Steady Steadman leads Dillon at home meet

M.P. Regan
Wednesday, September 30, 2020
And they're off

Members of the first wave of runners participating in last Saturday’s Dillon Invite Cross Country meet at Beaverhead Golf Course head out from the starting line of the 5k course. M.P. Regan photo

It had been five years since Beaverhead County High School hosted a cross country meet— and a decade since they’d held one at Beaverhead Public Golf Course in Dillon.

But it didn’t take long for the Beaver boys top runner Ben Steadman to traverse the track on Saturday, when he took third in the Dillon Invite.

“Ben is very coachable and confident and goal oriented, a quiet leader,” said BCHS Cross Country Head Coach Betty Iverson.

“He just wants to run,” said Iverson of Steadman, an allstate honoree last season.

“I think I ran pretty well,” said Steadman, who clocked a time of 17:24 on the 5K course.

“Though that last mile was a little tough,” said Steadman of the final portion of the course, which pushed runners into a strong headwind, inspiring one of his teammates to push his arms straight behind him near the finish line in an attempt to get more aerodynamic.

Steadman finished behind only Hamilton’s Colter Purcell and Colter Kirkland.

“Those are the better runners I’ve competed against,” said Steadman of the field that also included competitors from Hardin, Corvallis, Manhattan, Stevensville, East Helena, Browning, and Twin Bridges—a guest list larger than the original roster of the Dillon Invite.

“With so many meets canceled this year, when teams see a meet, they call and ask if they can come,” said Iverson of the hunger for competition during a 2020 season with only a sparse menu of opportunities for high school cross country runners.

“The kids just want to get into a competitive race, because this year, you just don’t know when another one will come,” added Iverson, whose team last held a home meet in 2015, at the old Sleepy Hollow Golf Course in Dillon.

Iverson said hosting a cross country meet this year forces organizers to improvise to accommodate the safety restrictions imposed by the ongoing pandemic.

“Every meet you go to this year it’s done differently,” said Iverson, who decided to send the 143 runners at the Dillon Invite out in seven waves of no more than 28 runners each—the first featuring the fastest, the second featuring the second fastest, etc.—to limit crowding and the likelihood of groups of runners overtaking one another on the single loop course.

“It made it a little harder to time them, but it seemed the safest option,” said Iverson, who had numerous volunteers aiding the meet.

The Dillon girls had to make do with a thinned roster subtracted of their top two runners—Madalen Shipman, who is nursing an injury, and Kelle Mosher, Shipman’s fellow allstate returnee who had other commitments on Saturday.

The Lady Beavs third-leading runner, Natalie Bush, suffered an injury on the course Saturday and had to pull out before finishing.

Still, the local girls got good, brave efforts and finishing times from Bella Glossa, Emma Mitchell, Maddie Brown, Kim Herrin, Dunae Wiggins, Hanne Hansen, Laura Martin, Eden Kinberg and Hailey Powell, who placed 12th.

“Our brightest spot for our girls was our little freshman, Hailey Powell,” said Iverson of Powell, who ran a personal best with a time of 22:02 on Saturday, fueling expectations of many more personal bests to come.

“She is a really strong runner and very coachable.”

Next up for the Beavs, a trip north by northwest to compete in the Polson Invite, which will happen Saturday, Oct. 3, on the Silver Fox Golf Course in Pablo.