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Blackhawks Cross Country Place 4th and 11th at State


Lisa Maughan

The Blackhawks 2015 Cross Country Team (L-R): Lane Mackie-Wendel, Logan Maughan, Cera Strumpfer, Stephanie Robbins, Elizabeth Done, Cameron Haines and Logan Robinson. They were sporting their new uniforms at the state meet. Gayle Gordon and the Seeley Lake Duck Races funded the purchase of the new uniforms for the team this season. "The kids are really thankful for the donated duck money to get the new uniforms," said Coach Zelda Haines. "They are so proud of them." For the full story, see page 12.

The Seeley-Swan High School (SSHS) Blackhawks cross country team travelled to Great Falls to compete in the state meet, Oct. 24. Nearly all of the Blackhawks ran new personal records (PR). Senior Stephanie Robbins and junior Cera Strumpfer made the podium with their third and 11th place finishes, the first time SSHS has ever had two runners on the same podium at state. The girls team took fourth while the boys took 11th in the Class C meet.

Head coach Zelda Haines said it was a fast course with short, soft grass and four long gradual hills. While a few of the Blackhawks did not quite make a PR, they ran their best on a hilly course.

Robbins finished third behind Bailee Parker of West Yellowstone and Breelle Wacker of Winnett-Melstone. Her time of 19:07 beat rival and favorite for the race Lily Lang of Darby by more than 20 seconds.

"It was really an exciting race," said Haines. "She beat Kimberly Earhart from Plains coming into the chute." Haines added that a college cross country recruiter spoke with Robbins at the meet. "She's got the talent to be a college cross country runner."

This was Robbins first year running cross country. In the past she played volleyball in the fall. "I love running so much," said Robbins. "I'm really happy that I got to run cross country this year."

Strumpfer also made the podium with her 20:19 finish placing her in the top 15 and setting a new PR. Coach Haines told her not to let Jewlz Collins from West Yellowstone catch her. At one point in the race, Strumpfer told Haines that she heard the crowd cheering on Collins. "She really kicked it in gear," said Haines. Strumpfer finished 51 seconds ahead of Collins.

Strumpfer averaged 6:46 per mile in the race. Her goal has been to get under seven minutes all season. "I'd like to have more people on the team and to watch at the meets," said Strumpfer. "I just really like running and it gets me in shape for basketball."

The third leg of the Lady Blackhawks team sophomore Elizabeth Done finished 48th of 87 with a time of 24:32. While Done did not set a personal record, Haines said she came out and competed despite the smell of the oil refinery and nearby pond that messed with her lungs.

This is Done's second year in cross country. "I get to spend quality time with my teammates and I love the feeling that I did it [finished, set a PR and/or beating that 'one' person]," said Done.

The boys also had enough for a team this year placing 11th out of 27 teams. Freshman Logan Maughan finished first for the Blackhawks finishing 30th of 143 varsity runners with a time of 18:16. Maughan ran injured and was tired from the last home Blackhawks football game the night before. However, Haines was happy with how well he ran keeping a 6:05 pace.

"Cross country is a lot different than track because you cheer people on," said Maughan. While Maughan's first love is football, he still thought cross country was a lot of fun.

Freshman Logan Robinson was right behind Maughan finishing in 18:59 placing 43rd. While this wasn't his overall PR, Haines said this is the best time he has run on a hilly course.

Robinson said the hills have been the most challenging for him this season but they have gotten easier. "This is my first time running long distance," said Robinson. "I've always been a sprinter but I've enjoyed it."

Sophomore Cameron Haines was able to compete despite a hip injury that he has been fighting the last half of the season. Coach Haines said that he never pushed too hard, striding the whole race. He finished in 19:20 in 50th place. Haines told Coach Haines, "It is mental over pain."

Freshman Lane Mackie-Wendel again posted a PR dropping a minute and half off of his time finishing in 21:57, 114th place. Coach Haines said their interval training has really helped Mackie-Wendel get his pace into the low seven minutes.

Although Mackie-Wendel does not like the hills, he really enjoyed having something to do after school this fall. He also liked how supportive all the racers and the other teams are.

"I like running," said Mackie-Wendel. "I'm fast and I'm good at it."

"Overall they did really well. They all finished hard and competed," said Haines. "I'm so proud of the whole team. They have come a long way this season. I'm really looking forward to what we can do next year."


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