17 822 Williams, Benjamin 22 23:44.93
18 216 Huse, Sue 35 23:47.37
19 280 Lipp, Dean 48 23:57.05
20 852 Fruit, Brian 47 23:58.97
21 461 Oyler, Jared 29 24:03.43
22 894 Palen, Rye 35 24;23.48
23 857 Mary Thane 46 24:32.35
24 815 Welzer, Michael 25 24:36.66
25 844 Johnson, Jessica 28 24:46.44

20 under 24:00. Two under 21:00. 2 women in the top 10. Look at the number of masters men in the top 20. Man, it was fast.

The route is really set for fast times. The first 800 is flat. Then, there is some pretty solid climbing over the next 1K. But, once you crest the top of the hill above Greenough Park, you have a nice flat to slightly downhill section to recover. Then, the next 2.5 miles are pretty much gentle downhill. Just about the right grade to really let the legs fly. And plenty of shade to help keep the heat at bay. And, the last 800 is on flat downhill streets. Plus, there is a big field and lots of excitement in the area with the Roots Festival that weekend. So, all the pieces in place to be have some fast and furious fun.

And, now, we hit the fall season, XC and Montana Cup. Running and Racing is into super high gear. Looks like some fun is just around the corner.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Bad Buzzard

The Buzzard has obviously not been good about staying on top of things the last couple of weeks. Lots going on and not much free, something had to give. And, unfortunately, that meant posting on the Muddy Buzzard has been on a leeetle bit of a hiatus. But, let's get caught up a bit.

To begin with, I've just finished up my first week as the head coach of the Plains H.S. Cross Country Teams (the Horseman and the Trotters (that's right ----- the Trotters. Perhaps one of the more unfortunate team names)) It's been a bit of an eye opener to deal with the HS psyche. So far, I don't have full boys or girls teams (4 and 2); but, we're hoping to pick up at least one boy so that we have a scoring team.

On the up side, I do have one boy (a sophomore) who made State in the Class B two mile as a freshman on some pretty marginal training. So, with some good training, I'm hopeful that we'll see some good things out of him.

On to the statewide scene. On the 15th I was at the Huckleberry Run 5K in Trout Creek. It was a decent race (won by Jacob Naegeli of Trout Creek, sophomore to be at Earlham College in 16:59., the Buzzard won the masters at 17:57) - but, the weather was the news of the day. So, here it was in mid-August. Usually the dog days of summer. Still plenty of time to be out on teh lake, hitting the pool and catching some rays. Well, not this year. Race time was in the high '40's. Conditions were great for racing (no wind, cloud cover, crisp); but, not expected at this time of year. Not prepared to see my breath during a summer run.

But, the big news of the last two weeks would have to be the Ridge Run in Bozeman (also on the 15th). The men were chasing the almost untouchable record time of 3:06:30 by Scott Creel in 2007. First this year was Chad Andersen of Bozeman in 3:35:42. Chad has won at least 3 time previously (1993, 1994, 1996). Pretty impressive to come back 13 years later and get win #4.

Rounding out the top 5 me were Dewey Peacock (3:41:37), Kevin Murphy (MSU alum, now in Seattle) in 3:41:53 (amazingly close 16 second split after 20 trail miles), Justin Prigge in 3:42:46 and Douglas Wadle in 3:50:26.

First Master man was the 2008 winner and 52-year old Kyle Klicker running a 3:58:08.

The women's race saw a new record set. And, it should come as no suprise that the winner and new record holder is ultra queen Nikki Kimball. Breaking her 2004 record by almost 10 minutes, Nikki's 3:43:49 outpaced second place by about 50 minutes. She also finished 5th overall in the race and her time was only the second time a woman has been under 4 hours in this event.

A great day on the ridge for all involved.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, August 09, 2009

One That Flew Under The Buzzard

Forgot about this event - and apologize for not mentioning it sooner.

On July 26th, the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race was held in Colorado Springs. The event was a selection race for the US Mountain Running Team that will compete in the world championships in Italy. The races were limited to 100 men and 100 women - with the men doing 12K and the women at 8K. With limited fields and the positions open on the US Team, both races were filled with trail studs.

And, Montana (and some with Montana connections) was duly represented.

On the mens' side, former Bozeman resident Tommy Manning was 7th overall in 50:24, just a bit over 3 minutes behind Tim Park's winning time of 47:13. In 13th was Ryan Hafer in 52:36. Ryan grew up in Colorado Springs, ran at Harvard, has family in Billings and would spend time in Billings during the summers. One of his first tail races was an XTerra event at Moonlight Basin.

Thomas Jodoin of Helena was 20th in 56:20. Great race against the big boys.

Trying to return to the team she made in 2006, Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge also took to the high altitude trails. Megan Kimmel of CO took the win in 39:23. Although competitive, Nicole finished outside of the top 2 (which was required for team selection) and her 43:19 placed her 10th among the women.

See results at

All in all, I would say that the Big Sky boys and girls made their mark at this national leval event.

The Muddy Buzzard

Kenworthy Does Ashland

Craig Kenworthy was doing a west coast trip a few weeks ago and figured out how to squeeze in a race. But, not just any about 5,600 feet of climb over 13.3 miles. Second only to Pikes Peak in vertical gain, the Mount Ashland Hill climb is in it's 32nd year of quad-busting, lung-searing, gut-puking fun.

With this area becoming a current hotbed of trail running activitiy, it's also a race that attracts some of the best of the US dirt and mud crowd - people like Erick Skaggs, Hal Koerner, Ian Torrence and Jenn Shelton. And, our very own Mr. Kenworthy.

Craig did the Big Sky proud with his 10th place overall (3rd place master) finish in 2:11:23.

See a good story in the local "rag" at

You can also see full results at

I don't know. Makes a guy a bit nervous when someone from Bozeman is working so hard on big hill climbs like this. And, Bozeman is hosting the MT Cup. Does Craig know something that we don't about what the race course will be like this year? Ominous indeed!!!!

The Muddy Buzzard

Bozeman Classic

The 31st Annual running of the Bozeman Classic was held yesterday (for us old-schoolers it will forever be remembered as the Sweet Pea Run).

The most competitive race of the day was in the men's 5K with John Ricardi (new Idaho State grad) taking his 3rd win in a row with a 15:41.7. John grew up in the area (went to high school at Manhattan Christian (in addition to some time in Gardiner and Bozeman) and has been running the race since he was a little kid (I can always remember the "Runnin' Ricardis" showing up to this and other road races in the area starting back in the 90's).

John's time gave him a 5 second + win over Steve Hickman (15:46) with Kurt Michels another 5 seconds back in 15:51.

The first master's man was Kirk Keller of Three Forks. With some renewed spring in his step since he has turned 50, Kirk ran 17:58.7 and became the first over 50 runner to go sub-18:00 at this event.

On the women's side, Elisabeth Driscoll (Bozeman High and MSU grad) won in 18:01.4 (good for 12th overall). The time gave her a comfortable 61 second win over Heidi Fry-Johnson (19:02). Keeping the masters titles in the over 50 category, Priscilla Flesch-Birtic of Bozeman (58) took the top slot in 22:07.

The 10K wasn't quite as competitive. Dan Jackson of Bozeman took the win over Birch Haraden of Billings as their 34:04 and 34:50 were the only two sub-36:00 times of the day. Lindsey Evans of Bozeman took a 42 second win over Renee Graham (Azusa, CA) - 40:11 to 40:53. Ultra-goddess Nikki Kimball continues to work on a return to race sharpness and gathered a 4th place finish with her 41:26.

Masters crowns went to Scott Snedden of Billings in 37:23 (6th overall) and Kisa Francis (Wilson, WY) in 43:36.

See for full results. And the Chronicle had a nice story about the event at

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, August 03, 2009

Still Another Adventure

So, I wrote the other day about some great runs that I took in the middle of last week. Well, it turns out that they were just precursors to something even bigger and better. On Friday evening I got a call from Anders Brooker inviting me on a long trail run on Sunday morning. Here's my summary of the run.

