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Whitefish runners use unique Helena meet to prep for conference, state championships

by WHITNEY ENGLAND
Whitefish Pilot | October 13, 2021 1:00 AM

The Whitefish cross country team was able to test its competitive strength individually and as a team at the Helena 7-on-7 meet held Thursday at Bill Roberts Golf Course in Helena.

With 44 teams from across the state competing in the unique meet, Whitefish runners had a good showing. The meet was set up with seven races in staggered starts, which pinned runners against opponents with similar season-best times. According to Whitefish cross country coach Richard Menicke the format of the races forced runners to pace themselves and not rely on running with their teammates.

“This was an important and different tune-up for the varsity teams as we prepare for the conference and state championships in the next two weeks,” Menicke said. “With one athlete in each race, the runners can’t rely on pacing with teammates and have to depend entirely on their feel for the race.”

As a team the Whitefish girls finished 16th with senior Paetra Cooke leading the way; she finished seventh in Race 3 and was the top Class A finisher in that race.

“Paetra Cooke had a fantastic race,” Menicke said. “Great start and aggressive running through the middle of the race, taking advantage of the hilly terrain.”

Whitefish’s Hazel Gawe placed ninth in Race 6 and Raiya McCutcheon placed ninth in Race 7 — both were the top Class A runners in each of those races. Morgan Grube also had a good time at 14th place in Race 4 and Rachel Wilmot took 22nd in Race 5 to round out the girls finishers.

The Whitefish boys team took 12th place in the overall team standings, with three runners getting top-six finishes. The Bulldog team tied with Corvallis for second in Class A behind Hamilton who was the top Class A school of the day.

Whitefish sophomore Mason Genovese placed third in Race 4 and sophomore Deneb Linton finished fourth in Race 3. Another sophomore Landon Brown was sixth in Race 6. Genovese was the top Class A runner in his race, while Linton and Brown both came in second among Class A athletes in their respective races.

“Mason Genovese ran the best race of his career, hanging with a lead pack of AA athletes and eventually passing a Hellgate runner near the end to finish third,” Menicke said. “I’ve never seen him look so tired after a race — a huge effort on a very honest course.”

He added that Linton had a similar effort in his race as he was with the lead pack of five runners through the first half of the race, but when the pace changed he couldn’t quite match the speed. Brown also hung with the front of the pack for most of the race and Menicke was impressed with his effort.

“He went for it and inserted himself near the front early and was able to hang on most of the way,” the coach recalled. “Love this kid’s energy and his ‘why not’ approach.”

Whitefish’s Barrett Garcia also had a nice race as he finished 11th overall in Race 5 and was third among Class A runners in that race.

On Saturday Whitefish cross country will compete in the Western A Fall Classic in Dillon.

Helena 7-on-7

BOYS

Team scores — 1 (tie), Missoula Sentinel and Missoula Hellgate, 18; 3, Bozeman 28; 4, Great Falls 32; 5, Hamilton 49; 6, Helena Capital 53; 7, Gallatin 70; 8, Flathead 82; 9, Hardin 86; 10, Billings West 90; 11, Manhattan Christian 96; 12 (tie), Whitefish and Corvallis 105; 14, Belgrade 108; 15, Laurel; 16 (tie), Three Forks and Glacier, 117; 18, Columbia Falls 125; 19, Butte 134; 20, Helena 137; 21, Billings Skyview 151; 22 (tie), Billings Senior and Livingston, 152; 24, Manhattan 162; 25 (tie), Dillon and Great Falls CMR, 176; 27, Boulder 180; 28, Browning 191; 29, Loyola Sacred Heart 200; 30, Red Lodge 203; 31, Townsend 213; 32, Cut Bank 216; 33, Belt/Centerville 225; 34, Drummond 226; 35, Anaconda 230; 36, Lewistown 236; 37, Whitehall; 38, Twin Bridges 241; 38, Butte central 2487; 39, Stevensville 250; 40 (tie), Sunburst and Big Timber, 250; 42, Deer Lodge 252; 43, Frenchtown 253; 44, East helena 256.

GIRLS

Team scores — 1, Bozeman 15; 2, Hellgate 20; 3, Billings West 33; 4 (tie), Helena and Gallatin 48; 6, Helena Capital 65; 7, Flathead 70; 8, Hardin 80; 9, Townsend 82; 10, Billings Skyview 89; 11, Great Falls CMR 93; 12, Columbia Falls 105; 13, Manhattan 106; 14, Red Lodge 116; 15, Corvallis 120; 16, Whitefish 126; 17, Hamilton 131; 18 (tie), Lewistown and Belgrade, 143; 20, Three Forks 147; 21, Glacier 149; 22, Laurel 151; 23, Sentinel 152; 24, Dillon 161; 25, Manhattan Christian 162; 26, Great Falls 170; 27, Butte 182; 28, Sunburst 190; 29, Belt/Centerville 202; 30, Livingston 204; 31, Big Timber 208; 32, Billings Senior 209; 33, Frenchtown 212; 34, Deer Lodge and Browning, 213; 36, Twin Bridges 215; 37, Boulder 216; 38, Stevensville 217; 39, Anaconda 218; 40, Cut Bank 223; 41, Missoula Loyola 228; 42, East Helena 235; 43, Butte Central 237; 44, Whitehall 239.

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Whitefish’s Barrett Garcia runs Thursday during the Capital City 7 v. 7 in Helena. (Courtesy photo)

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Bulldog Deneb Linton, far right, leads a pack of runners Thursday during the Capital City 7 v. 7 in Helena. (Courtesy photo)