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Cross Country: Falk finishes 17th at state

| October 27, 2009 12:00 AM

The Western News

Through the first two miles, Libby High School’s Nikola Falk maintained a sixth-place position in the Class A state cross country meet in Missoula. By the time runners reached the final stretch with 400 meters to go, Falk still remained among the top 10.

Unfortunately for the Logger foreign-exchange student from Austria, a pack that had been right behind her finished very strong to knock Falk down to 17th place. Although a top 20 finish at state is a notable accomplishment, head coach Rod Tempel said she really wanted to place among the top 15.

“She just didn’t have enough speed at the end to hold them off,” Tempel said. “You could see the determination on her face … she gave it everything she had. But nobody felt worse than her. It’s still remarkable to finish that well.”

Falk ended up as the only Logger girl to finish the race. Michelle Hanson started but stepped in a hole about three-quarters of a mile into the race and twisted her knee. Two others did not compete because of illness.

Jacob Thomas turned in a sub-18:00 time for the boys to finish in 55th. Thomas covered the University of Montana course in 17:59.56.

“Last year, Jacob ran a little over 20 minutes and this year, he runs 17:59. That’s basically two minutes that he cut off his time,” Tempel said. “He needs to cut two more minutes off to around 16-flat to be competitive (for a state title).”

Jacob McCrohan (103rd, 18:48.97) and Zeke Carlson (117th, 19:26.25) each finished under 20 minutes for the Loggers. Others finishing for LHS were Matt Nelson (130th, 20:43.20), Trevor Hogan (132nd, 21:32.04), Kyle Stern (134th, 22:30.48) and Jesse Nelson (135th, 25:54.00).

“We’ve got a nucleus on this team that I firmly believe can place next year at the state meet,” Tempel said, “but we’ve got to cut a minute to a minute-and-a-half off everybody’s times.”