Although their numbers are scant this year, there are only three competitors, the Stevensville cross-country team is enthusiastic and gaining experience with each race they run in. Cross-country for girls in Stevensville was added this year because wrestling will be offered in the winter in Stevensville.
Lorie Lewis is the coach of the fledgling team. She has held various coaching duties at Stevensville including tenure as the head volleyball coach and assistant in both volleyball and softball. A runner herself, she is eager to introduce more young people to the sport of running. In fact, she has encouraged her students in the fifth and sixth grades at Stevensville to participate in the Riverbank Run in Missoula.
Lewis said implementing the program didn’t cost much, only the uniforms, the coach, and the cost of traveling to the races. She believes running is a life skill that she hopes to pass on to any that are willing to come on board.
“But it’s also a bit intimidating at the races,” she said. “Here you have teams of 10 or more racers and then there are our three.”
There are three girls competing in this inaugural season. Laura Kelley is a freshman, Rachel Brown a sophomore and Hannah Callo a junior. Brown has had previous experience in track. Kelley has competed in the Riverbank Run with Lewis in the past. Callo, said Lewis, has a real love of running. It’s this combination of talent and grit that Lewis is counting on to drive and build a successful program in Stevensville.
The trio, along with Lewis, don their running gear every afternoon after school and hit the road, literally. Their routes may take them through Lee Metcalf Refuge one day and up Burnt Fork road another day. Lewis varies the length of the run and has had the girls work on controlling their adrenalin so they can complete the 3.1 mile run.
One of the things that appeals to Lewis in this sport is that it is truly an individual sport. There are no substitutions. Once the runner begins the race, she has no one to rely upon but herself. Lewis said she believes this is a great life skill to teach to any youngster.
Kelley said that the running is tiring but fun. Callo said that it can be intimidating but she feels good when she completes a race. Both were at the Corvallis Invitational on Saturday.
Hamilton’s Easton Albert won the boys race and Hamilton brought home the team scores. Corvallis’ Isabella Pape notched her third win of the season and led Corvallis to a team win as well.
Team scores – 1. Hamilton 36; 2. Corvallis 68; 3. Big Sky 113; 4. Frenchtown 128; 5. Loyola Sacred Heart 141; 6. Dillon 162; 7. Anaconda 174; 8. Butte Central 182.
Top local individuals – 1. Easton Albert, Ham, 15:57; 2. Anthony Schmalz, Ham, 16:02; 7. Ronald Venema, Cor, 16:34; 10. Karill Apendaile, Ham, 17:01; 11. Cameron Meikle, Ham, 17:02; 12. Greg Beck, Ham, 17:06; 13. Dane Watt, Cor, 17:09; 14. Kole Tison, Ham, 17:25; 15. Carson Jessop, Cor, 17:28; 16. Porter Jessop, Cor, 17:47; 17. Eric Healy, Cor, 17:48; 18. Sam Parker, Ham, 18:14; 19. Andrew Jessop, Cor 18:17;
Team scores – 1. Corvallis 26; 2. Hamilton 73; 3. Big Sky 92; 4. Dillon 112; 5. Loyola Sacred Heart 144; 6. Frenchtown 181.
Top local individuals – 1. Isabella Pape, Cor, 18:22; 3. Kaycie Stewart, Cor, 18:46; 4. Sadi Henderson, Cor, 18:57; 6. Kaitlin Stromberg, Ham, 19:45; 7. Lily Lang, Darby, 19:53; 8. Amelia Gardner, Cor, 20:19; 10. Sydnee McClendon, Cor, 20:53; 12. Darci Lewis, Cor, 21:25; 13. Grace Kurfman, Cor, 21:32; 14. Madi Picard, Ham, 21:38; 16. Sierra Gideon, Ham, 21:41; 17. Jaycie Schmalz, Ham, 22:04; 20. Tess Clancy, Ham, 22:56.