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The Jefferson High cross-country team poses in Great Falls Saturday. They are, from left: (top) Logan Gillmore, Hyrum Parke, Coach Karson Klass; (middle) Christian Davis, Dominick Davis, Katarina Oravcova, Isabella Abbott, Quinne Shultz, Brendan Gallagher; (front) Izaro Torralbo, Laurynn Armstrong, Hailee Stiles, Becca Nelson.

Cross Country athletes are like the Post Office: They run through rain, sleet, dark of night – and, at last weekend’s Montana State meet in Great Falls, some pretty nasty cold, wind, and snow.

“It was not a great day for running,” said Jefferson High coach Karson Klass. “I’m proud of the kids for fighting the elements.”

Those elements included a race-time temperature of 25 degrees, and pre-winter breeze that made it feel much colder. But the Panther “Hoofers” ran through it: Hyram Parke finished 62nd in 19:49, while Logan Gillmore was 82nd in 20:19, Christian Davis 123rd in 21:34, and Brendan Gallagher 176th in 24:13.

In the girls’ race, Bella Abbott was the first Lady Panther to cross the finish line at 97th in 24:40. Laurynn Armstrong followed at 105th in 24:58, with Hailee Stiles 128th in 27:22, Izaro Torralbo 159th in 30:24, Quinne Shultz 168th in 32:08, and Katarina Oravcova 171st in 33:15.

With only one senior, Armstrong, graduating, the Panthers look to make a strong showing next year. Meanwhile, congratulations to Brooke Rieder Dolan, head coach of the Broadwater teams. The Broadwater girls brought home the class B State title for first time in school history. Brooke is a graduate of Jefferson High and her parents still ranch in the Boulder area.

It’s not always so cold for the State meet. Quite a few years ago, then coach Sam Samson was thrown into the water by his teams after the Panthers won the State title. He still cries about losing his expensive sunglasses in the water that day.

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