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Harriers have homecoming too


October 17, 2019

Courtesy Photo

HITTING HIS STRIDE - Falls eighth grader Cael Thilmony won the junior high race at the Eureka Relays last week in a lifetime best time of 9:00 for the 1.5 mile course.

When one thinks of homecoming it usually brings to mind things like football games, parades and royalty. But homecoming isn't just for the football team and its backers; it is for the whole student body and all school sports teams.

The Thompson Falls Blue Hawk cross country team, represented beautifully by queen candidate Reagan Hanks at the big football game Friday night, celebrated homecoming with their classmates last week and completed their regular season running schedule by participating in the Eureka Relays Thursday.

Coach Sarah Naegeli's Hawk and Lady Hawk harriers were to have hosted the 2019 unofficial Western B-C Divisional meet at River's Bend Wednesday but results of the meet were not available at press time. Once the results are official, however, they will be posted on the Sanders County Ledger website at

The Hawk runners, like all prep harriers in Montana, will then be busy getting ready for the 2019 Montana All-Class Cross Country Meet in Great Falls Oct. 26.

Naegeli said the Eureka Relays provided a welcome respite for her team from the chaos of homecoming week activities. "It was a nice low-key race and an absolutely gorgeous day. It was great, most of them slept the three hours up there and the three hours back," she said. "It was a good break for everyone from the hub bub of homecoming week."

Though the junior high races were "normal" cross country races in Eureka, the high school competition was team-based with two runners on each team in what was called the Eureka Mixed Up Relays.

The Hawks' No. 1 team of top female runner Josey Neesvig and top male harrier Justin Morgan won fourth place overall in 36:35. Jack Green and Ellie Baxter timed out in 38:18 for eighth place, Marc Boyd and Sierra Hanks clocked 41:15, Daniel Ryan and Megan Baxter 43:02, Briar Palmer and Shaylynda Walker 45:57, JJ Fields and Roni Hanks 49:09, Isaac Reed and Reagan Hanks 50:14 and Ben Croft and Amy Risser 51:39.

Palmer has impressed his coach lately. "Briar just continues to improve every time he races," Naegeli said.

Courtesy Photo

BALE-JUMPING Josey Neesvig will lead the Lady Hawk harriers into the State B-C meet in Great Falls Oct. 26.

In the junior high races, coach Sarah Stover's top two runners – Cael Thilmony and Hattie Neesvig – both won, Thilmony in 9:00 and Neesvig in 9:40.

"Cael ran an amazing race start to finish," Naegeli said. "He ran the course 47 seconds faster than he did last year, that was a great performance."

Faith Palmer won second to Neesvig in the girls race in a fine time of 10:40 and Nathan Cottingham finished sixth overall with the boys in 9:41.

Back on the bus for the ride home, the team detoured up to the United States/Canada border for a photo op before returning to Thompson Falls.

Looking ahead to this week's Western B-C at River's Bend, Naegeli is hopeful. "Justin should do well in the boys race, and the girls are hoping for a top-three team finish," she said. "Eureka, Bigfork and us are really close, we will run our best and see what happens."


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