Multiple Madison County athletes finish in top 15 at state meet

The street going into the Bill Roberts Golf Course in Helena was lined with cars and buses –runners, coaches, parents and supporters packed into the state cross country meet on Oct. 21. The air was crisp and the wind was present but manageable as runners from across the state charged around the 3 mile course, all with hopes of taking home some hardware.

“We did really well,” said Mustang head coach Nichole Bailey. “I told the guys that this time they were running for a place rather than a time, and while there were no personal records today, they accomplished a lot.”

Head coach for the Panthers’, Myra Deavel, was beaming from ear-to-ear as her team took fourth place overall and her son saw the podium.

“It was awesome,” Deavel said. “They worked really hard and to have two in the top 15 is wonderful.”

Riain Deavel, senior, was the first Madison County athlete to cross the finish line on Saturday. While he did not beat his time from last year, R. Deavel finished 10th out of 125 runners.

“I wanted to beat my time last year but I didn’t do that,” he laughed. “It still feels good to make the top 10.”

R. Deavel said he hopes to continue his cross country career in college.

Panther teammate, Luke Dvorak, took the final top spot as he came in 15th and finished as an all-state runner.

Harrison’s only varsity runner, Derik DeFrance, ran a great race and finished right behind R. Deavel. DeFrance also participates on a traveling baseball team and had to miss some regular season races for baseball. Despite that, DeFrance still finished 11th out of 125 runners.

The first Falcon runner to cross the line was CJ Wayland, who finished right behind Quinten Hamilton and Ryan O’Connell of Ennis.

“They boys worked together,” said head coach Nancy Bell, adding the seniors were a little sad the season was over. “But they’re relieved that I won’t be asking them to run another 5K!”

The Twin Bridges boys’ team finished right behind the Mustangs in 12th place – the Mustangs finished 11th out of 36 teams.

On the girl’s side, the Lady Falcons were the only team to represent Madison County. Senior Savanna Stewart finished in 10th place, with teammates RaeAnne Bendon, Ruth Redfield and Blu Keim not far behind. The Lady Falcons finished ninth overall.

“(Stewart) has been working so hard to achieve a top 15 finish,” said Bell. “She is a high achiever and had hopes of a top five finish.”

Stewart became the first Twin Bridges cross country runner to be a four time all state runner.

“(Keim) had her best race of the season dropping a minute and half off her time,” said Bell.

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