Epic. Awesome. A couple of words that are used all too frequently too describe events and activities are more than likely to be ordinary, routine; or, even mundane. But, yesterday (Sunday, August 2nd) I was fortunate enough to take part in a truly epic trail run in the Bitterroot Mountains east of Superior. Leaving Plains at 6:00 a.m. with Tim Brooker, we met up with Anders Brooker (Tim’s son and the owner of Runner’s Edge in Missoula) and Casey Jermyn a little after 7:00 at the Fish Creek exit on I-90. (Interestingly enough, all four of us are current of former residents of the small town of Plains.) After about 30 minutes of driving, we arrived at the Clearwater Crossing campground just upstream of the Hole in the Wall Ranch.

At 8:00 sharp, we headed out up the North Fork of Fish Creek. Temperatures were perfect to start the run. High 50’s, no wind, clear skies. We knew that things would heat up later in the day; but, we were going to enjoy the conditions for as long as we could. The first 6 or 7 miles followed the creek and had nice, open trail conditions with a relatively slight grade. We traveled through old-growth larch and cedar groves seeing trees that were super tall and up to 5’ or 6’ in diameter. At that point we hit an old mining or logging camp and shortly thereafter began a several mile and 1,000+ foot climb up and over the MT-ID state line and into Goose Lake at approx. 5,800’ elevation. The climb featured several open meadows that were carpeted in wildflowers.

From Goose Lake, we began an arduous climb of about 1,700’ over the next couple of miles to the Stateline Trail along the ridge-line that separates Montana from Idaho. We then had about 5 or 6 miles that followed the ridge line across multiple peaks. The scenery was filled with wildflower and multiple alpine lakes. The cool breeze along the ridge made the temperatures pretty comfortable, in spite of the mid-day sunshine. The views from some of the peaks were endless, 360 degrees vistas of ranges far into both states. Truly spectacular. Part of the run also traversed the Great Burn of 1910. The bear grass was thick; but, what was super unique were the ghostly, bleached out snags that still remain standing almost 100 years after this devastating fire.

We then had a fairly steep descent into Fish Lake; and, unfortunately, some of the trail was a bit rugged and overgrown. But, after a couple of hours of dry, sunny, ridge-top running, we were happy to finally hit the West Fork of Fish Creek and pick up some water and some shade. Again, we had some terribly overgrown trail areas (the wild flowers and alpine willows were super thick). Our big surprise of the day came after about 24 miles when we suddenly came upon a section where the trail was clouded in dust and the bushes on both sides of the trails were shaking. We were pretty nervous thinking that we had come upon some bears. Rather, it turned out to be some wolves that had been spooked by an outfitter’s pack train that was heading up to Fish Lake. Not every day that you run into wolves on a trail run, even in Montana.

By this point, we’re into the run about 5 hours and fatigue, dehydration and hunger are all starting to kick in big time. We were at the point that coming back through the cedar and larch groves wasn’t nearly as exciting as on the way up. About another hour down the trail we come to a beautiful, wide spot in the creek with a natural swimming hole. We all dipped our water bottles (using a filter of course) and washed off our faces and drenched our hats. Tim and Anders thought a little dip was in order to cool off a bit. On the other hand, Casey and I figured that one of two things would happen if we hit the water: 1) We wouldn’t want to ever come out; or, 2) (and much more likely) our legs would stiffen into wooden stumps and we would be forever getting through the last 3 miles. So, we stayed on the bank and waited for the Brooker boys to finish up.

Then, it was a gentle down slope on a wide open trail for the last 25 minutes back to the car. 6 ½ hours run time (and 8 ½ hours total time) and 30 some miles later and we were back to the beginning. Yes, it was time to stick the forks in us because we were done and had all pretty much had our asses kicked. But, as Anders said, that was as much fun as you can have beating yourself to a pulp for almost 9 hours. Can’t really think of a better way to spend a Sunday. 3 friends, an open trail, scenic vistas and amazing landscapes. Epic. Awesome. These two words certainly were appropriate for the occasion.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Friday, July 31, 2009

Great Running Under The Big Sky

The Buzzard was on the road this week, traveling for work. Traveling can be a bit of a chore; but, from a running perspective, it does mean that you get the chance to hit some locales and routes that aren’t part of your everyday, ordinary routine. And, that was the case for me this week. I hit a great trio of runs ranging from the western side of the state to the southwest/south-central areas.

The trip started on Tuesday. After traveling to Missoula from Plains and taking care of some business items, I had the chance to fit in a nice tempo run in the Lower Rattlesnake and Greenough Park areas. The whole Rattlesnake area is such a great urban forest/wilderness/trail system. It’s always a pleasure to hit this area that is, literally, just steps away from Downtown Missoula.

I then spent the night with my parents in Butte; and, the next morning was up and out the door early for a nice run in the Mile High City. The sun was just cresting the East Ridge, the air was crisp and cool and the air was still. What a great morning for a run in my old stomping grounds. The best part may have been the temps. After several weeks of hot, hot weather in the Plains area, it was great to be out in 40+ degrees. Very refreshing!!!

After spending the day in meetings on Thursday, I had the opportunity to go for a trail run in Bozeman. Running with Michael Sanderson, we headed up to Sypes Canyon on the west side of the Bridger Mountains. It was my first time in this area and I was super impressed. Cool, forest shaded canyons, knife ridges, rocky slopes, sweeping vistas. This run has it all (including some quad busting, lung searing climbs). With opportunities like these just minutes from town, it’s little wonder why so many trail geeks gravitate towards Bozo.

In the end, these 3 runs were opportunities to see the best of Montana running. Urban trails, high altitude and world class mountain trails. About the only thing that I missed out on this run was the unique experience of the Rimrocks in Billings.

It was an invigorating 3 days and reminded me of how fortunate we are to live and run under the Big Sky. Sometimes it’s easy to take our landscape and unique environment for granted. These runs brought me back to the appreciation for what’s available out our front doors. It put some burn in my legs and a smile on my face. Good days indeed.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Griz Remove Courtney's Interim Title

For those who haven't seen it, Courtney Babcock was upgraded from interim XC and distance track coach to permanent/full-time coach. (Likewise, a few weeks ago, Brian Schweyn had the same bestowed upon him at the Director of Track and Field.)

See the story at:

Best of luck to Courtney. She's a super nice lady and has been trying to give back to the community and the sport (leading Run Wild Missoula track workouts as an example). And, word has it that the kids really seem to like her.

Here's to hoping that she proves to have the long term organizational and leadership skills to bring the team (XC especially) to the top. With the setting and training environment, there's no reason that UM can't be a top XC contender on the national scale. Let's hope that this is one of the pieces of the puzzle that helps to get them there.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure that the athletic dept. really cares much beyond football and women's basketball. The other sports seem to be treated more as bastard stepchildren than as Division I athletic programs.

So, among other things we need to support UM (and MSU and MSU-Billings, and Rocky Mountain College, and University of Great Falls, and Carroll College and Flathead Valley Community College) and show the athetic directors at these schools that these programs are important and provide fantastic opportunities to bring outstanding student athletes to their instititutions.

The Muddy Buzzard

Big Sky State Games - Montana Mile

Well, for the first time in many years (since 1991 maybe), I wasn't at the Big Sky State Games. And, for the first time since 2001, I wasn't going to be around to announce the Montana Mile. Just too much travel to and from Billings this spring and early summer (it's an 850 mile round trip from Plains); and, I have to travel there in a bit over a week from now. So, I had to tell Karen Gall (and it pained me to do so) that I couldn't make it over this year.

But, I was at least comforted by the fact that my old friend Jeff Thomas was willing to take up the task. And, with the work he's done at events such as the Spring Meadow Triathlon and the Wulfman CDT 14K (plus with Dave Coppock managing the technical components of the race), I know things would be fine.

Turns out that this wasn't necessarily the year to miss out on the event. With temps dropping to the high 70's, negligible winds and loaded fields, the stage was set for big happenings. How about a couple of new records - is that big enough.

