WHITEFISH -- The 2020-21 Frontier Conference cross country championships are Friday in Havre.
The men will take the course at Prairie Farms Golf Course for the 8,000-meter run at noon. The women will compete in the 5,000-meter race at 1 p.m. Carroll College, Montana Tech, Montana Western, Montana State-Northern and Rocky Mountain College are set to compete, but COVID-19 restrictions will be in place and spectators will not be allowed on the course.
Rocky Mountain College (13th), Carroll College (17th) and Montana Tech (20th) are each ranked in the latest NAIA men's cross country coaches top 25 poll. In three meets this fall, the Battlin' Bears have placed first once and second twice. They won the Frontier Conference Rumble, which was hosted by Carroll in Helena. Jackson Wilson crossed the finish line first with a time of 26 minutes, 52.20 seconds to pace the Bears.
Wilson was fourth among Frontier runners at the season-opening Frontier Conference Preview in Havre and third at the UM Western Bulldog Open on Oct. 23. Montana Tech's Henry Kakalecik won Western's meet with a time of 26:56.80. Carroll's Spencer Swaim won the first meet of the fall with a time of 26:53.70.
Other men's runners to watch include Matt Wilson of Montana Western and Field Soosloff of Montana State-Northern, who have both recorded top-5 finishes this season.
On the women's side, Carroll College (9th) and Montana Western (18th) are ranked in the NAIA top 25. Rocky Mountain College is also among the teams to receive votes in the coaches poll.
Montana Tech's Becca Richtman leads the women's runners into the championships after winning all three regular-season meets this fall. She won the Frontier Conference Preview with a time of 18:57.00, the Frontier Conference Rumble in 18:28.80 and the UM Western Bulldog Open in 18:58.50.
Carroll has a trio runners of just behind Richtman in Reghan Worley, Natalie Yocum and Elly MacHado. Western is paced by Eireann O'Connor, while Rocky has gotten multiple top-10 finishes from Mei-Li Stevens.
Allison Tigert has been MSU-Northern's top finisher this season, but the Skylights have only four runners on their women's team. Five runners are required to score as a team.
The first-place team and individual champions automatically qualify for the NAIA 2020-21 national championships, which are scheduled for April 9, 2021 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Individual runners who place in the top 15 but are not on the championship team are also eligible for consideration as automatic or at-large entrants for the national meet.