article by: Contributor Carrie Cota
The Rocky Mountain College Cross Country Team jumped on a bus on September 29 and made the six hour drive to Missoula to run at the University of Montana meet. At this meet there were several D1 schools, as well as two NAIA schools, which led to some pretty tough competition. Regardless of the competition, both the Rocky women’s and men’s cross country teams were prepared to give it their best and show the other schools what they were capable of after all the hard training throughout the season.
Rocky brought eight women competitors to run a 6k (3.75 miles) course. First on the team was Mackenzie O’Dore who came in at 24:05 and nished eighth place overall. Following close behind were the impressive freshmen Courtney Hallock and Stephanie Robbins with times in respective order of 24:40 and 25:06. Corrine Hamilton ran a time of 26:41 and right behind her came Cassidy Rude with a time of 27:09. The three women finishing up for Rocky included Stephanie Wilson at 29:20, Carrie Cota at 30:02, and Kelsey Crona at 30:27. All the women did great considering the extended and hilly course.
The Rocky men’s team brought eleven runners to compete in the 8k course (4.98 miles) at this invitational meet. Benson Koech, previous athlete of the week, ran a time of 26:07, taking second place overall in the meet. Following him were brothers Fred and Issac Petsch with times of 26:59 (fifth overall) and 27:49 (14th overall). The next runner was freshman Shane Ketchum, with a time of 28:18. Bryce Hugs followed close behind with a time of 28:25. The next runners that crossed the finish line were Gino Giovagnoli at 29:54, Dakota Johnson at 30:52, Joshua Waldram at 31:18, Gilly Szweda Mittelstadt at 32:22, and Brenden Leaming at 33:01. The men finished strong compared to the other tough competitors.
On October 8th, Rocky had its next home meet at Riverfront Park. Many women and men ran their personal best on this beautiful course. Coach McLean and Coach Yoall were excited and knew the potential both teams had to show.
With three exceptional runners injured or gone, the Rocky women’s team still came out and pushed the competition to the limit. The twelve women’s times are shown as follows: Courtney Hallock at 19:36, Cassidy Rude at 19:48, Corinne Hamilton at 21:12; Jaylen Henderson at 21:24, Stephanie Wilson at 21:25. Rebecca Sarabia at 21:26, Carrie Cota at 21:59; Erika Musser at 22:18; Kelsey Crona at 22:19, Jessica George at 23:05, Alex Ziemer at 29:00, and Bailey Scott at 29:01. The men’s ten competitors came out ready to run on Saturday with the Benson Koech winning the meet with a time of 19:30. The following are the race day results: Fred Petsch at 20:19, Issac Petsch at 20:34, Bryce Hugs at 21:15, Shane Ketchum at 21:15, Riley Ruppenthal at 21:36, Josh Waldram at 22:06, Gilly Szweda Mittelstadt at 23:13, Brenden Leaming at 23:14, and Dakota Johnson at 23:32.
With the season coming close to the end, there is still so much more in store for Rocky’s cross country team. The best thing about the team is that everyone supports and cares for each other and wants everyone to always do their best.
Coach Yoall says, “If you don’t push through the little bit of pain while running, you won’t show everyone the great runner you can be.” With this attitude the team is capable of improving times, winning meets, and accomplishing individual and team goals. The NAIA conference meet is on Helena’s hilly course is on November 4th.