The women were after Nicole Hunt's record of 4:59.8 from 2001. The one and only time to date under 5:00. Well, after years of chasing it, Lois Ricardi (now Lois Ricardi Keller) finally got the sub-5:00 time and the record. Her 4:59.5 took the measure of a solid field. An Idaho State grad, Lois had won the last 2 editions of the race, including a 5:04.8 time from last year.

She was followed by:
Sara Graves - 5:06.2 (Boston Marathon elite runner to Montana Mile - what a range)
Bridgette Hoenke - 5:11.5
Chloe Palakovich - 5:20.4
Alexa Aragon - 5:21.3 (the older of the Aragon sisters)
Dani Aragon - 5:21.7
Nicole Rietz - 5:22.5
Brook Rogers - 5:26.7

Not a bad day with all the women under 5:30.

The men hit the track with a bit of a "rivalry" going on at the front. In 2007, John Ricardi won the race in 4:19 over Patric Casey's 4:27 (having just completed his junior year in HS). In 2008, Casey took the win 4:17 to 4:19. So, 2009 was a bit of a rubber match. With John wrapping up his time as a collegion (Idaho State) and Patrick just getting going in his (sophomore to be at Montana State) it was two young studs in their prime going head to head. And, toss in Air Force Acadamey's senior to be Zach Nordhal (3rd in 2008 in 4:21) and you have the makings of a great run.

But, Patrick decided to make it into a time trial. Going out hard and fast, he was alone by 500 meters. Ricardie and Nordhal were both running at a pace in the 4:15 to 4:18 range, thinking that Patrick would come back. Patrick had other ideas. Looking to set a new PR (much like he did in winning in 2008), he kept the burners on and crushed not only his old PR; but, the old record (Chuck Sloan - 4:12.2 in 2001) and the 4:10 barrier as well with his 4:09.6.

A stunning run. Sub-4:10 in the off-season. Could this be our next Montanan to go sub-4:00 at the mile? Who knows.

Following Patrick were:

John Ricardi - 4:18.6
Zac Nordahl - 4:20.4
Forrest Lewton - 4:22.0
Zach Barrett - 4:22.7
Lynn Reynolds - 4:24.1
Thomas Jodoin - 4:24.5
Mike Fisher - 4:25.0
Dan Jackson - 4:26.0
Matt Winter - 4:27.1
Mike Asay - 4:34.8
Chase Robinson - 4:45.3

Wow, big night, big fun. Sorry to have missed it.

To see a video clip of the finishes, check out:

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, July 13, 2009

Missoula Marathon - WOW!!!!!!

Man, what a day at the Missoula Marathon. Actually, what a weekend.

Let's start with Saturday. The race expo/number pick up was at the Pavillion in Caras Park right below the Higgins Avenue Bridge. Add that to 3 Farmers Markets in Downtown Billings and beautiful weather, there was a feeling of electricity around the town.

Late that afternoon (5:00 p.m.) there was a fun run along the river trails that was run as a benefit for Alzheimers and in memory of Anne Hayes. Anne was the wife of Bob Hayes, a long time runner from Evaro, and passed away a couple of years ago. I ran like crap; but, it was nice to be able to do a run that was a benefit that was connected to one of our own.

Then, that evening, I had the pleasure of marking the course with Anders Brooker, his uncle Jay, and Kevin Twidwell. The course is spectacular. Only a few "dead" zones - it's almost all scenic and runs through some beautiful areas in and around Missoula. And, the area along the river to the west of town is spectacular. There is one climb around mid-way; but, it's not too severe and from there, it's basically all downhill or flat. And, the half-marathon has the potential to be a super fast/barn-burner type of course. It was just a fun way to spend an evening - hang out with 3 other runners, set up a race course and swap stories. Good times indeed.

An hour and a half of sleep (which was better than Anders who got no sleep) and then it was time to head out to Frenchtown and set up the start line and get ready to welcome the walkers and runners.

Initially, there was a bit of concern about the temperature. The clouds had rolled in during the evening and held the temps in a bit. When I left downtown at 3:30 a.m., it was 70 degrees. It was cooler out at Frenchtown at the start (64 degrees); but, still a tad warmer than we were hoping for. At about 4:30 or 5:00, the clouds cleared and the temp started to come down. By race time it had dropped to 50. With a very light tailwind, conditions were ripe for fast running.

With a nod to perfect timing, the clouds came back in about 8:00 and helped to keep the temps down. By the time the course closed at 12:30, the temps were still only in the low-'70's. What a break. (Sunday morning saw Thunderstorms, gusty winds and cold rain; and, this weeked woudl have seen the temps headed towards triple digits). Sometimes the weather gods choose to smile upon your event.

And, now, onto the running. The half and full marathons both start at 6:00 a.m. So, that means that the first batch of finishers come only from the half. Although this had maybe been the more competitive race in 2008, that wasn't going to be the case this year. That's not to say that it wasn't a good race. But, for reasons that you'll see in a moment, the half was definately the step-sister event this year.

On the men's side, Spencer Carter (living in Missoula for the summer) won in 1:14:00, 50 seconds ahead of Nate Canton in 1:14:50. The top 5 were rounded out by Collin Fehr (1:16:05), Peter Miller (first master) in 1:16:19 and Eric Larson in 1:16:24. (I do have to give a shout out to Jacob Naegeli of Trout Creek for his 6th place in 1:16:52 - gotta support the local boys :-) ) All in all there were 8 guys under 6:00 pace and 9 under 1:20. Not as fast on the front end (2008 saw Casey Jermy run 69:52); but, a deeper race. And pretty damn competitive for places 3 - 6.

For the women, Meg Lerch stepped up in distance beyond her 5K specialty. Running 1:25:23, Meg got a 35 second win over Rye Palen. Rye has had a solid year on the roads in 2009 and this was a really strong performance for her. They were followed by Suzanne Huse in 1:28:42, Sarah McGlaughlin in 1:28:54 (no word on if she sang "Angel" throughout the run) and Michele Bazzanella in 1:28:55. 1st master was Mary Thane (more of a mid-distance track specialist) in 1:29:05 (6th overall). Again, not as fast as last year; but, much deeper with 9 women at sub-7:00 pace, 6 @ sub-1:30 and two right at 6:30 pace.

But then, a week after Independence Day, the fireworks started. At the finish line, we had been getting reports off and on at odd markers (i.e. X hours and XX minutes at 10.2 mile, X:XX at mile 19.7). We had to do some conversions; but, it seemed like the race was right on 2:30 pace. And, we had reports of at least one person way out front; but, we couldn't get any confirmations on who was in the lead. But, after a bit of waiting, here came the lead bikes over the Higgins Avenue bridge with Kiefer Hahn of Missoula in tow. Hittin the line in 2:33:17, Kiefer broke his own race record (set in 2007) of 2:43:30 by over 10 minutes!!!! That was exciting enough. I can't remember the last time for certain that we had a sub-2:40 marathon in Montana. I ran 2:37 in 1994 to win Governor's Cup; and, Scott Creel may have been in the 2:30's at Lewis and Clark some years ago; but, I think that's been in. So, to be so near 2:30 in Montana was super exciting.

But, the thrills weren't done yet. Kiefer barely had time to catch his breath when here comes Jimmy Grant onto the bridge. Like Kiefer, Jimmy was hoping for a sub-2:30 today. And, like Kiefer, close but no cigar. Still, here we have another guy in at sub-2:40. Not only that, Jimmy's 2:35:10 was another sub-6:00 run for the day and two guys under the old record.

But, then here comes Leif Seed in 2:43:11 (also under the old record), then Andrew Drobek in 2:45:50, then Chuck Engle in 2:49:41, the JR Roberts in 2:52:28 and Jesse Carnes in 2:53:52. Holy Crap, that's already 7 guys under 3:00 - as many as the first two years combined (4 in 2007, 3 in 2008). But, wait the sub-3:00 club is still open. 8, 9 and 10 are Jason Ridgeway in 2:55:57, Brad Ferris in 2:56:28 and John Herring (Masters Champion) in 2:56:53. So, at this point we have 10 under 3:00 and the madness isn't over quite yet.

