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HELENA — Helena High junior Jonah Fisher is the Capital City’s top returning cross country runner from last year.

At the 2017 Class AA Meet, Fisher garnered an all-state citation when he placed 13th in the race at Bill Roberts Golf Course in 16 minutes, 49 seconds.

The Bengals distance ace spearheaded his team to an eighth-place finish in the meet, and this fall he’s looking to lead the Helena harriers to a higher placing at the State Meet in October.

“We are trying to become more competitive as a team than we have been, by trying to get our whole varsity team closer together,” Fisher said.

Jonah — whose parents are former Bozeman Hawks basketball player Klint, and Jesika Fisher —  first started running track in sixth grade at Helena Middle School, before taking up cross country the next year as a seventh grader.

He said Bengals assistant coach Jesse Zentz “has had the most influence on my career, in training,” to help him improve.

In the classrooms he carries a 3.8 grade-point average. Fisher is best at math, but he also likes art class. His favorite teacher is Brandon Day. He listed some of his hobbies as skateboarding, working on his car and collecting sneakers.

Fisher is on pace to garner eight varsity letters, four each in cross country and track, although he enjoys the former better, because “I don’t like running multiple laps.”

He described how older teammate Jacob Rice, who graduated last spring, took him under his wing and helped show him the ropes of varsity running.

“Jacob and I ran together my freshman year, and we became good friends,” Fisher said.

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Among the 6-foot-3 runner's highlights as a sophomore — prior to his all-state performance — were placing third in Race 2 of the 7 of 7 Meet in 16:48 and winning crosstown in 17:02.

On the track during last spring’s intra-city meet, he came from behind to capture the 3,200, which kept alive the Helena boys' 17-year winning streak against the Bruins in that event.

“Jonah is definitely our top returner; he’s run a fair amount this summer, although he lost his training mate (Jacob Rice),” Helena coach Kelley Gilbert said. “He gives us a nice 1-2-3 punch, and I expect him to continue to move up ladder.

“Jonah’s our leader, and he will be pushed, which is phenomenal for the team. But yes, he has the potential to be a top-10 kid at state.”

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Curt Synness is on Twitter @curtsynness_IR and can be reached at curt.synness@lee.net or curt52synness@gmail.com

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