Although it is the runner that crosses the finish line first that gets the glory, it is the runner that guts it out for a personal best time while running in the middle or at the end of the pack of racers that makes a team win possible. Such was the case for both the Corvallis boys and Corvallis girls cross country teams at the championship race in Missoula on Saturday.
As expected, Sadi Henderson brought home first for the girls and Chase Stoker and Colby Henderson ended up second and sixth in the boys. But the real difference were the runners like Morly Jessop, Porter Jessop, and Devan Williams who finished strong to give the boys the narrowest of victories.
“They put us through the wringer,” said Corvallis coach Joanne Cleveland. “We didn’t know if it was going to be us, Hamilton or Park. It was close. They all stepped up and did what they needed to do.”
Cleveland went on to say the efforts by Annie Jessop, Amelia Gardner and Lakyn Connors were tremendous and critical to winning the championship. “We needed them to be up there and they did!”
Sadi Henderson said she initially started out to break the 18-minute mark but her coaches convinced her that making sure she won was more important. She was somewhat nervous about racing after a two-week layoff but was happy with how well she ran. The hill on the east edge of the course at the University Golf Course is a tough obstacle for every racer.
“That hill, it’s my kryptonite,” said Henderson. “It’s really tough to get through but I did.”
There was some concern about how the Blue Devils would perform after opting out of the Southwest A Divisional last weekend. Cleveland said there had been a lot of second-guessing after making the difficult decision to not risk an injury at the divisional race. But after the performance put on by the Devils, the decision was a good one.
Hamilton also had a great day with the boys’ team finishing just 15 points out of first place and four points behind second place Belgrade. Sophomore Easton Albert finished seventh and Anthony Schmalz was 11th. Coach Mark Albert was pleased with his young team’s performance and said everyone did their best with several racers setting their own personal best time.
Team scores: Corvallis 121, Belgrade 132, Hamilton 136, Livingston 155, Laurel 166, Glendive 189, Browning 195, Polson 213, Lewistown 227, Whitefish 250, Havre 268, Columbia Falls 273, Dillon 278, Hardin 343, Anaconda 366, Frenchtown 376, Libby 427, Billings Central 463, Miles City 534.
Top 30 individuals
1. Derrick Williams, CF, 15:30.76; 2. Chase Stoker, Cor, 15:39.22; 6. Colby Henderson, Cor, 16:03.51; 7. Easton Albert, Ham, 16:13.96; 11. Anthony Schmalz, Ham, 16:23.98; 21. Morly Jessop, Cor, 16:33.85; 28. Karill Apedaile, Ham, 16:46.74; 33. Emmett Stoker, Cor, 16:58.57; 43. Julien Kimball, Ham, 17:20.96; 47. Colin Robinson, Ham, 17:22.87; 48. Greg Beck, Ham, 17:23.17; 59. Porter Jessop, Cor, 17:39.06; 72. Devan Williams, Cor, 17:56.02; 84. Denny Hoselton, Ham, 18:09.58; 116. Tanner Palin, Cor, 19:20.86;
Team scores: Corvallis 79, Glendive 111, Havre 142, Columbia Falls 158, Lewistown 165, Billings Central 203, Whitefish 206, Polson 214, Belgrade 250, Browning 251, Hamilton 253, Hardin 286, Dillon 301, Livingston 334, Miles City 349, Laurel 394, Frenchtown 481, Sidney 510.
Top 30 individuals
1. Sadi Henderson, Cor, 18:30.26; 4. Isabella Pape, Cor, 18:51.94; 8. Kaycie Stewart, Cor, 19:24.15; 24. Lakyn Connors, Cor, 20:10.35; 28. Jenny Smith, Ham, 20:25.14; 30. Sara Amish, Ham, 20:30.87; 42. Amelia Gardner, Cor, 20:51.63; 44. Annie Jessop, Cor, 20:57.09; 61. Kaitlin Stromberg, Ham, 21:34.32; 65. Kali Hayes, Ham, 21:39.85; 69. Sierra Gideon, Ham, 21:46.83; 86. Hanna Smith, Cor, 22:25.35; 89. Sarah Del Rae, Ham, 22:33.35; 107. Chelsea Hayes, Ham, 23:40.19.