MISSOULA — The combined state cross country meet started off with the Class AA girls race Saturday, and it was Claire Rutherford from Bozeman Gallatin with her time of 18:31.0 that secured a first-place finish.
But it was Missoula Hellgate who brought home the team win for the AA girls.
The Class A girls race was next and was absolutely dominated by Hardin, which had the top three finishers and were led by incredible eighth-grader Karis Brightwings-Pease and her winning time of 19:01.8.
The top-three finishers helped Hardin secure the overall team win in controlling fashion.
The first boys race of the day was for Class AA, and it saw Weston Brown from Bozeman place first with a 15:25.0 time, the fastest clocking of the entire day.
His first-place finish along with strong performances from his teammates led the Hawks to the overall team victory as well, narrowly beating Hellgate.
The Class A race for the boys was won by freshman Greyson Piseno from Billings Central with a time of 16:16. He was followed closely by another eighth-grader from Hardin, Ben Bird, who had a time of 16:24.
But it was Livingston with three top-20 finishers that secured the overall team win for Class A boys.
The fifth race of the day was the Class B girls and it was Renae Parker from Jefferson who won with her time of 19:13.2.
Columbus secured the overall team title, narrowly beating out Manhattan thanks to their three top-15 finishers.
Class C girls were led by Annie Kaul from Plentywood who won by less than a second with her time of 19:10.4. After finishing as the runner-up in each of the previous three years, Kaul finally got first place.
Manhattan Christian, led by second-place finisher Jadyn Vandyken, locked down the girls team championship for the third consecutive season.
For the Class B Boys it was Andrew Rush from St. Ignatius with a 16:15.6 time in first place. Rush, along with two of his teammates, finished in the top 10 which led to the overall team win for St. Ignatius as well and a zealous celebration.
The eighth and final race of the day was the Class C boys, and it was Manhattan Christian's Oren Arthun with a time of 16:52 who won the race for the second straight year.
His first-place finish along with three more top five finishes from teammates gave Manhattan Christian a dominant team win on the day. The Eagles have now won seven consecutive Class C boys team titles.