7 more people decided that they needed to go under 3:00 as well. That's right kiddies, 17 people doing a sub-3:00 marathon in Montana. Unbelievable. Maybe the Governor's Cup in the mid-'80's had that kind of depth. But, it's clearly been a long, long time since we've had this kind of marathoning in the Big Sky State.

Of those 17, 5 were masters. With Herring leading the charge of the old farts, the group also included places 13-16 overall with Steve Noone (50), Dean Lipp, Kevin Plumage (who is a very recent 40) and Brian Fruit all breaking the 180 minute barrier.

And then, in a case of anything you can do I can do better, the women decided to kick up the exictment level just a notch. Annie Thiessen of Tacoma did a smack down of Jamie Schuster's 2008 course record (3:15:08) and of the 3:00 barrier with her 2:57:44. And, to top it off, Victoria Russel of Spokane decided that the women's side also needed multiple sub-3:00 runners - so, she kicked it across the line to hit 2:59:57. Madness I tell you, complete and utter madness.(By this point, I'm up on the announcers scaffolding about ready to wet myself with excitement. Glen Moyer (my announcing partner) must have thought I had lost my mind.)

The top women were rounded out by Trisha Miller in 3:05:24 (3 under the old record), Darr Tucknott in 3:17:36 and Julie Gilchrist (Masters Champ) in 3:17:37. To top of the day, Tami Harmon and Mary Hanna both decided to get under 3:20. Again, an unbelievable field - fast and deep. 3 under the course record, 2 under 3:00 and 7 under 3:20 ( with only 1 under 3:20 in the first two years).

For me, it was kind of like Christmas in July. It was all that one could ask for in a running and racing event. An energy filled pre-race expo, a well managed event (put on by runners for runners), a fantastic finish line (the whole Higgins Avenue bridge is closed off to allow the runners to cruise into downtown Missoula unimpeded), large enthusiatic crowds, fast and deep fields. I've been at this sport for 30 years now. I've run and raced all over the United States; and, I have to say this event was as exciting as almost anything I've been involved with over the years. On a smaller scale it has the feeling of a Boston or Twin Cities. Really, race weekend was that electric. It was stupendilicous!!!!!!!

Man - I'm getting jacked up all over again just thinking aobut it!%!!%!%!%!%!%!%

For full results and more aobout the Missoula Marathon - go to

For those of you thinking about 2010 - this year saw the event climb from about 1,500 to almost 2,400 runners. I would encourage you to put this on your calendar for next year and to Run Wild in 2010.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Missoula Marathon

Sunday is the 3rd Annual Missoula Marathon. In it's short life it has become the Marathon in Montana that may create the most buzz. This will be my first time at the event (I'll be doing finish line announcing); and, I'm really curious to see how it comes off. They have over 2,000 runners in the marathon (600+), half (over 1,000) and relay.

There is a full day expo today, Runners Edge has a 6-month training program with over 100 participants, and the close down the Higgins Street bridge as part of the finish area. Seems like the community has really embraced the event.

Will be interesting to see if the Montana Marathon in Billings can match the level of excitement no that it has been merged with the Governor's Cup. No reason why we can't have 2 high quality, high excitement events here in the Big Sky.

Back to the MM - there has been some speculation that we could see the first sub-2:30 marathon in Montana in many years (man, it may be since the late '80's since anyone has gone that fast in Montana). Jimmy Grant is entered and Keifer Hahn has been suggesting that he was going to toe the line. And, I've heard 2:30 thrown out there by both of them. And, who knows who else may be ready to uncork a quick one.

The two biggest problems are time of start (6:00 a.m. is pretty early to be ready to run super fast) and possible heat. Even with the early start, the sun should be up and starting to warm things up pretty quickly.

Not sure about the half marathon. Casey Jermyn had been planning to run; but it now appears as though he is passing. Should be a wide open race.

Will let you know details first of the week on how it turned out.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Mountain To Meadow Pix

From Ray Hunt, here are a couple of pix of the Mountain to Meadows long race winners.

She had said that it was a beautiful day with great scenery; but, Nicole is looking like she is having just a little bit too much fun.

Jimmy Grant doesn't look like he is having nearly as much fun as Nicole. He must not have stopped to smell the roses

Mellow Johnny tours the wine country

Today is the start of the Tour De France and Lance Armstrong makes his heralded return.

Although I can't see him winning, I'm excited to see how he does.

(I'm also excited to see how my fellow Butte native Levi Leipheimer does as part of Lance's Team Astansa)

Lance has publicly stated that his return is primarily to raise awarness of his Livestrong Foundation and the need to continue the fight against cancer - so with that thought in mind, take a minute to check out the Livestrong site and do your part to help those fighting this terrible disease

The Muddy Buzzard

Beartooth Run

Finally, the results from the Beartooth run were posted.

The short race saw some competition to keep the titles in state. On the women's side Lisa Minnehan (MSU-Billings track competitor) won the 4.2 mile climb in 35:22, beating Katie Pulizzano of Allentown, PA (37:33).

However, on the men's side, Allentown got the best of the Big Sky as Michael Lehtonen ran 27:54 to beat Billings Master's runner Stephen Kosnar (30:43).

But the real racing of the day came in the 8.4 mile climb up the switchbacks. This race starts at about 7,000' and climbs over 2,000 to top out at over 9,000' in elevation. It's a real bear (pun intended) or a run. I can remember actually having my ears pop during the climb and even getting a bit of an altitued headache one year.

First the women - Kristina Trygstad-Saari of Bozeman had a solid run one week after her 2nd place performance at the Wulfman as she took the win in 64:22. That gave her a 1:14 win over Boston elite field athlete Sarah Graves of Ballantine (Billings area) (65:36). The top 3 were rounded out by Bridgette Hoenke in 69:01. Bridgette is a Billings native who is a UM grad and spent her track years as an 800-meter specialist. A bit of a long race for her.

Of note, in 6th place was Renee Coppock. A number of years ago, Renee was hit by a car during a training run in Billings and suffered some servere knee and leg damage. A former 37:00 10K runner, Renee' turned to the bike as her primary fitness tool. Over the last couple of years she has worked her way back to being able to run and race a bit; and, has become a bit of a stud at the duathlon.

The men waged an exciting battle. Only 18 seconds separated the top 3 athletes in what may be the closest men's finish in many, many years. Billings Senior and Saint Johns (Minnesota) alum Zach Hunter is home for the summer and took the win in a solid 58:14. That gave him only 10 seconds over Martin Stensing of Powell, WY (58:24) who was just 8 seconds ahead of Bozeman's Dewey Peacock (58:32). It must have been a quad burner over the last mile as the three of them pushed up the final grade to the finish. And, one of the things about the Beartooth is that the finish is blind until the last 200 meters or so. So, you really need to push and can't sit and kick once you see the finish.

Also under the hour mark was Leif Zimmerman (Bozeman and an Olympic XC skier who got his start at the Brider Nordic Foundation) in 59:35.

1st Master was Craig Kenworthy (5th overall) in 62:59, with Mark Slater in 65:36 (7th overall).

Right behind Slater was the Buzzard's old pal Sam Hartpence (now of Lander, WY) who made it up the hill in 67:56

One of the newer twists of this event is the addition of a hill climb/time trial for bikers held the day after the running race (called the Beartooth Burn). Some of the top runners who also did the Burn include Martin Stensing (2nd in run, 1st in bike), Sarah Graves (2nd in run, 2nd in Bike) and Renee' Coppock (6th in run, 3rd in bike).

Also on the bike was a member of the Church of the Blue Dome's Sunday Morning Run Club Jarred Rensvold. Jarred has taken to the bike as his running has been curtailed by compartment sydrome in his calves. He was 4th on the bike and swears he saw Eddy Mercx riding alongside him as they passed 9,000'.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Sloan Ironman Follow Up

Appears as though the reported time for Chuck Sloan at the Idaho Ironman raised a couple of eyebrows - and, hey, if he did a 5:34:24 Ironman I can see why!!!!!

Chuck's acutal time was 9:34:24, with the following splits:

Swim = 1:03:35
T1 = 3:39
Bike = 5:27:02
T2 = 2:14
Run = 2:57:56

Not bad for a steepler - a sub 3:00 marathon (5th fastest run of the day) after a pretty serious race warmup!!!

