(University of Montana media release)
MISSOULA - The Grizzly cross country squads swept the team titles at the Montana Invitational at the UM Golf Course on Friday afternoon, and June Eastwood helped the Grizzlies claim the top five spots in the women’s race with a first-place finish.
Eastwood had finished second to freshman Beatrix Frissell at Montana’s first two races this fall. On Friday they did what they’ve been doing all season -- running mostly side by side -- but this time Eastwood got to the tape first, by a mere tenth of a second.
She and Frissell both had times of 17:55.
“Coach talks about having synergy as a team, and I think that’s the case with me and Bea. We work really well together,” said Eastwood. “We went in wanting to work together. We moved through the course really well and put a good race effort in.”
A late surge gave Montana the top-five spots in the women’s race, which, with no other Division I runners or teams, was not surprisingly dominated by Grizzlies.
Samantha Engebretsen (18:22) was third, Hannah Wylie fourth (18:29) and Rachel Torrey fifth (18:30). Emily Pittis (18:39) was top 10, Isabella Nellos (18:59) top 12 and Carly Dahms (19:29) top 20.
“I looked back a mile and a half into the race, and I saw the whole team within maybe 15 seconds of each other,” said Eastwood. “It was really good to see such a strong team showing, especially since we’ve been so focused on being so team-centered this year.”
If the women’s race was all about the Grizzlies, the men’s race was tilted in favor of the Buffaloes, or at least a former Colorado standout.
Racing in his hometown, Adam Peterman clocked a time of 24:28 over the eight-kilometer course to win the race by nearly a minute.
Behind him were two Montana State runners who are redshirting this fall. With their teammates off to Pennsylvania to race on Saturday, Ben Perrin and Levi Taylor finished second and third.
Rocky Mountain’s Jackson Duffey came through in fourth. Montana would then take five of the next six spots, led by Will Dauenhauer (26:03), Hunter May (26:03) and Ben Vanderbosch (26:04).
“I was hoping we might hang a little tighter (with the top three), but they got away from us early,” said coach Clint May. “Our guys held together in a nice pack. They found themselves in a position where they said, Let’s just work together. The last two miles there wasn’t much change.”
The men’s team had four true freshmen in the top 23, a group led by Maxwell Scott and his 10th-place finish.
“We have a ton of very happy freshmen that ran really, really well,” said May. “There were no disappointments in either race and no real surprises. This is about what we thought would happen.”
Montana’s final race before next month’s Big Sky Conference Championship will be the Bronco Invitational, held in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Saturday, Oct. 19.