From Montana Girls at NTN/NXN

2014–Winter Storm Bozeman


2014 was the strongest year ever for Montana girls with 11 sub 18 performers and a new state best of 16:33 by Makena Morley at the Class B State Meet. At the NXNNW Regional meet Makena returned with her sister Bryn along with Annie Hill of Glacier. All three challenged for leadership in the race and Annie Hill finished on top for Montana as they ran an impressive 4-5-6.. All three turned down their individual invitation to NXN to try for a Footlocker berth in the Mountain Region in December. Also placing in the exclusive top 21 was 11th place Piper Meuwissen for the 2nd year running. The race was won by 6A Oregon State Champ Ella Donahu who had been ranked 22nd nationally going into the meet.

In addition to the the state’s nationally ranked super stars, 15 of the top twenty girls from the Montana State Meet went to NXNNW where they made an impressive showing in all the races. Since the times were meaningless at NXN this year due to 10” of snow (yes really) I’ll just list each girl’s best three mile time this year for a well-established MT race, along with their place at NXN. Kaitlin and Sarah Latcham competed in the open race with their teams so their places are just estimates for the Championship race.


NXN Place                                           Best 3 Mile Time

4      Annie Hill            9     Glacier      16:39 MW

5      Makena Morley         12    Bigfork     16:33 State

6       Bryn Morley           9     Bigfork         16:59 State

11     Piper Meuwissen       10    Bozeman    17:29 Butte

25    Samantha Sayer        12    Missoula Hellgate  17:30 Butte

28     Bailee Parker         11    West Yellowstone  17:30 Butte

33     Christina Aragon      11    Billings Senior   17:09 Billings

34     Bridget Creel         12    Bozeman       17:47 Butte

41    Molly MacDonald       10    Missoula Sentinel  18:21 Butte

42    Kenenni Wiegand       10    Bozeman  18:01 Butte

50     Amanda Nelson         12    Billings Skyview     17:25 7v7

54     Miranda Foster        11    Missoula Hellgate      17:40 Missoula

63    Sarah Foster          12    Bozeman   18:20 Butte

69     Kaitlin Wride         9     Flathead      17:55 Butte

95     Sarah Latcham         12    Whitefish    18:45 State


In 2014 5 varsity squads represented the Big Sky. AA Champs Bozeman were joined by Runnerup Hellgate in the Championship race, while Flathead, Billings Senior and Whitefish all brought teams to the Open race. In the 2014 regular season Bozeman bypassed some of the bigger invitationals that they have attended in the past. None the less at their opening meet at the Cardinal Classic in Soda Springs, Idaho the Bozeman girls bested 21 teams from Idaho, Utah and Wyoming without the help of Piper Meuwissen. Bridget Creel won the Varsity meet, while Maddie Vilhauer showed strength in the JV race that would earn her a varsity spot down the line. At the Mountain West Invitational the team took 2nd to Coeur D’Alene  (110/121) once again without Piper who had a fall cold. Finally at the Butte Invitational the team ran their full varsity squad. The Missoula teams showed up in force along with Bailee Parker of West Yellowstone who had yet to face competition. Typically the weather in Butte for this meet is windy and cold, but on this day the weather conditions were ideal and personal bests, and course records fell as the top dogs tangled.  Each of the Bozeman girls got into gutty races in their parts of the field. Marley May ended up as Bozeman’s fifth and nudged under 19:00 for the first time. Kenneni Wiegand and Sarah Foster each held their own in the hungry field and the team  ran an 18:07 team average which I believe is the best average ever in a traditionally formatted race. Eventual state runner up Hellgate placed 2nd behind a strong showing by Samantha Sayer. All of the state’s leading teams met at the 7v7 Invitational with Bozeman taking the win, Hellgate, Flathead and Glacier were all quite close, but Flathead ended up 2nd showing how close the race for the podium was going to be at the state meet. The team race at the state meet ended up close, but it wasn’t between Hellgate, Glacier and Flathead–It was between Hellgate and Bozeman. Bozeman ended up winning State for the 8th consecutive year by just two points. Needless to say there was some nail biting before the results were announced. Hellgate’s Samantha Sayer had the lowest stick of the two teams while Phoebe Jacques  from Bozeman finished one place in front of Hellgate’s 5th in the twentieth slot showing that cross country really is a team race all the way to the 7th runner. Flathead took the 3rd podium position behind a strong 7th place finish from freshman Kaitlin Wreide. Bozeman’s 18:35 team average tied Billings Senior for fourth best in the state ever, while Hellgate’s crew moved into the 7th best ever with their average of 18:39.


Bozeman 2014 (Coach Clint May)

Piper Meuwissen 17:51

Kenenni Weigand 18:28

Bridget Creel 18:39

Sarah Foster 18:46

Phoebe Jacques 19:10

Maddy Villhauer

Marley May


4th at NXN Northwest


Hellgate 2014 (Coach Anders Booker)

Samantha Sayer 17:47

Miranda Foster 18:27

Allison Monahan 18:49

Ellee Becker 19:00

Halle Smith 19:19


11th at NXN Northwest

 Officially named Winter Storm Bozeman brought chaos to Boise in 2014. Top notch meet volunteers were working furiously to plow 10” of fresh snow from the course during Friday’s course walkthroughs. Because the start was so huge, after some modifications to the course this year, the crew left that alone and racers had to start through 400m of ankle freezing snow. Fewer teams were seeded in the Championship race to allow more high powered individuals than ever before and it made it difficult for spectators to figure out what was happening with the team scores. Fiftieth in the race was roughly 25th in team scoring. In most years you would just subtract out about 10 runners at 50th place. After the start the top 6 runners broke away while the rest of the racers were trapped in the crush looking for decent footing in the mashed potato snow. The course occasionally had decent footing, but girls in a pack couldn’t get to it. Bozeman’s Piper Meuwissen found a way to work her way up through the pack and finished 11th overall with a team score of 3. Bridget Creel and Kenneni Wiegand worked together to pass dozens of girls on both sides throughout the race. Once Sarah Foster and Marley way found a way to run through the snow with their long legs they too were moving up through the pack. Maddie Vilhauer ran a strong last mile and everyone on the team was charging hard to the finish line.  Alas the team did not finish in the auto qualifying spots, but their 4th place finish gave the 5 returners a taste for more. Each of the girls ‘went into the tent’ to fill out the Nike forms with their shoe size, uniform size etc in case of the elusive at-large bid. Hellgate finished 11th in the Championship race. Camas, Washington, and Coeur D’alene, Idaho had impressive performances to take the team auto-qualifiers.



Posted on November 17, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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