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Running Hits the Main LIne News In Montana

Quite a few main line news stories about running and runners in Montana in the last few days.

First up was a short blurb in the Billings Gazette about Chuck Sloan. Chuck is a Billings Senior grad and former NCAA All American at Oklahoma State (Chuck was steeplechase specialist during his days as a Cowboy). He's also the record holder at the Montana Mile at 4:12 +.

Well, he's now moved on to triathlons and has qualified for the Iron Man in Hawaii:

Gazette News Services Posted: Sunday, June 28, 2009 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho - Chuck Sloan, a 1995 graduate of Billings Senior, has qualified for the Ironman World Championships scheduled for October in Hawaii. Sloan qualified by placing sixth overall age bracket (30-34) at the Ford Coeur d'Alene Ironman competition. The Idaho event attracted 2,153 competitors. Sloan finished 23rd overall. Sloan finished the swim, cycling and running competion in 5 hours, 34 minutes and 24 seconds. At Coeur d'Alene, competitors swam 2.4 miles, biked 112 miles and finished with a 26.2-mile run. Sloan, a former standout runner at Oklahoma State University, competes for TriMettle Racing in Tulsa, Okla.


Bozeman Masters runner Tim Dumas had a good story in Tuesday's Bozeman Daily Chronicle about ultra-studdette Nikki Kimball and her tough day at the Western States 100-mile race. It's a great read. The link can be found at:


Finally, there was another fantastic story about the Helena Running Club (including quotes from rick Judge and Jeff Thomas) and their Tuesday lunch time track workouts. If anyone out there wonders why they do so well at Montana Cup - the answer is in the regular, consistent workouts with all everyone helping one another reach the next level of performance. See the story at:

See you on the roads, tracks and trails

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Race Summaries - Catching Up - Part 3

The Kickin Assphault Runs took place in Great Falls on the 27th. The results are not very detailed; but, here is what I could decipher.

In the 1/2 Marathon, Joe Thronburg took the overall win in 1:23:42. Alison Fitzsimmons took the women's crown in 1:34:19.

On the 10K side, Jacquie Maillet took the overall win in 46:15. Jacquie has been fighting some injury issues in the last 12 to 18 months; so, it's good to see her back on the roads. 2nd overall and 1st male was Mark Barry in 46:23.

The trail circuit continued with the Lolo Pass Mountain To Meadow event (also on the 27th). The 5K event was won by Chris Jessop in 17:34 for a 3:00 + win. The women's title went to Katie Knotek in 22:15.

The longer race (results list it as a 14-mile) saw two of the better men and women runners in the state. One week after a strong run at the Wulfman CDT 14K, Nicole Hunt took the win in 1:36:22 finishing 5:41 ahead of 2nd place. Jimmy Grant continues to prep for the Missoula Marathon with a 1:20:34 performance. Dominating much like Nicole on the women's side, Jimmy's win differential was 5:43.

I'll post the Beartooth Run winner's as soon as they post some information on their website.

The Muddy Buzzard.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Race Summaries - Catching Up - Part 2

Still more racing from the weekend of the 13th (Big Weekend for Montana racing). Missoula hosted the Pengelley Double Dip, a 13-mile trail race up and around Mount Sentinel. Andrew Drobek scored a comfortable win in 1:46.26 for a 3 1/2 minute win. The top 6 were rounded out by Aaron Derry (1:49:53), Mike Foote (1:52:41), Hunter Nelson (1:56:40), Primo Latino (alias of ?????)(1:58:12) and Zack Strong (1:59:08).

The women's side also saw a comfortable winner as Kelly Peterson ran 2:01:24 to beat Jenny Newton by almost 4 minutes (2:05:11). Trisha Miller, who has ran strong on the roads this year ran 2:07.07.

The shorter single dip (5 miles +-) was won by Scott Marron in 43:29. Rye Palen was 2nd overall and first woman in 45:08.

A rare mid-week race had the ZPT Summer Stolstice Road Mile in Bozeman. Top Dog was Chris Baldus in 4:52.9. Adam Rick joined Baldus in the sub-5 category with a 4:57.3. They were followed by Matt Edwards in 5:00.1, Dewey Peacock in 5:02.1 and Kal Tucker in 5:17.1. 1st Master and 9th overall was Tim Dumas in 5:34.4.

The women's race was won by Holly Walker. Her 10th place overall time of 5:37.9 was a new age-group record.

Moving on to the weekend of the 20th. The Wulfman CDT 14K is detailed in it's own post elsewhere.

Also that weekend was the Herron Hustle 5.5 Mile trail race in Kalispell. Flathead High Schooler Leif Castron took the win in 35:45, for a 1:01 cushion over 2nd place. The women's race was close as Jenny Schon held off Tara Trotter, 49:41 to 49:42.

June 27th was another big weekend on the state racing circuit. But, so far the only race posting results has been the Whitefish Lake Run. The races men's races were quite competitive in both the 5K and the 10K events.

In the 5K, Seth Grossman won in 15:55, ahead of fellow Flathead HS alum Caleb Ambrose (16:12). The top 5 were rounded out by Zack Perrin (Lakeside - 14 years old) in 16:27, Doug Neil of Bozeman in 17:33 and Steve Mortley (Big Fork) (First Master) in 17:38.

The women's race was won by perennial Flathead top racer Vonda Garcia in 19:46.

The 5K was taken by Carl Nystuen in 32:27, with Northern Arizona alum Seth Watkins in 32:56. Scott Gaiser, 47, was 3rd overall and 1st master in 35:27.7, just holding off high school ace Leif Castren in 35:27.9. Ted Burnham wa 5th overall in 35:46.

Lonnie Hanson, Whitefish HS XC standout was first women in 41:31.

More on this past weekends races as soon as the sites post some results.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Race Summaries - Catching Up - Part 1

A little behind in summarizing some of the recent race results; so, thought I better get caught up.

First up - Heart and Sole Races in Billings, June 13th.

Men's 5K - Alan King continues his superb year with an easy win in 16:10, winning by 1:39. 16:10 solo race on a course that is notoriously a bit slow.

The women's 5K was a barn burner. Amber Watson, who runs for Alan on the Rocky Mountain College XC and distance track teams took the win in 19:52. She was followed by super master Karen Sanford Gall (49) in 20:04; and, it stayed close from thre - MacKenzie O'Dore (16 - from Joliet) was 3rd in 20:09, then Lisa Minnehan (an athlete of Dave Coppock's from MSU-Billings) in 20:12 and triathlete Jennifer Drinkwalter in 20:33. So, the top 5 women within 40 seconds of each other. Not something that you see on the roads in Montana very often.

In the 10K, Kurt Klevin was visiting from Oklahoma City and won in 35:15. On the women's side, Sarah Graves continues a solid year with a 38:28.

Jim Bridger Trail Run - also on 6/13/09 - Bozeman, 10 miles.

Dewey Peacock was right at home on the trails in his backyard and got a comfortable win in 1:18:30. Master Mike Telling was 2nd overall in 1:24:40, finishing a mere 10 seconds ahead of Justin Prigge. The women's race was super close with Lindsey Diefenderfer taking a 1 second win over Minde Erickson - 1:39:00 to 1:39:01.

More later

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Thomas Jodoin - Wulfman Post Race

As with Nicole Hunt, I had the opportunity to get some comments from Thomas Jodoin after his Wulfman CDT 14K victory last weekend. Thomas gives some great insight into how the race unfolded and how he was able to get his long legs to turn over so quick on the trails.

Muddy Buzzard (MB): So, as the defending champion, how did it feel to be only seeded 3rd for this year's event? And, on a related note, do you think starting 3rd was an advantage or a disadvantage?

Thomas Jodoin (TJ): In the end, it was just exciting to see so many of the top runners from the state gathering in one place to race head to head; and, the inner kicker in me really enjoyes starting from behind and being the hunter. I really saw the 3rd seedd as an advantage. If you caught the guys ahead of you, it's then on their back to make a move to get the time back.

