The Lady Bulldogs capped off a strong year with a third-place finish at the Class A State Cross Country Meet in Great Falls last weekend.
Josephine Vardell was the leading Lady Dog, finishing sixth overall (20:03.32).
Head coach Richard Menicke said he was proud to see his top senior runner go out strong.
“She ran a gutsy and amazing race. In a big time field, she went out hard and held on to it and competed fiercely,” he said.
Jessica Henson (20:52.11) and Paetra Cook (20:52.98) came in at 22nd and 23rd overall.
As a team, the girls finished behind first and second place Hardin and Corvallis and edged out fifth-place Columbia Falls.
“It was kind of a hard earned third place for the girls,” Menicke said. “There were four to five really good teams and three of those were ahead of us well into the race, Hardin, Corvallis and Laurel. It seemed like we were going to have a tough time getting a trophy about halfway in, but we finished nine points ahead of Laurel.”
Menicke added that four of his seven girls that competed in the meet ran season best times.
“They just crushed it and produced the best race of the season on the right day,” he said.
On the boys side, the team took eighth overall. Columbia Falls, Hardin and Fergus took first, second and third.
Miles Vrentas was the top boys finisher for Whitefish, taking 19th (17:10.02).
Menicke said he had five out of the seven boys running their season best times as well, and he’s happy with the results they got.
“Finishing eighth out of 20 teams, we’ll take that,” he said.
The team graduates seniors Jacob Bailey, Bain Black, Bridger Gaertner, Anton Horowitz, Bridger Smith and Vrentas on the boys side, and Neva Haugen, Henson, Vardell, Kelsey MacDonald and Giada Oliveri on the girls side.
Overall, Menicke said he’s extremely impressed with how his team did this year, both on the course and off.
“It’s been one of the most enjoyable seasons for me as a coach just because of the easy chemistry this team had,” he said. “Great kids — everyone got along, had a fun time together and liked to push each other along. We had just enough young knuckleheads to keep me on my toes, but plenty of senior leadership.”
All-Class State Cross Country
Individual top 25
19 Miles Vrentas Whitefish 17:10.02
1 Columbia Falls 65, Top 5 Times: 1:24:46.36
2 Hardin 86, Top 5 Times: 1:25:29.66
3 Fergus 98, Top 5 Times: 1:25:26.21
4 Hamilton 125, Top 5 Times: 1:26:21.33
5 Corvallis 163, Top 5 Times: 1:27:35.05
6 Ronan 192, Top 5 Times: 1:28:28.30
7 Park 203, Top 5 Times: 1:28:35.55
8 Whitefish 231, Top 5 Times: 1:29:30.81
9 Laurel 261, Top 5 Times: 1:30:20.64
10 Polson 311, Top 5 Times: 1:31:32.45
Individual Top 25
6 Josephine Vardell Whitefish 20:03.32
22 Jessica Henson Whitefish 20:52.11
23 Paetra Cooke Whitefish 20:52.98
1 Hardin 71, Top 5 Times: 1:41:59.58
2 Corvallis 87, Top 5 Times: 1:42:45.01
3 Whitefish 119, Top 5 Times: 1:44:27.55
4 Laurel 128, Top 5 Times: 1:44:26.56
5 Columbia Falls 152, Top 5 Times: 1:45:40.25
6 Hamilton 162, Top 5 Times: 1:44:42.91
7 Beaverhead County 205
Top 5 Times: 1:47:44.28
8 Frenchtown 214, Top 5 Times: 1:48:26.65
9 Polson 232, Top 5 Times: 1:49:25.98 10 Fergus 293, Top 5 Times: 1:52:05.11