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On the final stretch of their season, Bozeman’s girls placed fifth Saturday in the championship race at the Nike Cross Northwest Regional in Boise, Idaho.

The Hawks’ top four runners placed in the top 100, led by senior Hayley Burns in 16th. Bozeman finished with a team score of 185. Washington’s Sammamish Wolfpack won with a score of 87. Missoula Hellgate’s team placed third (159).

Burns, after a third-place finish at the Class AA meet in October, finished Saturday’s race in 19 minutes, 2.9 seconds. Sophomore teammate Natalie Nicholas followed in 35th place at 19:32.8, and junior Luci McCormick was 66th in 20:00.3. Sophomore Serena Sproles was 98th in 20:36.5.

“Our girls got in that race, ran pretty tough throughout,” Hawks head coach Casey Jermyn said. “Obviously Hayley had a great day, up in that top 20, to earn recognition up on the awards podium. … I thought our girls ran really tough from top to bottom. I think we probably hoped for a little bit more, but I think all in all it was a great day and a true show of where we stack up in the region.”

Nomi Friedman completed Bozeman’s scoring, finishing 111th in 20:57.4. Also competing for Bozeman were Natalie Patch (130th, 21:36.7) and Polly Meshew (22:07.0).

Gallatin’s girls placed 16th in the championship race with a score of 338.

Lily MacFarlane and Alexis Holton placed 87th and 89th, respectively, in 20:16.2 and 20:18.8. Grace Schopp followed in 117th place (21:09.5), Bella Childre was 123rd (21:21.6) and Penny MacFarlane was 125th (21:22.5). Claire Rutherford was 134th in 21:50.9.

Raptors head coach Graydon Curry said the girls team had been fighting some non-coronavirus related illnesses lately, and that might have kept them from running their best. But he called it a successful day nonetheless, especially for such a young program.

“Our girls were 16th in the regional championship, which is a pretty big accomplishment,” he said. “A testament to their hard work all summer and season, and exceeded our expectations big time.”

Bozeman’s boys placed 20th in the championship race with a score of 409. KJ Popiel was 66th in 16:39.2. Connor Neil (104th, 17:05.6), Joe Johns (123rd, 17:15.8), Wyatt May (138th, 17:22.6) and Rex Hamling (155th, 17:44.6) completed Bozeman’s scoring. Calvin Dore (162nd, 17:53.2) and Graves Kelly (175th, 18:15.6) also finished for Bozeman.

“The guys side was pretty stacked,” Jermyn said. “KJ had a great day, ran really close to his PR. We had a couple other kids with some strong performances. … They ran tough.”

Gallatin’s Carson Steckelberg also qualified for the boys championship race but ended up not finishing because of a hurt ankle.

“Rough day for him,” Curry said.

Gallatin also had runners in the boys open invitational and was led by Peter Rehberger in 20th place in 17:15.4 and Keidis MacFarlane in 39th in 17:31.4.

Both coaches were glad to expose their runners to a meet of this magnitude. They believe it can only help the athletes they have returning, but it will also serve as a highlight for graduating seniors.

“I think this experience is a fun time,” Jermyn said. “It’s a great way to see the whole region and see there’s a lot to offer in this sport.”

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Parker Cotton can be reached at or 406-582-2670. Follow him on Twitter @ByParkerCotton.

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