By Ron Everingham
KALISPELL The KG KouGars traveled to the Kalispell last weekend to take on the second-best team in the nation and more than 20 other schools from Montana and Washington, at the Flathead Invitational.
KG finished fourth in the team competition, with the host Flathead Valley Regional High School taking top honors. The KouGars did top both AA school from Missoula as well as various other schools from around the state.
Eric Hanson was KGs top finisher with a 15th place finish and a time of 16:13.
Aaron Smith finished on the heels of Hanson in 16:15. Justin Antonich was 23rd, with a finishing time of 16:42. Virgil Stewart ran a 17:11 to take 40th and Deven Donovan rounded out the top five with a time of 17:31 in 51st place. Donovan ran almost a minute faster in the three-mile race than he has during his career.
Other finishers for the KouGars were Joey Fallo, who finished 100th with a time of 19:21 and Thomas Marshall who was 114th with a 20:26.
KG head coach Paul Andersen said he was pleased with the way they ran. Andersen added that this is the best KG has ever done at this meet. Andersen said it is nice to know that even without Travis and Trevor Stehman, that the other runners have picked up and moved to the forefront.
This was one of the biggest meets of the year for the KouGars. The Mountain West in Missoula, later this year, will be the only one bigger. Andersen said it is nice to be able to run in the big ones to get the athletes running in big races.
KG heads back to Cut Bank Friday for the Cut Bank Invitational. This will give Andersen a good opportunity to see how far his team has come in the last two weeks after running in Cut Bank to open the season.
The KouGars will again meet Browning, who finished third in Kalispell, and Andersen said that will be another measuring stick for his team.