Fergus girls look to improve on last year’s fourth-place finish

Ashley Brand competes at the Mountain West Invitational. Brand was the first Golden Eagle to cross the finish line at the meet.

By: 
Doreen Heintz
Sports Editor

When the seven runners for the girls’ varsity cross-country team toe the starting line at the Central A Fall Classic on Saturday in Livingston, the Golden Eagles will be looking to improve on their fourth-place finish from last year. The divisional meet takes place at Park High School on the same course the Fergus teams competed on in their first meet of the season. The start time for the junior varsity girls is 11:35 a.m. The varsity girls’ race begins at 12:40 p.m.
Expected to run on the Fergus varsity girls’ team are Trinity Edwards, Ashley Brand, Emily Smith, Sydney Kelsey, Lissy Southworth, Ivy Southworth and Kacee Gordon. Edwards and Gordon are freshmen, while Smith and Kelsey are sophomores. Brand is a junior, and the Southworth sisters are seniors.
Senior Courtney Brand might be a member of the team, although an illness may keep her from competing.
“She was running so well, so it’s really a shame,” said Coach Suzie Flentie about Courtney Brand. “With any luck, we’ll get her back in the mix.”
Smith, the two Brands, Kelsey and Ivy Southworth were all on last year’s state team.
“Lissy wasn’t able to run at state last year due to an injury,” added Flentie. “Kacee and Trinity were able to preview the state course by running in the 7-on-7 meet last Thursday.”
Edwards has been pulling double duty for the Golden Eagles this fall, as she is also a member of the Fergus volleyball team. She was the first Fergus runner to cross the finish line at the team’s home invitational at Pine Meadows earlier this year.

Girls compete well at Mountain West and 7-on-7 meets
Flentie has been pleased with the improvement of her girls’ teams during the season. In the Mountain West Invitational held on Saturday, Sept. 30 in Missoula, the Fergus varsity finished in eighth place among the Class A teams competing. Last Thursday at the 7-on-7 meet, the Fergus girls finished fourth against the Class A teams.
“They beat a few teams that they haven’t been able to get by this year,” said Flentie. “They have a tight pack time, and they keep on improving – that’s a recipe for success.”
A total of 68 teams competed at the Mountain West Invitational. There were 324 runners in the girls’ varsity race. Ashley Brand led the Fergus team, finishing in 147th with a time of 22:15. Smith, Kelsey and Lissy Southworth were close behind with times of 22:40, 22:53, and 22:56.
“Our top four pack time in Missoula was a remarkable 41 seconds,” Flentie said. “Courtney Brand and Edwards have been two of our top runners and weren’t able to be with us in Missoula. Ivy really stepped up to the challenge, taking a minute and 17 seconds off her best time to finish in 24:02. Gordon was right behind Ivy in her personal best time of 24:10. Kat Heiser also took a minute off, finishing in 27:03.”
At the 7-on-7 meet in Helena on Thursday, Smith, Ivy Southworth and Kacee Gordon all ran personal best times.
“It is a tough course, so a PR was kind of a big deal,” added Flentie.
Following is how the Fergus girls finished, along with their times, in Helena.
Trinity Edwards: 31st in first-runner race, 22:47.
Ashley Brand: 22nd in second-runner race, 22:34.
Emily Smith: 20th in third-runner race, 22:17.
Sydney Kelsey: 20th in fourth-runner race, 22:57.
Lissy Southworth: 21st in fifth-runner race, 23:33.
Ivy Southworth: 18th in sixth-runner race, 23:29.
Kacee Gordon: 13th in seventh-runner race, 23:26.
Class A team scores: (all seven runners’ placings were used to determine team scores).
Corvallis 86, Hardin 93, Hamilton 119, Fergus 145, Dillon 152, Columbia Falls 166, Laurel 168, Frenchtown 187, Belgrade 193, Browning 219, Havre 225, Park 235, Stevensville 237, Butte Central 287.

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