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Sempf, Erickson help Wildkats run to 2nd at Rebecca Farm

by FRITZ NEIGHBOR
Daily Inter Lake | October 23, 2020 9:21 PM

Down a couple runners, the Columbia Falls Wildkats tried to keep the Laurel Locomotives in their sights Friday at the State A cross country championships.

With Hannah Sempf surging to third and Lara Erickson taking fourth the Kats scored 70 points at Rebecca Farm. Laurel was just a little better, scoring 50 to take home the team title.

As snow began to fall about noon, Hamilton’s boys capped a dominant season with an individual (Colter Purcell) and team crown. Columbia Falls, the two-time defending boys’ champion, finished third.

Hamilton also had a dominant performance on the girls’ side: Brynnli Poulsen, who won her second straight crown by over 50 seconds, in 19 minutes, 02.30. Laurel’s Andria Mourich was second at 19:53.15; then came Sempf, who was well back in the back at the halfway point of the two-lap race.

“I was like in the 20s, yeah,” she said. “And then I was just consistent, running. A lot of people take it out fast, and then they drop. I took my first mile out smart, and tried to negative split – run faster each mile.

“It’s hard to remember – I was just … watching for the jerseys I needed to pass.”

Sempf pushed past quite a few, including Erickson near the end, to finish in 20:00.84. Erickson clocked 20:01.23.

“Traditionally girls’ state meets go out really fast,” Columbia Falls coach Jim Peacock said. “They often go out beyond the pace they can keep. Our girls have experience and had a pretty good understanding of pace. They executed exactly what they wanted to do.”

Siri Erickson, Alyssa Blankenship and Emma McAllister finished 20-21-22 for the Wildkats, who were missing two runners under COVID-19 quarantine.

It likely didn’t matter. Laurel had Carly Cook in sixth and Grace Timm and Lauren Taylor were All-State (top 15) as well for the Locomotives.

“You just have to hand it to them,” Peacock said. “I felt we matched up very well with them, and I felt we ran our best race. But the Laurel girls, they are the real deal.”

So are the Hamilton boys, led by the Colters: Purcell won in 16:17.52, and teammate Colter Kirkland was second at 16:40.26. Ronan’s Brant Heiner, a state favorite whose best time was 16:16, took third at 16:46.80.

The Broncs had 35 points to second-place Hardin’s 54; well back in third were the Wildcats at 152.

Columbia Falls’ James Petersen finished 18th to lead the pack; Bailey Sjostrom was next at 30th, and Seth Umbriaco, James Role and TJ Jacobi were in the 30s as well.

Polson’s Mason Sloan was All-State, finishing 12th. The Whitefish boys, led by freshman Mason Genovese (20th, 17:20.78), tied with Livingston for seventh.

Polson’s girls with fifth and Whitefish sixth in the girls’ team race. Peatra Cooke was the top Whitefish finisher, in 19th; Polson’s Halle Heinger was All-State, taking 15th.

State A Cross Country

GIRLS

Team scores -- 1, Laurel 50; 2, Columbia Falls 70; 3, Hardin 82; 4, Corvallis 92; 5, Polson 153; 6, Whitefish 197; 7, Havre 203; 8, Hamilton 226; 9, Miles City 230; 10 Livingston 239; 11, Frenchtown 260; 12, Lewistown 312; 13, Glendive 327; 14, Dillon 341; 15, Sidney 438; 16, Libby 488.

Top 15 Individuals

1, Brynnli Poulsen, Hamilton, 19:02.30; 2, Andria Mourich, Laurel, 19:53.15; 3, Hannah Sempf, Columbia Falls, 20:00.84; 4, Lara Erickson, Columbia Falls, 20:01.23; 5, Olivia Buoy, Corvallis, 20:01.94; 6, Carly Cook, Laurel, 20:02.56; 7, Madison Harmer, Hardin, 20:123.31; 8, Katie Gleason, Corvallis, 20:16.08; 9, Dierra Takes Enemy, Hardin, 20:18.99; 10, Ellianna Wester, Livingston 20:27.07; 11, Grace Timm, Laurel, 20:28.52; 12, Ellie Brown, Miles City, 20:29.17; 13, Lauren Taylor, Laurel, 20:30.21; 14, Abigail Sherwood, Frenchtown, 20:31.98; 15, Halle Heninger, Polson, 20:32.08.

