HELENA — The Bozeman High cross country teams swept the 13th annual Capital City 7 of 7 Cross Country Meet on a wet, rainy Thursday at Bill Roberts Golf Course. The the girls championship, however, was decided by a single point.
The Lady Hawks edged Missoula Hellgate — which has beaten Bozeman twice this year — 11-12, followed by Helena in third place with 44 points.
The Bozeman boys also scored 11 points for their crown, compared to runners-up Hellgate and Missoula Sentinel, who tied at 35 each. Helena finished fifth with 61 points.
Capital's boys placed seventh with 72 points, and the Lady Bruins were 12th at 110.
The individual championships were captured by Billings Senior's Tiahna Vladic and Ben Perrin of Flathead. Vladic was clocked in at 17 minutes, 35 seconds over the 5K course, while Perrin posted a 15:43.
"We've been battling with Hellgate all year, they have a phenomenal team, and it was an exciting day of competition," Bozeman coach Casey Jermyn said. "We're very equal, and it comes down to who has the better day."
Both schools won three races apiece, and in all seven races contested, Bozeman and Hellgate were just one place apart.
"We're definitely pushing each other, we're looking to keep our streak alive (of 11 successive state championships), and I know (Hellgate) wants to break it," Jermyn said.
The Hawks coach said his boys, which have garnered 10 AA titles in a row, had a very impressive day, winning five of the seven races.
The State Meet takes place Oct. 20 in Missoula.
Vladic led the girls race from wire-to-wire, while achieving a PR and finished ahead of runner-up Terra Trom of Bozeman, who clocked an 18:15, by 40 seconds.
"I went out with the boys and was 5:10 for the first mile, and was worried that it was too fast, but I decided to keep it going and got a PR," Vladic said. "It was a lot of fun."
Perrin was pushed to the wire by Laurel's Levi Taylor, who was just 8 seconds back at 15:51.
"There were a bunch of us changing the lead at the start, and then I went in front after the first hill (about quarter mile)," Perrin said. "I held the lead the rest of the way, but Levi was so close I could hear him breathing the whole way until the very end. It was a good way to get a good time because he was pushing me."
Helena's girls, who posted their first top-three placing in coach Linda Paull's 12-years at the helm, were led by Kylie Hartnett and Kylee Wetzel. The two freshmen posted PRs and both placed fourth, Hartnett (18:39) in the No. 1 race, and Wetzel (19:59) in the No. 3.
Teammates Katelyn McKay (20:29) was eighth in the No. 2, freshman Rylie Schoenfeld (20:04) was third in the No. 4 and Jasmine Wilkerson (20:18) placed third in the No. 5.
"We had a great day with our top five under 20:35 with Kylie and Kylee both having amazing races," Paull said. "They're just a group of awesome young ladies."
Helena's boys were paced by Jonah Fisher, 10th in the No. 1 in 16:45. Zane Rousch, eighth in the No. 2, and Clayton Ryerson, fourth in the No. 3, both ran 17:04s. Trystan Brewer (17:06) finished third in the No. 4.
Jesse McMurtrey sparked the Bruins with a seventh-place showing in the No. 1, with a time of 16:38. He was followed by Peter Lund (17:23) in 18th in the No. 2, and Danny Leas (17:45) at 13th in the No. 3.
CHS's girls were led by No. 1 Emma Rohrer-Fitzhugh, placing 21st in 20:37, and Zoe Wall, who ran a 20:52 and took 13th in the No. 2.
Class B Townsend's girls placed 22nd, paced by Emma Stolte with a 20:41 for 22nd place. The Bulldogs boys were 27th, behind Louis Ingalls, in 28th at 17:58.
Jefferson's top runners were Andy Johnson and Hyram Parke (both 20:04), and Grace Alexander at 22:42.