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Abby Gorton, boys going to run at state

October 21, 2018 
By Coach Tyler Warner
Photos by Ellen Smith

Badger cross country Abby Gorton
Badger junior Abby Gorton was all by herself as she came to the finish line Thursday to win the 2018 Intermountain League individual championship for a trip to state. 
The Badgers hosted the District cross country meet Thursday, October 18, with he course starting and finishing within the friendly confines of Kenny Mendenhall Stadium. The course went out onto the section behind the high school called the "Badger Trail" and featured a variety of uphill, downhill, track, pavement and mostly natural surfaces.

The last time BFHS hosted Districts was in 2012, my first year as head coach, at Mirror Lake Golf Course. The decision for who hosts is made by IML XC coaches mainly on a rotation basis. And for the sixth consecutive year, I am privileged to take a full Badger team to state!

In the girl's race Abby Gorton won by a wide margin to earn the Intermountain League 2018 title, beating Priest River's Annika Rantala by 40 seconds in 20:07. But the Timberlake girls dominated the rest of the qualifying positions to win the district title. Ultimately, the Bonners Ferry girls couldn't get their top five runners closer together and missed qualifying by only six points.

Timberlake finished with 25 points, Priest River 54, Bonners Ferry 60.

Sophomore Madi McIntyre missed qualifying as an individual by only one place, finishing 10th at 22:32.

The highlight of the day for the girls, however, was Abby.

In August on the same course, Abby ran away from the field for a dominating first place finish, and followed up with a similar performance on Thursday to become the individual IML girls champion. Abby led the race pretty much from the start.

An early upset attempt by Rantala fell short, as after less than a mile she could not keep up with the pace set by Gorton. Abby, a junior, beat her August time by 36 seconds.

Complete BFHS girl's results: 1, Abigail Gorton, 20:07, 10, Madi McIntyre, 22:32, 14, Emily Gorino, 23:14, 22, Camille Ussher, 24:51, 26, Serenity Fahey, 25:19, 28, Jenna Brooks, 25:23, 31, Lauren Onstott, 27:21, 34, Liliana Brinkman, 29:21, 33, Stormy Fahey, 29:16, 38, Elizabeth Bourassa, 30:32, 39, Ella Huggins, 31:36, and 40, Erin Dineen, 32:24.

The The early favorite to win the boy's race was Cameron Parks from Priest River, but it was not to be. Somewhere around the second mile, Logan Hunt from Timberlake emerged to take the lead. Hot on the heels of Parks was Bonners Ferry's Hunter Smith in a gritty performance.

Badger cross country Hunter Smith
Badger junior Hunter Smith  pulled out all the stops, and came close to helping the Badger boys edge Priest River. Though that goal fell short, his effort did help secure the Badger boys a team berth in Lewiston.
Hunter knew that if his team wanted to have a chance to beat Priest River he'd have to have a big day. He worked his way through the pack to secure third place, critical for Bonners Ferry's hopes at upsetting Priest River.
Conner Alexander would secure the second set of points for Bonners Ferry at 12th place, the final individual qualifying position. Senior captain Samuel Gorton finished right behind Alexander at 13th, just missing the podium.

Ty Grigg and Austin Donn rounded out the scoring members of Bonners Ferry's team. In the end, like the girls, their upset bid came up just short. Team scores came out Kellogg 113, Coeur d'Alene Charter 94, Bonners Ferry 57, Priest River 50, and Timberlake won the team championship at 39 points.

However, third place did secure a trip to state for the Badgers. Timberlake, Priest River and Bonners Ferry all came into the race ranked in the top five in Idaho 3A (third, fourth and fifth, respectively) according to fastest times recorded on Athletic.net, and all three will represent the IML at State.

BFHS boy's complete times: 3, Hunter Smith, 17:47, 12, Connor Alexander, 18:19, 13, Sam Gorton, 18:24, 14, Ty Grigg, 18:48, 15, Austin Donn, 18:52, 21, Duncan McKechnie, 19:20, 31, Tyler Lucas, 20:03, 40, Levi Bonnell, 20:33, 50, Oscar Valladares, 21:03, 51, Brian Blackmore, 21:07, 52, Justin Mendenhall, 21:08, and 55, Connor Strickert, 20:41.

State will be held Saturday, October 27, at Lewiston Orchards in Lewiston. The Badgers ran the course earlier in the season and posted some of their fastest times of the season.

Abby Gorton did not run at that meet due to injury, but did travel and is familiar with the course. Hunter Smith comes into state ranked in the top 20 based on his time at Kellogg and Abby Gorton comes in ranked third based on her time, also at Kellogg.

Timberlake Girls will be the favorite to win the girls state championship while the Timberlake boys are projected to finish in the top three. Abby will race at 10 a.m. and the Badger boys will race at about 11:45 a.m.

I'd like to send out heartfelt thanks to those who helped make the 2018 District Meet a success; my assistant, Catherine DelSalle, and BFHS athletic director Conrad Garner get my first thanks for their support and great contributions of time and labor to developing this course. Thanks to my mentor, colleague and friend Paul Bonnell for running the finish line.

Finally, I want to thank all of my volunteers and parents, with special thanks to finish line warriors, Didier Balcaen, Louis Balcaen, Kennon "Gator" McClintock and Dave "Coop" Braden, Ellen Smith, Melinda and David Brinkman, Steve Ussher, Josh Sherven, Anne Onstott, Mary and Steve Gorton, Anne and Steve Donn, Mike Cowley for getting the scoreboard clock, Ada Bonnell, Scott Bourassa, Priest River athletic director Matt George, Priest River teacher and coach Jared Hughes for the sound system, and my team for their cooperation in setting up the course and quickly taking it down afterwards.

Complete results can be found at https://www.athletic.net/CrossCountry/meet/144400/results.

© Kootenai Valley Times
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83806