COLUMBIA FALLS -- 3, Sempf; 4, L. Erickson; 20, Siri Erickson, 20:40.57; 21, Alyssa Blankenship 20:41.55; 22, Emma McAllister, 20:50.22; 31, Emma Upton, 21:36.16; 76, Courtney Hoerner, 23:58.88.

POLSON -- 15, Heninger; 30, Ashtyn Wagner, 21:34.63; 34, Adison Carlson, 21:52.53; 36, Maddilyn Huffin, 21:4551; 46, Karli Owens, 22:17.41; 64, Katelyn Smith, 23:21.67; 81, Isabel Seeley, 24:11.76.

WHITEFISH -- 19, Paetra Cooke, 20:37.49; 33, Raiya McCutcheon, 21:51.84; 49, Maggie Pulsifer, 22:23.98; 51, Alie Simpson, 22:32.49; 53, Hazel Gawe, 22:34.48; 62, Abby Priest , 23:09.70; 68, Morgan Grube, 23:39.93.

LIBBY -- 79, Aurora Smith, 24:09.81; 106, Annika Benner, 27:22.91; 108, Jossalyn Whitte, 27:29.73; 113, Katelyn Huff, 29:29.62; 114, Raevynn Voss, 23:32.13; 117, Savanna Sanderson, Libby 30:44.62.

BOYS

Team scores - 1, Hamilton 35, 2, Hardin 54; 3, Columbia Falls 152; 4, Corvallis 156; 5, Ronan 172; 6, Lewistown 177; 7 (tie), Whitefish and Livingston, 185; 9, Polson 189; 10, Laurel 237; 11, Dillon 277; 12, Havre 297; 13, Miles City 343; 14, Billings Central 428; 15, Libby 434; 16, Glendive 479; 17, Sidney 489; 18, Lockwood 520; 19, Stevensville 590.

Top 15 Individuals

1, Colter Purcell, Hamilton, 16:17.52; 2. Colter Kirkland, Hamilton, 16:40.26; 3, Brant Heiner, Ronan, 18:46.80; 4, Bryson Rogers, Hardin, 16:47.76; 5, Tanner Nead, Hamilton, 16:48.01; 6, Brinson Wyche, Corvallis, 16:49.9; 7, Ben Archer, Lewistown, 16:51.64; 8, Ben Steadman, Dillon, 16:53.35; 9, Quaiden Whiteman, Hardin, 16:55.53; 10, Tegan Medicine Bull, Hardin, 16:55.68; 11, Lane Cole, Hamilton, 16:58.37; 12, Mason Sloan, Polson, 16:59.48; 13, Charlie Serafin, Livingston, 17:02.06; 14, Jalen High Hawk, Hardin, 17:04.38; 15, Michael Irvine, Ronan, 17:04.78.

COLUMBIA FALLS -- 18, James Petersen, 17:13.78; 30, Bailey Sjostrom, 17:48.62; 33, Seth Umbriaco, 17:55.50; 34, James Role, 17:59.05; 37, TJ Jacobi, 18:02.20; 69, Colin Smith, 19:04.96; 92, Alex Branstetter, 19:50.64.

WHITEFISH -- 20, Mason Genovese, 17:20.78; 28, Deneb Linton, 17:45.68; 35, Ruedi Steiner, 17:59.96; 44, Nate Inglefinger, 18:22.54; 58, Zachary Chiarito, 18:36.91; 59, Landon Brown, 18:39.33; 78, Jacob Henson, 19:20.87.

POLSON -- 12, Sloan; 32, Ryan Dup[uis, 17:52.86; 39, Drifter Skillicorn, 18:06.79; 52, Noah Roberts, 18:31.20; 54, Aiden Gfroerer, 18:32.97; 90, Sean Stewart, 19:48.17; 99, David Bjorge, 20:28.81.

LIBBY -- 66, Greyson Thompson, 18:57.46; 86, Vance Ward, Libby, 19:44.30; 94, Cody Crace, 19:58.57; 95, Dawson Rose, 20:04.95; 98, Lucy Martin, 20:25.22; 110, Thomas Roark, 21:17.82; 118, Rowdy Vaughn, 21:50.64.