MB: How far up the trail were you when you made up the stagger on the second seed (Reynolds) and the first seed (Winter), respectively?

TJ: After about the first 2 minutes I could tell up made up a few seconds on Lynn. I told myself to keep it steady as there was no need to really push before the real climbing. At about 2k Lynn and I caught up to Matt and ran single file over the ups and downs before the big climb starting at the Beaver Ponds trail junction.

My plan was to really push the switchbacks after the Beaver Ponds trail. Lynn and I both passed Matt as the climbing started. After that I ran behind Lynn all the way up to the top. I was able to catch a glimpse of Keifer 2 switch backs down and he was really flying uphill. When you are running behind someone that is over 2 minutes faster than you over 8k (and Keifer hunting you down) and its only 5k into the race you get timid and wonder if you are in over your head. I was really in a bind because I am not a great downhill runner so I should have been trying to get as much gap as I could but didnt want to blow myself up (14k is the 3rd longest race I've ever done). At that point I was very happy to have maintained contact with someone of Lynn's caliber.

Lynn and I ran together on the blazing downhill. In fact a couple time he put a few second gap on me through the tight switchbacks. However I was able to get back in contact on any flat or uphill portion of trail. At about 7k I started to think about making a move and finally went by on the flat right before 8k.

MB: How much incentive did you feel to chase after the $100 winner's bonus for the sub-4 min/km pace and how did you balance that pursuit with your racing tactics among such a talented field of runners?

TJ: I figured the winner would be under 56 so it was just a matter of trying to stay with the leaders. I didn't start thinking of sub 56 until 2k to go when I saw that I was at roughly 50:00. I thought it would be pretty tough to run 3 min kilometers at that point but I kept thinking that someone would be flying downhill and catch me at any moment. So I tried to keep pushing. Someday I might be able to shake the sit and kick mentality!

MB: Will you be back again next year to go for the "three-peat," and if so, what are your ideas about eclipsing your standing course record for the N-S course?

TB: Its hard to predict for next year. I keep telling myself I want to do one last track season and improve some of my times from college. Its a great course with great people involved I cant imagine I'd really be able to resist. Can't predict any specific result but I think the 58:51 can be taken down easily. I'd imagine this race will start to attract some regional and national caliber trail running specialists and that would be great for some fast times.

MB: Do you prefer the Homestake to Pipestone route or the Pipestone - Homestake direction?

TJ: Leaning towards the Homestake to Pipestone route purely for the view of the Tobacco Roots, Highlands, and Pintlers.

MB: You height doesn't fit the typical build of a top end trail racer. What's your secret to running so well on the trails in spite of the long legs?

TJ: Anyone can be a trail runner provided you have the endurance to handle the distance. Plyometrics and agility drills to develop coordination and foot strength. Training day in and day out on the Helena South Hills trails doesn't hurt. I also just tell myself that Peter Dan Sullivan is chasing me downhill. Trust me its horrifying how he just barrels down with no concern of disaster.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nicole Hunt Wulfman Post Race

I had the chance to catch up with Nicole Hunt after her dominating win at the Wulfman CDT 14K Trail Race last weekend (6/20/09) in Butte.

Muddy Buzzard (MB): So, how did you feel about your performance?

Nicole (NH): I was really quite happy with the race. I had time trialed the course over the Memorial Day weekend (one of the advantages of the course being in your (almost) "backyard"). I ran 68:40 - so to run 4:30 faster in the race (finish time of 64:10) was a bit of a suprise. The performance really gives me a confidence boost as I get ready to compete for a spot on the US Mountain Running Team.

MB: Tell us some more about the Mountain Running Team.

NH: In 2006 I was 2nd overall and first American at the Mt. Washington race in New Hampshire. As a result of that performance I was selected for the US Team that competed in the Work Championhsips in Bursa, Turkey. In that race I was 9th overall and 1st American, Leading the US to the team championships. It was all such a great experience that I want to make another attempt at making the US team. The qualifying race will be July 26th in Colorado Springs.

MB: What were your primary goals for the race today?

NH: I wanted to run faster than the race's bonus time of 66:00 and to beat certain local male runners (she so politely refused to name the names of us unfortunate souls who were in her crosshairs :-) )

MB: Which was a bigger incentive for you - the sub-66:00 time or chasing the guys who started ahead of you? And, how many guys did you catch on the course?

NH: The bigger incentive was the time goal. But, I was motivated by running after the guys ahead of me on the trail. I think I got 6 to 8 men on the trail.

MB: What kind of advantage was it to be able to train on the trail prior to the event?

NH: The biggest advantage was knowing how long the initial climb should take. I knew that once I got to the top of the climb, I could then settle into my race and push for time.

MB: It's been about a year since Eon's birth. How close are you to your pre-maternity fitness?

NH: Well, I'm happy with my racing and I'm getting closer all the time; but, I still feel like I'm 15-20 seconds per mile slower than 2006. [MB editorial not - guys, when she really gets fit, you better watch out!!!!]

Thanks to Nicole for taking the time out to answer our questions today.

See you on the roads, tracks and trials -

The Muddy Buzzard

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

MT Athlete Catch Up

Catching up on a few Montana and ex-Montana athletes.

Kelly Fulton ran the Dick Beardsley Half-Marathon at Grandma's last weekend. On a warm day (which seems to have become a bit of the norm in Duluth the last few years), Kelly ran 1:18:48 for 49th overall. Kelly's working this summer at an outdoor camp in Michigan running their canoe shop. Wife Liz is the camp cook.

Kalispell H.S. standout David Vidal has taken to coaching at his college alma mater Stanford. He had a solid career on The Farm; but, given the talent of some of his team mates, his performaces were often overhadowed by national champion types. None the less, he has stuck with the sport and is now being credited as the coaching guide behind some of Stanford's current starts such as Lauren Centrowitz and Chris Derrick.

For the old-timers, you may remember Grizzly great Dave Gordon. In the late '70's and very early '80's, he and Tom Raunig were perhaps the two best UM runners ever. Dave then went on to a 4th place finish at the 1984 Olympic Trials marathon as an Athletics West athlete. Due to a torn ACL, Dave has given up running as his primary sport and has turned to cycling (ala Renee' Coppock). See the attached link to a good story on Dave's current sport passion.

The Muddy Buzzard

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wulfman Pix

Jeff Thomas Announcing @ Finish

The King Family

Sunshine - We Don't Need No Stinkin' Sunshine

The Awards Area (left) - The Nicole and her two kids (right)

The Top Women (below)

Wulman CDT 14K Awards

For the math geeks among us - The Prime Men
(1st, 3rd and 5th)

The Wulfman's Fur Gets Wet

The only thing hot about yesterdays Wulfman's CDT 14K in Butte was the racing. The day started out cool and misty............................and things deteriorated from there. When I got to the bus pick up point at Homestake Pass off I-90, the car thermometer read 49 degrees. Then, the steady, drizzling rain got started in earnest and the temp began to drop. On the up side, once it hit 45 degrees or so it pretty much held steady and we didn't see any snow. (Hey, don't laugh - snow on the first day of summer isn't such a rare thing in Butte or the surrounding mountains!!!) The race's namesake (I think that John "The Wulfman" Wulf would have loved the conditions - cause all of us that grew up running in Butte know that weather like this makes you "Strong Like Bull") (BTW - the ghost of Wulfman was present on the course as evidenced by the empty Miller Lite can sitting trail side at about 3K - he must have been out keeping an eye on his people :-)

The organizers (The Butte Piss and Moan Runners) did a great job of pulling off the race. And, when you consider the conditions, their efforts were monumental. Some of the people that I saw working hard on race day included Ray and Nicole Hunt (man, they looked tired at the end of the day), Ray Matteson, Don Sundberg, Jim Ryan, Bruce Robinson and Eddie Walker. And, my old friend Jeff Thomas did a great job getting running out of the gate and doing the announcing at the awards. I know that there had to be others; but, wanted to give you an idea of how much the local running community came together to put on a great event for the rest of us.

