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Hawk harriers run at the ranch

 

September 5, 2019

Courtesy Photo

RANCH HAND RUNNERS - The Thompson Falls cross country team poses in front of a hayslide at the Grant Kohrs Ranch outside of Deer Lodge Saturday. Hawks will run in the Big Sky Coaches Invitational in Missoula Thursday.

What a great way to start a cross country season – at a beautiful, historically significant place in Montana.

Thompson Falls coach Sarah Naegeli guided her Blue Hawk harriers into the Deer Lodge Invitational held at the historic Grant Kohrs Ranch outside of Deer Lodge to open the running season Saturday. Though the views were majestic the weather was a little on the hot side being late summer and all.

"It really is a beautiful place, and a beautiful course they had set up, we are glad we got a chance to go over there," Naegeli said. "But there was not much shade and I am glad the race was in the early morning."

Justin Morgan led the early-rising Hawk boys to the finish line by winning second place in the 5,000 meter varsity run, clocking out in 19:21.84, finishing second only to Deer Lodge's Aidan Thompson, who won the race in 19:05.84.

Marc Boyd placed eleventh for the Hawk boys in 26:34.85.

In the girls' 5,000 meter varsity run, freshman Ellie Baxter won fourth place overall (in 25:11.35), Sierra Hanks took fifth (25:46.04), Megan Baxter won ninth (27:56.77), Roni Hanks tenth (30:30.48) and Reagan Hanks twelfth (33:52.45).

In the boys' junior varsity race, Jack Green won first place in 21:45.46 for the Hawks, Daniel Ryan (23:34.86) took second, Connor Maloney (25:47.12) third, Hunter Little (26:40.19) fourth and Isaac Reed (36:31.42) fifth.

Lady Hawk harrier Sarah Clements won the girls' JV event in 29:32.07 and Amy Risser took third in 35:04.30.

Naegeli was happy with what her runners gave her in Deer Lodge.

"Great first races for Ellie, Sierra and Justin," she said, "and Daniel had a PR (personal record) by over four minutes. Six of the runners were competing in their first-ever cross country races, and an seventh in his first XC race for the Blue Hawks."

Naegeli said the Deer Lodge Invite opened her young runners' eyes to some other important factors in this game of distance running.

"We had a few kids learn about proper nutrition and hydration before races," she said.

Naegeli and company have another interesting race to navigate their ways through Thursday in the Big Sky Coaches Invitational in Missoula. She said the races – split into events for freshmen, sophomores-juniors and seniors this season – will be held across the Westside Little League Field Complex and Missoula Equestrian Park near Big Sky High School.

"This should be interesting," she promised. "We got some nice consistent races from almost everyone last week. Now we start to work on speed!"

Bolstering the Hawks this week will be the return of junior Josey Neesvig to the girls' team. Neesvig was busy with the Sanders County Fair last week and did not make the trip.

She was the top place-winner for Thompson Falls in last fall's State B cross country meet.

 

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