Alana Tonidandle was the Capital High girls cross country team's No. 1 runner all year, during the Bruins most successful season in over a decade.
She led CHS to a fourth-place finish at the prestigious Mountain West Classic, a victory over Helena High at the crosstown meet to stop the Bengals’ 11-year win streak, and a sixth-place finish at State, for Capital's best season since 2006.
And now, Alana Tonidandle is the IR All-Area Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“It really feels amazing to be selected for this position,” said Tonidandle, regarding her thoughts on the Runner of the Year honor.
Retired Capital track coach Shirley Chesterfield-Stanton, who coached Tonidandle as a freshman, said she is “a hard worker and supportive of her teammates,” and that she enjoyed having her on the team.
At the Mountain West Classic, she placed 24th in a field of 340 runners, posting a time of 19 minutes, 36 seconds. At the Butte Invitational, Tonidandle ran a 19:27 and took eighth, spearheading the brown-and-gold’s runner-up finish in the 31-team meet.
She finished 13th in Race 1 at the Capital City 7 of 7 Meet in 20:20, before capturing the intra-city title with a 20:21. Coach Katie Gilboy’s Bru-crew outscored HHS 17-45, behind Tonidandle’s winning run.
The Capital senior related afterwards that her race went “really well,” starting out at a nice pace and maintaining it until over halfway through.
“I gave it my all the last 2K,” Tonidandle told the IR, “and I know I can definitely go faster at State, with more girls competing. I can’t wait for State, to see what we do as a team.”
And faster she went indeed, posting a 20:07 and placing 27th, in a photo finish with teammate Nina Bracht-Bedell, who took 26th. Capital tallied 183 points and came in sixth, for their highest State showing in 11 years.
“Alana is always shows up ready to work regardless of what is going on with her life,” fellow senior harrier Hannah Rohrer-Fitzhugh said. “She is an awesome teammate to have around who really pushes the team through the tough days.”
Apparently one hand washes the other, because Tonidandle feels the same way about her team.
“I don’t necessarily have someone to single out that motivates me, but by far the most influential factor has been my teammates,” she said. “When I have felt like giving up, I think about them. They inspire me everyday to give it my all, and to never stop chasing my dreams.”