GREAT FALLS -- The 2018 girls state cross country meet left a sour taste in the mouths of the Bozeman Hawks after their 11-year win streak was snapped by Missoula Hellgate.

But Saturday in Great Falls, at the Eagle Falls Golf Course, the Hawks took back the title, finishing with 38 points compared to 60 for Missoula Hellgate, which finished second.

Bozeman was paced by five runners earning All-State honors in Class AA, including three finishers in the top 10.

Terra Trom led the Hawks individually by finishing second. Teammates Grace Gilbreth (6th), Natalie McCormick (9th), Alex Moore (10th) and Lucia McCormick (11th) also paced the Hawks en route to victory.

"It was a total team effort," Bozeman head coach Casey Jermyn said. "The girls ran a phenomenal race. Our girls ran really well and really strong, kind of what we had hoped for coming in."

Jermyn said his team was motivated by the second place finish in 2018 and was out for redemption Saturday, which it got.

"It was a nice sigh of relief that we were able to bounce back," Jermyn said. "When you win 11 state titles and someone takes it from you, you want to take it back and we did that today."

While the Hawks took the team title, the individual crown went to Helena High's Kylie Hartnett, who capped an incredible season with a state title after a time of 17:49.

"It feels so good," Hartnett said. "I worked so hard for this and to finally win, it's just a nice achievement and now I can focus more on my time more than my placement." 

Class A 

Brynnli Poulsen sets Class A record and wins state

A year ago, Hamitlon's Brynnli Poulsen finished second at the Class A state cross country meet to Beatrix Frissell of Polson and since then, she made it her goal to win the Class A state title.

Well, Saturday, not only did she win the individual title, she also set the record in Class A for the 5K distance with a time of 18:16, which was 46 seconds faster than the time Frissell ran in 2018.

"I raced really close against Beatrix Frissell last year," Poulsen said. "We were close friends and my whole goal this year was to beat her record. That's what I was working towards."

That hard work certainly paid off as Poulsen, despite the snow, the wind and the cold, crushed the former record on her way to her first individual crown.

"It's fantastic," Poulsen said of winning. "It's so exciting. It feels great to be a state champion. It's awesome."

In the team race, Hardin completed a four-peat thanks to a 71-point effort that included three All-State performances. Corvallis finished second and Whitefish was third.

"They are amazing," Hardin head coach Cindy Farmer said of her team. "I am just so happy for them and proud. We are just so humbled. These guys are a team. They work hard together, they run together and they trust each other. It's just amazing." 

Class B 

Hayley Burns wins another individual title for Colstrip; Townsend takes team crown

As a freshman, Hayley Burns of Colstrip finished third at Class B state cross country to her teammate Whitney Hanson. 

But after Hanson graduated last year, Burns was determined to keep the title with Colstrip and after running 13 seconds faster than she did last season, posting a time of 19:29, her effort was a success.

"It feels really good," Burns said. "Last year I got third place and that was my first time and I just really wanted to do win it. I am just glad that it's over now and I can enjoy it."

In the team race, Colstrip didn't have the depth to contend. However, Townsend did and after Emma Stolte took second, along with three other Bulldogs who earned All-State, they took home the Class B crown, which was the first in the school's history.

"This is the girls very first championship," Townsend head coach Brooke Dolan said. "I kind of live in a world where I want the girls to be proud of themselves. But today it's hard to be true to that. I am beyond proud. These girls stepped up and did everything they were supposed to do." 

Stolte was also overcome with joy.

"I am very excited for my team," Stolte said. "The cold definitely hurt my lungs, my calves are cramping, it's really cold. Lifting the trophy though, makes it worth every, single second."

Class C

Averi Parker takes individual title, Seeley-Swan wins first state championship

Like so many other state champions that were crowned Saturday in Great Falls, West Yellowstone's Averi Parker knew a thing or two about previous success at state. 

Last season, she finished second and this time around, she wanted to make sure she wound up on top, which she did with a time of 20:11.16. 

"I was ranked first all last year and ended up finishing second," Parker said. "The girl came out of nowhere to beat me and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again."

Parker was hoping her effort would lead West Yellowstone to the team championship in Class C, however, Seeley-Swan had other ideas and thanks to four top-10 finishers, the Blackhawks won their first state title.

"It feels great," Seeley-Swan head coach Zelda Haines said. "I have three girls that play volleyball besides cross country and they have volleyball right after this."

Such is the life in Class C athletics. It takes all hands on deck to win a state championship and the extra effort makes it taste even sweeter.

"We were so close getting third last season," Haines said. "And this year, these girls worked so hard. We ran hills, we ran in all conditions and it was all worth it." 

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Chris is the sports editor and lead preps reporter for the Independent Record and 406mtsports.com. Follow him on Twitter @cmpetey406


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