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By Micah Drew

Despite Injuries, Blackhawks Shine at City Meet


October 19, 2017

Micah Drew, Pathfinder

The Seeley-Swan boys team starts their race with smiles at the 2017 Runner's Edge Missoula City Meet Oct. 12. Pictured Cameron Haines, Logan Robinson and Lane Mackie-Wendel.

MISSOULA, MONT - "Well that was a PR," said an out of breath Lane Mackie-Wendel shortly after he finished the Missoula City cross country meet Oct. 11.

Despite an array of injuries plaguing the cross country team, the Blackhawks had five boys and two girls toe the line for the Wednesday night race that saw three athletes set lifetime bests.

The cold, blustery evening meet started off with the girls varsity race. Jayla Kauffman and Chloe Robbins started the race and Kauffman finished with a time of 26:45.

"It was okay," said Kauffman who just started running cross country this year. "It was my best time so far."

Like many of the athletes at Seeley-Swan High School, Kauffman competes in multiple sports-this season it's volleyball and track-which limits the amount of time she can spend practicing each one.

"I don't really have much time to run," she said, before adding that she's looking forward to the state meet in Helena later this month and hopes to beat her previous time on that course. "I feel like it'll be good."

Chloe Robbins, one of the Lady Blackhawks star throwers for the track team who runs cross country to stay in shape for basketball season, was unable to finish her race due to injuries.

Coach Zelda Haines repeatedly pointed out that her two best runners on the boys team are both sidelined as well. Senior Logan Maughan has a bone bruise and his younger brother Caleb is recovering from a concussion.

Haines is hoping both runners will be back for the state meet but between injuries and training conditions around Seeley Lake earlier this year, "We just aren't where we were last year."

Without the Maughan brothers, SSHS did not have a full scoring squad at the meet (teams are scored with five runners and Cordell Turner was unable to finish the race due to breathing issues) but that didn't stop the Blackhawks who did compete from unleashing their potential around the course.

Logan Robinson led the team for the second week in a row clocking 20:47 for the five-kilometer course. He was followed closely by Cameron Haines in 20:53.

But the real show was just a few minutes behind, as Mackie-Wendel and Levi Reinitz

recorded huge personal bests.

Mackie-Wendel took more than ninety seconds off his best 5k time to finish under 23:30 and Reinitz ran under 25 minutes for the first time.

"I literally thought I was going to throw up," said Mackie-Wendel, post-race.

The junior is in his third year running cross country and tends to run his fastest time at the state meet, a trend that will hopefully continue this month.

In the middle school races, Aydin Bayford finished as the ninth boy, covering the 2.1 mile course in 13:05. Behind him was Chase Haines in 13:59.

Micah Drew, Pathfinder

Levi Reinitz of Seeley-Swan High School sprints in to the finish. Reinitz ran a nearly two-minute personal best on the 3.1 mile course.

In the girls' race, Hannah Ayers led for nearly half the race, before losing some ground and finishing fifth in 13:28.

Overall, it was a good day for Seeley Lake kids, according to Coach Haines who seemed to be everywhere on the course shouting at her athletes.

"We're so short on conditioning," said Haines, lamenting the poor training conditions Seeley Lake had earlier this year "It kind of took our will away."

Haines typically tries to start the season off with more fun activities to get the team excited-last year the runners did a triathlon and some bike runs- but this year poor air quality reduced the training options to next-to-nothing.

"Hopefully we'll put in a good week of training and do our best at state," said Haines. "That's all we can hope for."

The Blackhawks compete at the Class C State Championships in Helena Friday, Oct. 21.


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