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Griz run to team title in Billings

03 Dec 2021 | 06:37 | Cross Country

Led by top-10 finishes from Maxwell Scott and Thomas Mordy, the Montana men’s cross country squad ran to the team title on Friday at the Yellowjackets/Battlin’ Bears Open in Billings.

The Grizzlies placed all six of their runners in the top 20 to outpoint second-place MSU Billings and third-place Black Hills State.

“I feel really, really good about it,” said coach Clint May, who will take his top six athletes, none of whom raced in Billings on Friday, to UC Riverside’s meet next weekend.

“There was no give-up today. They just raced really, really hard. That’s something you have to have in a team if you’re going to get better, so I’m really pleased.”

Scott and Mordy finished eighth and ninth, covering the eight-kilometer course in times of 25:40 and 25:43, respectively, and they got to the finish line in different ways.

Mordy was among the handful of leaders through the first two miles before hanging on for a top-10 finish.

Scott was hanging around 25th place through the first mile marker before steadily picking off runners on his way to the top 10.

“I really left the race plan in the hands of the guys,” said May, “in part because I didn’t know what we would see from the competition.”

At the Montana Open on Sept. 24, Rocky Mountain’s Jackson Wilson and MSUB’s Ase Ackerman finished in the top four, along with two runners from Montana State.

Wilson won Friday’s race in a time of 24:50. Ackerman was third in 25:10.

“When we were racing at home, we just didn’t look like we were comfortable to make an effort to go with it,” said May.

“That wasn’t the case today. Thomas was right up in first, second or third for the first two miles of the race with no regrets.

“Max chose a completely different race plan, one that was a good plan for him right now. We’re still building base under him, so he ran a really smart race and moved up really well.”

Simon Hill (25:57) placed 12th, Hunter May (26:12) was 16th, Ben Cikutovich (26:17) was 19th, Rogelio Mares (26:19) was 20th.

“One of the bright spots was Simon. He just was tough today. That’s by far the best race he’s had in college. I was really pleased and happy for him,” said May.

In the women’s five-kilometer race, Montana had only four runners, making the Grizzlies ineligible to be scored in the team standings.

Carly Dahms led Montana, placing 14th in a time of 19:45. Jaylyn Hallgrimson (20:23) was 23rd, McKinlee Mihelish (20:33) was 27th, Jocelyn Stansberry (20:40) was 30th.

“I was pleased with how they raced,” said May, who put his team through a difficult workout on Tuesday, the effects of which were still being felt by the younger women on his squad.

“They raced today still feeling a little bit of that leftover fatigue. This will benefit the girls down the line, but for today I think they were running on tired legs.

“How they raced and how they competed with the individuals who were with them, I left feeling really, really pleased with them.”

The UC Riverside Highlander Invitational will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, in Riverside, Calif.