By Ryan Divish/Havre Daily News Sports Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org
The girls on the Havre High cross country team may not have been particularly pleased with their performance on Saturday in Bozeman, but their coach was.
Havre finished in sixth place at the Belgrade Invitational, held at the East Gallatin Valley Recreation Complex in Bozeman.
Sixth place is far from horrible especially considering the competition, however the Havre runners wanted a trophy from the meet and weren't exactly pleased with their individual times and overall finish.
"They were kind of disappointed with their times and where we placed," said HHS cross country coach Kim Ray. "But they ran a pretty good race. It's still pretty early in the season. And it's going to take a while to get where we need to be."
Indeed, in only their second race of the season, Havre finished a respectable sixth behind five Class AA schools and ahead of eight other teams.
"Class AA is much tougher this year than it has been in the past," Ray said. "We did finish higher than any other Class A or B school."
Sophomore McKayla Patterson was Havre's top finisher in 24th place with a time of 21:07.59. Fellow sophomores Kelsey Malsam and Mandi Nystrom finished in 35th and 39th place, respectively, with times of 21:28.85 and 21:32.40. Junior Amy McLain finished in 41st place with a 21:34.27 while senior Shannon Newth rounded out the scoring, finishing just behind her in 42nd with a 21:28.80.
"McKayla had only two runners in Class A or B that finished in front of her," Ray said. "And our top five finishers finished before any Class A or B team had their second runners finish which is also good."
It is particularly pleasing considering two of those teams were teams Havre will compete with at the state meet.
"We got to see what Colstrip and Lewistown look like," Ray said. "Colstrip is very similar to us and Lewistown is solid."
Perhaps the thing that pleased Ray most was her runners' change in attitude in the race compared to last week.
"We ran a lot more aggressive this week," Ray said. "I saw a big improvement in that. We did a nice job of running and staying together and helping each other out during the race."
If there was one thing that Ray saw her runners needed to improve it was their mental preparation before a race. It wasn't that her runners weren't ready, they were too ready, causing them to come out a little tight in that first mile. It is something she will address in practice as her team prepares to head to Cut Bank for the Cut Bank Invitational on Friday.
Helena Capital 65, Billings Senior 67, Butte High 93, Bozeman 117, Helena High 142, Havre 181, Colstrip 206, Lewistown 262, Dillon 304, Billings Skyview 345, Manhattan 352, Anaconda 363, Belgrade 408, Billings West 422, Hardin 617, Plenty Coups 630.
Top 10 placers
1, Elizabeth Driscoll, Bozeman, 18:48.84. 2, Alyssa Bossler, Helena, 19:22.76. 3, Kristin Parker, Capital, 19:29.00. 4, Stephanie Kirkpatrick, Butte High, 19:36.61. 5, Cara Lehman, Billings Senior, 19:39.39. 6, Katie Gilboy, Capital, 19:43.15. 7, Carly Selleck, West, 19:48.11. 8, Madi Jourdonnais, Capital, 19:51.41. 9, Teri Lea McCormick, Billings Central, 20:08.80. 10, Brigette Hoenke, Billings Senior, 20:20.78.
24, McKayla Patterson, Havre 21:07.59
35, Kelsey Malsam, Havre 21:28.85
39, Mandi Nystrom, Havre 21:32.40
41, Amy McLain, Havre 21:34.27
42, Shannon Newth, Havre 21:28.80
59, Emily Kostelecky, Havre 22:18.26
66, Kristine Keltgen, Havre 22:27.93