The Glasgow Scottie girls cross country team won its fourth consecutive state title with a commanding performance Saturday – minus their top runner all season, Josie Braaten.
Rachael Zeiger crossed the finish line first for the Scotties with a time of 20:06, followed by Amanda Wolff in 10th place with a time of 20:13. Both girls qualified for All-State with those finishing times. You must be in the top 15 to be All-State.
Emma Fewer for the Scotties crossed the finish line in 16th place, with her time being 20:43. Next was Amanda McDonald in 21st (21:03), Ellen Walstad in 32nd (21:40) and Alex Simenson in 34th (21:43).
The Scottie girls finished first with a total score of 87, with Loyola Sacred Heart second at 153. Josie Braaten, the Scotties top runner all season, had to drop out of the race, unable to finish as after completing most of the course.
Makenna Morley, representing Big Fork, crossed the finish line in first place for Class B schools beating the state record for the fastest time of 16:35.
"Winning that fourth (state championship) was the most amazing feeling in the world," senior Rachael Zieger said. "You could definitely tell we all wanted it and took nothing for granted. The fan support was really great. The Glasgow fans were cheering us on the whole time."
Coach Rod Karst said that "winning was bittersweet. We were all concerned about Josie but yet excited to win. Josie is a tremendous asset for our program, and she always sets a high standard for our team to follow. So, it paid off for us. The other girls stepped up and did what they had to do to win. The girls did a great job!"
This was Karst's 16th year coaching high school cross country at Glasgow as head coach, and he coached junior high two years before that. He has six state championships under his belt for the Glasgow High School cross country team.
The team scores are as follows: Glasgow 87, Loyola Sacred Heart 153, Plains 162, Red Lodge 170, Coal Strip 192, Manhattan 223, Big Fork 258, Cut Bank 292, Malta 296, Roundup 307, Ronan 327, Powell Co.361, Whitehall 369, Lincoln Co. 392, Saint Labre 397, Huntley Project 407, Thompson Falls 495, Saint Ignatius 515 and Columbus 556.
Others present were Broadwater (Townsend), Harlem, Jefferson (Boulder), Joliet, Lodge Grass, Poplar, Rocky Boy, Shelby, Sweet Grass, Three Forks and Plentywood-Westby.
"It takes a lot to be a runner," senior Emma Fewer said. "When our team was called for first place, we weren't just happy for our win – we were happy to see the product of all our hard work, patience and faith. Being there to celebrate it with some of the best people, as well, made it not only one of my favorite cross country moments but probably my favorite high school moment."
Amanda Wolff, a junior who will be returning next year, had this to say: "Every year state gets more and more nerve racking. The pressure was definitely on this year but everyone pushed through it. It was very exciting for me to finally be an All-State runner and to be a part of the team to have the most state titles in Montana."
As for the Scotty boys, they would take eighth place with Matthew Phillips being the top runner for the Scotties, crossing the finish line in 27th place with a time of 17:43. Bridger Sanders would be right behind in 29th place with a time of 17:46. Walker Allen crossed in 44th (18:08), Kasey Seyfert 82nd (19:16), Chase Hughes 126th (20:26) and Ethan Jamba 145th (20:57).
"The boys didn't have the best race of the year, but we did OK," Karst said. "We are young and learned from this meet. We will be back and stronger next year."
Julie Sanders / For The Courier
All-State runner Rachael Zeiger crossed the finish line first for the champs.
Phillips, a senior, said the "boys ran well. We didn't have anyone drop off and have a bad race. We just needed lower second mile times for everyone, and we would have placed better."
Team scores for the boys were lead by Red Lodge with 58 points. Manhattan had 73, Thompson Falls 221, Loyola Sacred Heart 239, Cut Bank 244, Bigfork 247, Broadwater (Townsend) 271, Glasgow 271, Saint Labre 297, Colstrip 313, Ronan, 316, Lame Deer 330, Columbus 351, Shelby 357, Huntley Project 412, Whitehall 429, Joliet 484, Plains 514, Rocky Boy 523, Lodge Grass 556, Jefferson (Boulder) 587, Saint Ignatius 590, Lincoln Co. (Eureka) 611, Roundup 692, and Plentywood/Westby 778. Other teams present were Harlem, Poplar, Powell Co. (Deer Lodge), sweet Grass Co (Big Timber), Three Forks and Wolf Point.