Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Andi Bourne

Blackhawks Qualify for State at First Meet


September 21, 2017

Leon Kauffman

Sophomore Levi Reinitz ran his first cross county race. He qualified for state with a time of 27:31.

PABLO, MONT. – The Seeley-Swan High School Cross Country team took to the course for the first time this season at the Salish Kootenai College Silver Fox Golf Course Saturday, Sept. 16. While Head Coach Zelda Haines said the runners did well she saw it more of a practice than a competitive meet. Because of the smoke, the team has not been able to practice until this past week.

The team missed their first two meets due to poor air quality. With varsity football and volleyball games scheduled the same day, only four of the eight high school runners participated. Times and places were not available for all runners.

It was sophomore Levi Reinitz's first race. While he played soccer when he was young, this is his first time running competitively.

According to Haines, Reinitz met his two goals for the meet, run the entire course and qualify for state. He finished in 27:31 punching his ticket for the state meet.

"I was pretty happy with him," said Haines. "He is really determined to do this and track."

Juniors Cordell Turner and Lane Mackie-Wendel each returned to the team again this year. Haines said they both ran a good first mile but then struggled to keep it up. They finished in the 24-25 minute range. They both qualified for state.

Leon Kauffman

Jayla Kauffman is a dual athlete. She ran the race in Pablo after a full day of volleyball on Friday and less than six hours of sleep.

The solo Lady Blackhawk sophomore Jayla Kauffman got home Saturday morning at 1 a.m. after playing volleyball in Victor. She turned around at 7 a.m. to head to Pablo for the cross country meet. Even though she was exhausted, she also posted a qualifying time for state. Haines said as she ran in the final stretch to the finish line the announcer commented that she didn't have to run in the smoke anymore.

Eighth-grader Hannah Ayers and sixth-grader Aydin Bayford each dominated their middle school races. Haines was so proud of how well they did despite their limited training.

Ayers finished fourth out of 215 girls. She finished the 2.1 mile race in 14:39. Haines said she hung with the top three runners until the last half mile where the front runner put on some distance.

Bayford ran 14:03 placing him eighth out of 187 middle school boys.

"We were excited to get out there and practice," said Haines. "I wished we could have been further ahead but [considering we haven't been able to run due to the smoke] everyone did well."

Pending smoke conditions, the cross country team heads to Thompson Falls this Thursday, Sept. 21 for their next meet.


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