By George Ferguson
A successful season came to an end for the Havre High girls cross country team as it placed fourth at the Class A State Championship race in Helena on Saturday.
For the Ponies and head coach Kim Ray, it was their second straight fourth-place finish at the state meet, held at the Bill Roberts Memorial Golf Course. Despite the fact that the team was looking to place higher, Ray couldn't be prouder of them.
"The girls ran as hard as they could on Saturday, and they gave everything they had," Ray said. "It just wasn't our best race. It's tough that it had to happen at the last meet of the year.
"They were all very disappointed after it was over, but they ran so hard and did their best and I can't ask for anything more than that," Ray added.
The Bigfork Vikings defended their 2001 state championship with a score of 26. Polson finished in second place at 76 and Lewistown finished a surprising third at 171. The Ponies finished with a team score of 188. Lewistown's finish came as a surprise to Ray.
"We have finished ahead of Lewistown all year," Ray said. "But they went out and ran their best race of the season. Several of their girls had their personal best times at this meet, and that is what you have to do to finish well at state."
Colstrip's C.J. Martin took home individual honors with a time of 18:16, followed by Bigfork's Kaci Calaway at 18:37. The top finisher for the Ponies was senior Katie Siebrasse, who came in 24th with a time of 20:26. McKayla Patterson was Havre's next highest finisher in 31st place at 20:45. For Patterson, her time was a personal best. Alicia Rundquist finished in 40th place with a time of 21:09.
"Katie, McKayla, and Alicia all ran good races, but we just needed to get two more girls to finish in that top 40 and we would have been right there," Ray said.
Rounding out the scoring for the Ponies was Shannon Newth in 46th place with a time of 21:28 and Mandi Nystrom in 47th place at 21:39. Rebecca Hilliard came in 55th place and Kelsey Malsam was 57th.
Despite barely missing out on a trophy for the second straight year, Ray knows her team had a very sucessful season.
"Because we took fourth, the girls feel like they had a bad season," Ray said. "But I feel like we had a very successful season and I am very proud of all of my runners."
Ray said the finish was especially tough on the girls who won't be returning next year, like Rundquist and Siebrasse.
" the seniors on this team gave us a lot, and it is sad to see things come to an end for them," she said.
Class A Girls
1, Bigfork 46. 2, Polson 76. 3, Lewistown 171. 4, Havre 188. 5, Miles City 190. 6, Sidney 190. 7, Browning 195. 8, Colstrip 231. 9, Columbia Falls 242. 10, Anaconda 268. 11, Hardin 277. 12, Belgrade 367. 13, Dillon 381. 14, Hamilton 403. 15, Libby 412. 16, Livingston 468.
1, C.J. Martin, Colstrip, 18:16. 2, Kaci Calaway, Bigfork, 18:37. 3, Allison Peterson, Sidney, 18:43. 4, Kasey Harwood, Polson, 18:55. 5, Samantha Campbell, Polson, 18:57. 6, Lauren Dalton, Bigfork, 19:01. 7, Wasewi Shawl, Browning, 19:04. 8, Ashley Bakich, Colstrip, 19:09. 9, Lesley Dalton, Bigfork, 19:13. 10, Elisha Cassan, Anaconda, 19:17. 11, Emily Klee, Billings Central, 19:25. 12, Alexis Digiovine, Butte, 19:29. 13, Athlene Allred, Corvallis, 19:30. 14, Lindsey Lang, Bigfork, 19:31. 15, Brooke Andrus, Bigfork. 19:46. 16, Candice Rodriguez, Lewistown, 19:54. 17, Teri Lea McCormick, Hardin, 20:03. 18, Shayna Schildt, Browning, 20:08. 19, Casi Jenkins, Polson, 20:09. 20, Shauna McCracken, Columbia Falls, 20:11. 21, Brittany Jenkins, Polson, 20:11. 22, Brianne Schmidt, Miles City, 20:18. 23, Jordan Gurgiolo, Hamilton, 20:23. 24, Katie Siebrasse, Havre, 20:26. 25, Kristen Mantooth, Lewistown, 20:26.
Havre Individual runners:
24. Katie Siebrasse, 20:26; 31. McKayla Patterson, 20:45; 40. Alicia Rundquist, 21:09; 46. Shannon Newth, 21:28; 47. Mandi Nystrom, 21:39; 55. Rebecca Hilliard, 21:57; 57. Kelsey Malsam 22:10