Herder harriers hit road running

LIVINGSTON — With Canyon Mountain and Livingston Peak towering along the horizon during the Park High School Seamus Camp Memorial Invitational Cross Country Meet on Aug. 25, it seemed to paint a picture-perfect metaphor for the upcoming season: An uphill climb, yet measurable and conquerable.

Without a full squad, the Sweet Grass County boys’ and girls’ teams didn’t not complete a team score, however did set a standard for what each individual is hoping to accomplish in the 2017-18 campaign. 

For returning sophomore Graysen O’Connor, he tallied an official time of 21 minutes, 15 seconds for his first 5K race of the year. He was the lone varsity runner for the Herders on Aug. 25, and took 45th overall. 

“I was feeling pretty good,” O’Connor said. “I wasn’t feeling nervous, just pretty good. But once I got to six [minutes through the first mile] I realized that was a little too fast. I was going for 6:30 and had no idea I had went to six.”

After a hot start, O’Connor settled back in and added some time through his second mile. But he and head coach Christina Bowden both recognize how much of a learning experience the first meet of the season can be. 

“It’s good to get one underneath you and see where you’re at,” Bowden said. “[I’m] beyond happy. Graysen is right where he wants to be, as far as improving. He’s about a minute and five seconds off to get the lettering time, which is his goal. And it’s just the first meet of the season.”

In order to letter at SGHS, for the boys, a runner must run 20:10 or better, three consecutive times in a season. For the girls, it’s 23:45 in three-straight meets. 

Being able to hover around that lettering time in the first meet of the season only bodes confidence for O’Connor.

“Last year, I just got started in cross country and this year I want a letter. That’s my overall goal,” O’Connor said. “[Next week] I’ve got to start out slower. Get to 6:30 instead of 6:00. That was too fast and painful when I got it in my mind. I’ve just got to start out slower and try to pace myself.”

The Herders also had two junior varsity runners come on the scene, as Kailey Forrey and Ty Ferguson both ran their first official 5K events. 

Forrey, a freshman this year, donned a top-10 finish, coming in sixth with a time of 26:30. She, too, hopes to find a way to shave off some minutes and find herself running fast enough by the end of the season to letter. 

For more of this story, pick up a copy of this week’s Big Timber Pioneer on newsstands now, or subscribe online at bigtimberpioneer.net.

BOX SCORE

Varsity Boys Team Standings

Team scores: 1. Manhattan Christian 48, 2. Fergus 57, 3. Manhattan 80, 4. Belgrade 134, 5. Park High 143. No score: Big Timber, Butte Central, Columbus, Dillon, Red Lodge, Roberts and Shepherd.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 10 and notables): 1. Zak Meeker, MAN, 17:38; 2. Noah Majerus, FER, 17:42; 3. Ben Morrison, MC, 17:49; 4. Sam Telling, DIL, 17:54; 5. Sam Fullbright, FER, 17:57; 6. Boone Schmaltz, ROB, 18:02; 7. Hammer Blair, MC, 18:24; 8. Bryce Love, MAN, 18:40; 9. Grant Van Dyken, 18:46. 10. Ryker Melton, FER, 18:46. 45. Graysen O’Connor, BT, 21:15.

Varsity Girls Team Standings

Team scores: 1. Manhattan 32, 2. Dillon 74, 3. Fergus 96, 4. Belgrade 153. No score: Butte Central, Columbus, Park, Roundup, Shepherd, Twin Bridges.

INDIVIDUAL RESULTS (Top 10): 1. Hannah Boyd, MAN, 20:43; 2. Hannah Madsen, MAN, 21:15; 3. Savanna Stewart, TB, 21:27; 4. Larissa Saarel, PARK, 22:00; 5. Sarah Griggen, DIL, 22:07; 6. Jodi Cameron, MAN, 22:20; 7. Ti’el Lochridge, DIL, 22:27; 8. Jadyden McGowen, BEL, 22:31; 9. Alex Veltkamp, MC, 22:23; 10. Katie Jacobsen, RL, 22:39.

PHOTO CAPTION: Graysen O’Connor (left-center) takes the outside path within the first mile of the Park High School Seamus Camp Memorial Invitational Cross Country Meet on Aug. 25. O’Connor finished 45th overall in a time of 21 minutes, 15 seconds. (STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSEFLD / Big Timber Pioneer)

By STEPHEN KALB-KOENIGSFELD / Pioneer Staff Writer

 

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