Boys take home second, led by Cash McCormick’s All-State performance
Thursday, October 25, 2018
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Photo by Janet Erickson

Returning home Saturday evening, the Bulldog cross-country teams are escorted into town by the Hardin Volunteer Fire Department. The girls brought home the state championship and the boys took second place. Pictured from the left are (top row) Marion Hugs and Libby Nedens; (top middle) Hannah Mark, Khylah Two Leggins, Sossity Spotted Wolf, Ivery Fritzler and Journey Erickson; (middle row) Kevin Shane, Azalea Torralba, Aaron Birdinground, Clement Not Afraid, Toni Wolfname and Eric Woods; and (bottom row) Assistant Coach Chris Fuchs, Quaiden Whiteman, Trajan Hill, Beau Black Eagle, Cash McCormick, Keyshawn Rogers, Alduran Takes Enemy and Head Coach Cindy Farmer.

While the Lady Bulldogs brought home the cross-country state title for the third year in a row, the real surprise was the boys placing second in Class A action. At the beginning of the season, no one outside of Hardin expected them to compete at that level.

“I knew they would surprise people,” said Head Coach Cindy Farmer. “Second place at state is a big accomplishment and I’m proud of them.”

What set the boys apart from every other Class A team in the state was not necessarily having a runner or runners in the top 10; it was the pack time of the top five runners.

Their time of just 28 seconds was the best in state Class A competition, bringing them to second.

“It was that sheer determination and togetherness that propelled them,” Farmer said. “They loved pushing each other.”

As for the Ladies, what can be said besides “three-time state champs?” This is a first for Hardin’s cross-country teams. The last time Hardin had three back-to-back state titles was when the Lady Bulldog volleyball team took state in 1993, ‘94 and ‘95.

“It was all about the team,” Farmer said. “They trusted each other and that’s what set them apart. I’m just thrilled for them.”

Ivery Fritzler, the Ladies’ fifth runner in, showed what it means to gut it out. She fell down short of the finish line, got herself back up, and pushed across for a 23rd place overall finish, helping to bring the team to their state championship. Fritzler was taken to the hospital in Missoula to be checked out and, according to Farmer, is okay.

In their run for the state championship, Hardin was led by Khylah Two Leggins, who placed third overall with a time of 19:32. Libby Nedens followed with a time of 19:48 for a fifth place finish overall.

Third in for the Ladies was Marion Hugs, who placed ninth overall with a time of 20:08.

Fourth in for Hardin with a 20:43 was Journey Erickson, who placed 16th overall.

Fritzler’s fifth place finish carried a time of 21:22.

Sixth in was Azalea Torralba, 37th overall, and Toni Wolfname at 53rd.

Two Leggins, Nedens and Hugs earned All-State honors.

For the boys, Cash McCormick led the way, running the course in 17:16 and 13th place overall. Second in for the boys was Trajan Hill for a 17th place finish with a 17:29. Third in for the boys was Beau Black Eagle, placing 24th overall with a time of 17:37. Fourth in for Hardin was Aaron Birdinground, who placed 25th overall with a 17:39.

Fifth in for the Bulldogs was Keyshawn Rogers, who was 28th overall with a time of 17:44. Sixth in was Kevin Shane at 18:30, and seventh was Clement Not Afraid at 18:44.

McCormick, a freshman earned All-State honors for his 13th place finish. The top 15 finishers make the All-State team.

Both Bulldog teams are young and will be back to make another dash toward a Class A win next year. The girls lose no one to graduation, and the boys only will lose one senior, Trajan Hill.