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Badger harriers heading for state races

 
October 26, 2021
 
Photo by Alethia Ussher
The Badger girls cross country team gave it their all at the district meet in Priest River, and came within three points of winning the league title.

Photo by Rose Owens
Badger Camille Ussher shows the intensity
as she runs to a fifth place district finish.
The lady Badgers started off the day Thursday trying to duke it out with CdA Charter for the district championship and they gave it their all, finishing second in the Intermountain League cross country standings, just three points behind the powerhouse Panthers.

"Given how the last couple of weeks played out the girls could not have done much better or put themselves in a better position," coach Tyler Warner said. "They really gave it their best shot. Ceci Roemer and Camille Ussher led the way for our girls, taking third and fourth place. Sydney Beckle and Leah Moellmer both also broke into the top 11, meaning all four girls make the "all-league" distinction, determined by state qualifiers. I really am pleased with this girls team being as competitive as they were, overcoming illness and injury, and qualifying for a trip to state."

CdA Charter's McKenna Kozeluh led the wawy for the IML, finishing at 18:38.2. Timberlake's Haileyann Johnson finished second at 20:49.1, followed by Charter's Natal Davis at 20:59.6.

Ceci was next across the line for the Badgers at 21.11.7, with Camille not far behind for a 22:13.6 finish, rounding out the top five.

Sydney finished at 22:45.0 for 10th place and Leah at 23:55.6 for 11th. Liliana Brinkman crossed the line in 18th place at 27:47.1, freshman Trina Johnson came in 20th at 28:27.6, Elizabeth Bourassa 27th at 32:13.5 and Lily Owens 28th at 32:16.8.

"I don't think we could have asked for a better day last week for districts," Warner said. "Fall colors were at their peak, the weather was sunny and it was a little on the cool side, all of which made for a classic day of cross country racing. Our meet was hosted by Priest River this year at their home course. At this point in the season I wasn't really worried about personal records as much as qualifying for state. Luckily Priest River and Kellogg both came through with enough kids for top three teams to qualify for each gender."

In team scoring, it was CdA Charter, 40, Bonners Ferry 43, Timberlake 55, Kellogg 106 and Priest River 119.

Photo by Camille Ussher
Badger Connor Alexander on his way to
a second place finish.
The boys finished out the day in third place.

"This was a really fun race to watch the front pack, each team had one boy in the lead group, which is sort of how you want it to go for the league, everyone vying for that top spot," Warner said. "Connor Alexander led the way for us, and in the last mile started pulling away from the fourth and fifth place guys. In the end, Makai Peak of Kellogg shocked the league by pulling away from the pack with about 600 meters to go or so. Connor told me he thought he would have more time to reel him back in, but Makai just had the right momentum that day. Connor also told me at state he wouldn't let him get out that far ahead next time!"

Connor managed to hold on for second place, also earning "all-league" honors, with Peak crossing first at 16:40.9, Connor coming across at 16:53.3.

The Badger middle pack of Levi Bonnell, Justin Strugar, Colin Fairchild, and Wyatt Smith all held together quite nicely for most of the race.

"Wyatt fell off the pack, battling back from illness, but having second through fifth on our team so close together just ate up that group of points," Warner said. "The boys were able to finish third and lock in a trip to state as well. Sadly, the IML only trophies first and second place, so no team photo or hardware there."

Timberlake's Jacob Barnhart finished third in the IML at 16:58.0, CdA Charter's Logan Davis fourth at 16:58.4 and Priest River's Dylan Lord rounded out the top five at 17:57.7.

For the Badgers, Levi finished 14th with a time of 18:58.1, Colin 16th at 19:02.3, Justin 18th at 19:15.2, Wyatt 23rd at 19:39.6, Ryan Beckler 29th at 20:02.5, Carson Dineen 40th at 21:40.1, Ian Williams 46th at 22:39.8 and Chase Xitco 53rd at 28:14.3.

In team scoring, it was Timberlake, 37, CdA Charter, 55, Bonners Ferry, 72, Priest River, 97, and Kellogg, 101.

"I'm excited that we get to have another week with this team," Warner said. "They're a fun group that knows the difference between work and play. They all enjoy the competitive aspects of the sport and many have aspirations to improve their times this weekend at Eagle Island State Park. We've been preparing for this race all season and it's time to find out how much we have left in the tank."

The Badgers leave for Eagle Friday morning and the girls race at 9 a.m. Saturday, the boys will at 9:30 a.m.

"Hopefully we'll have some hardware to celebrate on the way home!" Warner said.

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