BCHS x-country kickstarts delayed season

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Beaverhead County High School’s boys and girls cross country team runners finally got their feet wet in competitive action in 2020 on a hot, dusty course in Manhattan on Saturday.

“It was nice just to get out there and get a meet in,” said BCHS Cross Country Head Coach Betty Iverson of her boys and girls first competitive action of the fall season at the Manhattan Orange dual meet after getting their first two meets cancelled due to pandemic concerns.

“Manhattan had their regular meet in the morning,“ said Iverson of an a.m. meet.

“But they knew there were teams struggling to get a meet, so they held another one in the afternoon,” added Iverson of the added Manhattan Orange meet, a dual pitting Manhattan Christian against Dillon.

“We really appreciate that he went to the trouble to do this,” said Iverson of the overtime efforts of Manhattan Cross Country Head Coach John Sillitti to help the Beavs compete against runners from another team for the first time this season.

“His kids ran in the morning and then stayed around to cheer our kids on, which was really awesome,” said Iverson.

The conditions in which that afternoon meet provided an awesome challenge, one the Beaver boys and girls took on with relish, according to their coach.

“It was, if not the hottest, than at least the second hottest meet I’ve been to,” said the veteran BCHS coach of the weather at the Manhattan Orange.

“The temperature was at least 90 when we started, and it could have been as high as 95 degrees by the time the boys finished,” recalled Iverson, whose runners faced that heat on a course consisting mostly of a dusty dirt road.

“It was their first meet of the season and really hot, so it was a real double whammy. Driving up there, the kids are thinking about it the whole time, which doesn’t help. So, it was a big mental challenge for them,” said Iverson, whose runners had to beat the heat and their own doubts and fears.

“But that didn’t scare anybody off,” said Iverson.

“I was pretty impressed, especially with our younger kids who had never run in a meet before,” said Iverson of the grit displayed by her least-experienced runners on Saturday at a meet whose conditions challenged even the most experienced competitors.

“The ones who have been running in summer heat the most stood out,” said Iverson of her runners efforts on Saturday, which ended with Dillon’s Madalen Shipman crossing the line first among all the girls in the 5000 meter run at a time of 22:17.9 followed by teammate and second-place finisher Kelle Mosher, who clocked in at a tenth of a second over two dozen minutes.

“Madalen ran well. She trained a lot this summer,” said Iverson of Shipman, who last season gained all-state girls honors, along with Mosher.

“And Ben ran pretty well,” added Iverson of her boy’s team’s top finisher and overall silver medalist on Saturday, Ben Steadman, who traversed the 5000 meter boys course in Manhattan in 17:32.2, second only to Manhattan Christian’s Riley Schott.

The Dillon girls also got Top 10 performances from Hailey Powell (27:07.6), Natalie Bush (28:58.1), Hanne Hansen (30:15.5) and Eden Kinberg (32:31.6).

“She is a very strong runner, very efficient,” said Iverson of Powell, just a freshman.

“She looks like a much more experienced runner.”

B C H S ’s L a u r a M a r t i n (34:11.5) finished 11th among the girls on Saturday, when the local ladies also got good results from McKenize Doffinger and Danielle Smith.

Daniel Martin (20:28.5), Joel Harvey (20:59.1) and Andy Egan (23:09.8) delivered Top 10 finishes on Saturday for the Beaver boys, who got Top 15 results on Saturday from Jarrett Mosher (26:31.5), Jessie Bojkovsky (32:26.1) and Sean Regan (36.33.7).

Iverson said her teams, which consists of 15 girls and 11 boys, needed a lot of help just getting to Saturday’s meet, quite literally.

“I am impressed with our transportation department,” said Iverson of the high school’s bus folks who helped her teams get what they needed to get to the impromptu meet while sustaining social distancing protocols.

“We worked out this meet just last Sunday, and they got the two buses together for us,” said Iverson of the latest challenge met in a season already full of them.

“It’s a lot of little things that you have to do differently,” said Iverson, who credits her team’s seniors with helping their teammates transition into the new mode of practicing and travelling and competing in the pandemic year.

“Social distancing is tough for kids to maintain, but they need to take it seriously. It’s nice to have those senior leaders helping out with that. They do it enthusiastically and find a way of making it fun.”

The Beavs plan to compete at a meet in Twin Bridges on Sept. 18, and host their own on Sept. 26 at Beaverhead Golf Course.

“We haven’t had a home meet in a long time,” recalled Iverson.

“We are excited. That is Homecoming weekend as well,” said Iverson of a meet that will force the Beavs to enforce social distancing among competitors by using staggered starts and insist on mask wearing up until the start of races.

“We will go to Hamilton on Saturday,” said Iverson of the team’s next meet, on Sept. 12.

“We’ll get to see how they run their meet.”