And, I would be remiss if I didn't thank the Homestake Lodge for opening up their facilities to a bunch of cold, wet running freaks. They have a great facility located in a wonderful setting. Make sure you think of them the next time you're looking for a place to XC ski or snowshoe in southwest Montana (find out more about them at And, as several of us discussed, it would be an outstanding location for a summer XC or running camp.

And now, on to the racing. The course was run (as it will be in all odd number years) from Pipestone Pass to Homestake pass along 14 Kilometers (8.70 miles) of the Continental Divide Trail. The first several kilometers are primarily uphill; but, then you get into some serious downhill sections in the middle part of the course. With the race being along the top of the Continental Divide, elevation is an issue (6,300' +-) and the thin air made it's presence felt on the more serious inclines.

The wet weather made the course conditions a bit treacherous in spots. Even the decomposed granite of the Boulder Batholith (the geology geeks among us will know what I'm talking about) couldn't quite keep up with the persistent rain. And, in some of the low spots, the mud was a bit slimy. And, the cool (but not quite cold temps) made it a challenge to choose the right clothing. (The Buzzard himself was wishing that he had gone to heavier gloves and a long sleeve jersey.) And, it was interesting to see the footwear choices. There were trail specific racing shoes, trail trainers, XC spikes, road flats and road trainers. You name it, somebody was probably wearing it. All thing being equal - if I had a good pair of trail racing shoes, that's what I would have worn on this course.

Due to the narrow trail conditions, it's necessary that this race be held in a staged, time trial type of format. With runners going out every 10 seconds starting at 9:00, it's not quite as clear cut as to who is actually running the fastest. The only thing for certain is that you're always trying to stay ahead of the folks who started behind you and trying to catch the runners who started ahead of you. (And, an interesting note on the tight switchbacks. Several times I found myself thinking that "that runner's not too far ahead, there they are right below/above me. But, by the time that you hit the corner and turn the opposite direction, it turns out that they have more distance on you than you thought.)

There were very few places on the course where you could really keep and maintain a good rhythm. All the terrain changes were one thing; but, the tight corners and switchbacks were crazy. At times, it felt like kamikaze running as you tried to maintain some semblance of speed and momentum as you cranked the turns. But, it was a quintessential trail race. And, when you have people who know the sport putting on a top quality race on a fantastic venue, the runners will show.

On the overall side, they almost met their 240 runner quota - I believe that they had 235 register and there were 217 actual finishers. To only have 18 runners not show up on a day like this is a testament to the depths of our obsession of outdoing the postal service. 92% of the runners duly made their rounds today.

On the front end racing side, it was sort of like a mini Montana Cup. The open men's and women's races had some of the top competitors in the sport as did the master's men.

Let's start with the open men. Matt Winter, Lynn Reynolds, Thomas Jodoin, Alan King, Keifer Hahn, Quint Gidley, Austin Chapin, Brian Weick, Mike Asay and Jeremy Franks. Those were the top 10 guys line up in the starting chute. If we could have added a few more guys like Jimmy Grant, Dewey Peacock and the Neil and Wirth brothers, we would have pretty much filled out the who's who of 2009 Montana racing. The studs took it out hard. They were in search of the $100 prize for a sub 56:00 time (4:00 per K). Matt Winter had the pole position; but, he indicated that after the first 8 or 9K his legs were empty and he just didn't have it in him to close out the race. Alan King has had a solid year; but, he's a roadie and hasn't done much trail racing. And, in spite of his prowess over the steeple barriers, Lynn Reynold's youth had to give way to the experience of the post-collegians.

In the end, it came down to a battle between Jodoin (who has been on fire this year) and Hahn. And, Thomas was pretty much able to keep the gap consistent between he and Keifer (TJ was out 20 seconds ahead of KH) and got the win - 56:29 t0 56:24. Next up were King (57:37), Reynolds (58:22) and Winter (58:38). [Quint Gidley joined them in the sub-60:00 club wit his 59:47 6th place finish.]

For the women, Nicole Hunt was on a Mission. Run fast and get the sub-66:00 bonus of $100. She went out hard and fast and wasn't to be denied. She had recently time trialed the course and new exactly how long it was going to take to get up and over the high point of the course. And, when she hit her time goal, she knew that she could crank it on the 2nd half and get the $$'s. Here 64:10 got her the bonus, an 11th place overall finish and a 3:00 + win over Kristina Trygstad-Saari (67:25). They were followed in by Michelle Bazanella (69:27), Marta Fisher (75:05) and Debbie Gibson (and first master woman) in 75:27.

The master's men's field was also loaded. New master Mike Telling, ageless Kirk Keller, John Herring, Ray Hunt, Marvin Speece, Mark Slater, Mike Roberts, Tim Dumas and Tony Banovich. In the end, there were really 2 races. Mike running against the open guys and then there was the rest of us. (Now, we do have to give some leeway to Ray who was really busy with the race coordination and Marv who had to take his wife to the ED for kidney stones.) Telling was well clear of the next master ( + 3:22) as he finished 7th overall in 60:36.

Then, things tightened up a bit. Kirk Keller (at 50) was 9th overall and 2nd Master at 63:58 and was followed by Herring (64:43), Speece (65:51), Hunt (67:17), Banovich (67:45), Slater (69:26) and Roberts (70:04). Not a bad showing for the old guys.

My only regrets for the day are that it's such a fantastic course and you can't really appreciate the setting or some of Ray's course quirks when you're in racing mode. But, I did notice the aforementioned Miller Lite can/ghost of Wulman past marker at 3K, Diamond Jim said howdy from the warming hut just around 12K and Suzie Kaluza in a Tech cheer leading outfit with a mile to go was Classic. And, although I missed it, Alan King said he received a scare from the trail monster.

All in all, it was a great day to be a runner. You won't get any pissing and moaning from this old buzzard.

See you on the roads, tracks and trails.

The Muddy Buzzard

Monday, June 15, 2009

Plains Day Follow Up

Just wanted to post the full results of the Plains Day 5K from June 6th.

June 6, 2009
Temp = 55ยบ, Overcast, Mild Breeze
Loop Course, Total Climb = 225', Total Descent = 225', Net Elevation Difference = 0'

Place Name City Sex Age Time

1 Dennis Brands Missoula M 22 17:09
2 Jacob Naegeli Trout Creek M 19 18:10
3 Tony Banovich Plains M 46 19:04
4 Carter Montgomery Plains M 15 19:32
5 Austin Pullan Thompson Falls M 14 20:18
6 Ryan Archibald Bigfork M 27 22:06
7 Lucas Grewell Thompson Falls M 13 22:47
8 Morgan Allgood "Colorado Springs, CO" M 14 22:57
9 Logan Naegeli Trout Creek M 13 26:10
10 Michelle Yoshinaga Clinton F 36 26:13
11 Shauna West Plains F 23 27:24
12 Randy West Plains M 33 27:25
13 Molly Tingley Plains F 30 31:15
14 Rhonda LeClair Plains F 53 32:10
15 Shailyne Ames Plains F 12 32:10
16 Sarah Naegeli Trout Creek F 45 32:59
17 Zoe Banovich Plains F 16 33:17
18 Rory Grant Plains M 10 33:25
19 Erin McCarthy Plains F 46 33:27
20 Meghan McCarthy-Grant Plains F 37 33:55
21 Tammy Smith Somers F 42 35:51
22 Cole McCrea Plains M 8 37:16
23 Jim LeClair Plains M 49 37:17
24 Andrew Portzen Plains M 15 44:06
25 Austin Bladwin "Urbana, IL" M 12 44:09
26 Shephanie Keeney Kalispell F 37 51:38
27 Robert Ames Plains M 9 52:53
28 Teresa Ames Plains F 10 57:38
29 Donna Weyers Plains F 68 60:02

USATF Officials Certification Clinic

For those of you who can make it to Missoula this week and who are interested in USATF Officials Certification.

USATF Officials Certification Clinic

When: Thursday, June 18th, 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
Where: Sentinel High School, Missoula
Room: 227 (enter in front)
Cost: $15 plus USATF Membership fee
(if not already a member)

The Details:
Dennis Grue from Bozeman will be conducting the clinic to train Association and National level Officials for the current Olympiad through 2012. This is a great opportunity to learn the rules and regulations of the worlds greatest sport. Please call John Herring at 544-1742 to confirm your attendance or with any questions. You will need your USATF membership number prior to class.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Governor's Cup

The extravaganza known as the Governor's Cup took place this morning. New this year is that the events only included the 5K and 10K's. The 1/2 marathon, marathon and marathon relay will be held in conjunction with the Montana Marathon this September.

On the men's side, the race of the day was in the 10K. Thomas Jodoin continues his stellar season with a sub-33:00 10K. With his 32:53 he took a 9 second win over MSU Alum Kurt Michels. Just another 14 seconds back of Michels was Steve Hickman of Bozeman in 33:16 . 3 guys within 23 seconds of each other in a 10K in Montana - pretty exciting racing.

Then, there was a solid second-group race that was led by Greg Wirth of Helena in 36:07 followed by Brian Wieck in 36:29, and the Neil twins (Jake at 37:28 and Doug at 37:40).

9th overall was a Buzzard favorite and Montana Cup stud rick Judge in 37:54.

The men's masters race was tight with Chad Elkin (41) of Great Falls taking a 10 second win over 52-year old Kyle Kliker (P-burg) - 41:44 to 41:54.

The women's race was won by Genny Hanson of Helena in 40:38, getting the 20 second win over Kritina Trystad-Saari of Bozeman in 40:58.

Master's women winner was Debbie Gibson of Helena in 44:02.

In the 5K, Nicole Hunt of Deer Lodge continues her return to top level racing after the birth of son Eon Journey. Her 19:00 gave her a 37 second win over Heidi Johnson Fry of Bozeman. To top off their performances, they finished 8th and 9th overall, taking the measure of most of the men in the field. The overall master's winner (and 4th overall women and 17th overall total) was the ageless Butte wonder woman - Suzie Kaluza (21:01).

On the men's side, Michael Fisher of Ronan just missed a sub-16:00 time. But, his 16:04 gave him a 56 second win over Forrest Lewton of Cardwell (Whitehall metopolitan area). Trail ace Dewey Peacock of Bozeman was a close 3rd (17:10) and then came master's ace Peter Dan Sullivan. In one of his few forays into racing this year, PDS came home in 17:24. Rounding out the top 5 was teenager Michael Barker of East Helena in 17:46.

Full results can be found at

The Muddy Buzzard

Plains Day 5K - Saturday, June 6th

Rain Or Shine – The Running’s Fine

In spite of early morning showers, 29 hearty soles (pun intended) toed the starting line for the annual Plains Day 5K Run. The run, which kicked of the days’ celebration of all things Plains, was held on streets in town and on the roads along the base of the “P” Hill.

Although a steady rain made course set up and registration a bit of a challenge, the skies decided to turn off the tap just minutes before the start of the run. And, with cool temps, overcast cast and just the slightest of breezes, the conditions were almost ideal for distance running.

And, no one made more of the conditions than recent U of M grad Dennis Brands. In town to visit his classmate, Valley Press reporter Matt Unrau, Brands took the win in 17:09. It was an outstanding time, when one considers the almost 200’ of climbing along Highway 28 and Hillview Road in the 2nd mile. In those first two miles, Brands ran in step with Trout Creek’s Jacob Naegeli. Using the speed he honed as a miler on the Grizzly track team, Brands let loose on the downhill 3rd mile and pulled away from Naegleli, winning by a margin of just over 1 minute.

Naegeli, who just finished his freshman year as the number one runner on the cross-country and track squads at Earlham College (Richmond, Indiana), is still working back to full fitness after a hip injury this spring. In spite of his lack of race sharpness, Naegeli still was almost a minute faster than Plains resident Tony Banovich (18:10 to 19:04).

Close behind Banovich was Plains’ Carter Montgomery (19:32), who recently finished an outstanding freshman year at Plains High School. Just one week ago, Montgomery was competing in the Class B State Track Meet in Kalispell. Rounding out the top 5 overall was Austin Pullan of Thompson Falls (20:18).

On the female side, Michelle Yoshinaga of Dixon decided to take in the Plains Day activities while visiting her parents in Thompson Falls. Running 26:13, she took first place honors in front of Shauna West of Plains (27:24) and Molly Tingley of Plains (31:15).

In addition to runners from Plains, Thompson Falls and Trout Creek, athletes from Big Fork, Missoula, Dixon, Kalispell and Somers also came to town to take in the wonderful Clark Fork Valley hospitality that can be found on the Wild Horse Plains.

Race organizers would like to thank event sponsors Sanderson Stewart and Quality Landscape Seeding, Inc.; the resources of McGowan’s Grocery, The Runner’s Edge and the Brooker family; and, race volunteers Carol Brooker, Erin McCarthy, Peg McCarthy, Bill Naegeli, and David, Lisa and Jessica Read.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

State Track Highlights

Well, the state track meets have come and gone; and, as always there were some expected performances and some suprises.

Let me start with my vote for the Outstanding Performer.

It would have to go to Chris Wilson of CMR in Great Falls. He continued his hot sprinting and set all-class records in both the 100 and the 200 meters. His 10.67 took down the 10.74 of Steve Heberly of Havre. The race was run into a headwind; so, with a calm day or even a minor tailwind, he possibly could have been in the 10.5's.

But, I still have to say that his 21:06 All-State record in the 200 rates higher in my book. With that run, he won by almost 1 full second and took down a 28 year old record (Dan Hanley of Butte High ran 21:51 in 1981). 21:06 is smoking fast - especially for a sprinter from Montana who has a challenge with limited outdoor training and racing with the winter and spring weather taht sprinters in places like Texas, California and Florida don't have to content with.

Now then - what about the Outstanding Competiton?

As I had predicted - it was the Alexa, Keli and Dani show. The Aragon sisters (Junior Alexa and Freshman Dani) from Billings Senior and Junior Keli Dennehy of Butte High went head to head to head in the 800, 1600 and 3200 meter runs.

Alexa took the 800 in 2:12.41 - followed by Keli in 2:13.04 and Dani in 2:16.25
Alexa took the 1600 in 5:04.84 - again followed by Keli (5:05.39) and Dani (5:05.88). 4th was Heidi Turner of Bozeman in 5:08.97.
The 3,200 saw a reversal of fortunes as Keli took the win in a near sub-11:00 time with a 11:06.68. Alexa was second in 11:22.55 and Turner took third in 11:31.5 (Dani skipped the 3200)

Outstanding races, fast time, great head to head competition. After a vote by the Muddy Buzzard panel of judges - the Buzzard Beak goes to Alexa. 2 out of 3 over Keli with the 2 fastest times in the events this year.

Not to be overlooked would be the solid performances of Aurlea Fain - a junior at Billings Senior was 6th in the 800 (2:23.01), 5th in the 1600 (5:20.73) and 4th in the 3200 (11:33.28). What a tough group to have to compete against. She had a great set of performances across the board; but, still could do no better than 4th.

After all of that indivdual racing, the Butte and Senior Girls went at it one more time in the final event of the meet - the 4 X 400 meter relay. And, the team title was on the line. Dennehy was on the Butte team and the Aragons and Fain were on the Senior team. In the end, Butte pulled out a 3rd place finish with Senior in 4th. That was enough for the Bulldogs to end up with a 2 point win and the State Championship trophy.

Now then, on to some other notable performances.

The Billings West boys 4 X 100 relay - setting a new all-class record of 41.48 (breaking the old record of 42.27 by over 3/4's of a second).

Drew Coco winning the Class A 800, 1600 and 3200 meters to add to his XC title from the fall and a great wrap to his senior season.

Mike Asay of Manhattan with the fastest 1600 and 3200 meter times of the year with a 4:21.01 and 9:45.36 (winning both races by about 7 seconds)

Dillon Fryxell from the small school of Plains with the highest HJ of the weekend at 6-8.

Alexa Aragon adding a 3rd in the PV to go along with the other 4 medal that she won over the weekend. 5 All-State Medals in one weekend. With the hauls that she has made in XC and track over the last 3 years, she is building quite a legacy of HS performances.

The Muddy Buzzard