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STATE 3A, 2A, 1A CROSS COUNTRY: Kozeluh's breakthrough

| October 31, 2021 1:15 AM

EAGLE — During the spring high school sports season, first-year Coeur d'Alene Charter track and field coach Gordon Smith told McKenna Kozeluh to go win a state cross country championship.

But first, she had to believe.

"I never thought I'd come this far," Kozeluh said. "I was 24th at state (cross country) last year and never really thought I could do it. I think he was just trying to motivate me, but that's when I got more serious about running."

Kozeluh took Smith's advice and ran with it, winning the state 3A title in 18 minutes, 46.8 seconds on Saturday morning at Eagle Island State Park.

"I had a feeling I could do it, but the girl behind me (Fruitland's Emma Hillam) had beaten me at state in the 3,200," Kozeluh said. "It was definitely a battle. I was really nervous going into the race."

Kozeluh pulled away in the last 300 meters to win by nearly seven seconds.

"On the course, there's a sharp 180-degree turn at the end before you head to the finish line," Kozeluh said. "Once I saw that, I knew I should make my move and sprint to the finish. All I kept thinking was 'it's just a few more seconds and I'd be there.' It was more mentally challenging than physically for me."

As for that physical part ...

"Once I finished, I collapsed and couldn't feel my legs because I was so cold," Kozeluh said. "Once I got up, I just waited for my team."

"She's worked tremendously hard," first-year Coeur d'Alene Charter cross country coach Dana Fleming said. "She has incredible mental stamina and grit. When she came around the corner toward the finish, it was just her and the gal from Fruitland, but I knew she was going to win. She had her game face on and kind of was in a zone."

Other area medalists (top-20 finishers) included Coeur d'Alene Charter senior Logan Davis (sixth), Timberlake sophomore Jacob Barnhart (ninth), Bonners Ferry senior Connor Alexander (10th) and Kellogg sophomore Makai Peak (13th).

Davis was runner-up at state in 2020 at the Portneuf Wellness Complex in Pocatello.

"Logan got pretty sick in the middle of the season," said Fleming of Davis, who had COVID-19. "It really slowed his momentum, but he ran an incredibly strong race today. Given the circumstances, I don't think he could have ran a better race."

Timberlake's boys and the Cd'A Charter girls each finished seventh.

North Fremont (boys) and Salmon (girls) won team titles in the 2A race.

Victory Charter (boys) and Logos (girls) won 1A team titles.

3A

BOYS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Sugar-Salem 42. 2, Snake River 47. 3, Kimberly 117. 4, Fruitland 143. 5, South Fremont 145. 6, Buhl 161. 7, Timberlake 208. 8, Parma 218. 9, McCall-Donnelly 232. 10, Coeur d’Alene Charter 239. 11, Bonners Ferry 268. 12, Marsh Valley 313.

STATE MEDALISTS (Top 20) — 1, Keegan McCraw, Snake River, 16:19.3. 2, Lincoln High, Snake River, 16:21.2. 3, Jack McManus, McCall-Donnelly, 16:53.2. 4, Brigham Dalling, Sugar-Salem, 16:57.6. 5, Mason Smith, Sugar-Salem, 16:59.9. 6, Logan Davis, Cd’A Charter, 17:03.5. 7, Porter Holt, Sugar-Salem, 17:06.4. 8, Grayden Devries, Kimberly, 17;07. 9, Jacob Barnhart, Timberlake, 17:10.3. 10, Connor Alexander, Bonners Ferry, 17:11.1. 11, Mason Lewis, Sugar-Salem, 17:12.2. 12, Connor Beck, South Fremont, 17:13.9. 13, Makai Peak, Kellogg, 17:14.8. 14, Leo High, Snake River, 17:23.4. 15, Brock Goodwin, Snake River, 17:24.2. 16, Dylan Ball, Sugar-Salem, 17:24.9. 17, George Spiers, McCall-Donnelly, 17:26. 18, Rylan Anderson, Snake River, 17:27. 19, Parker Dupree, Sugar-Salem, 17:28.3. 20, Bronson Beus, Parma, 17:33.4.

LOCALS — 49, Evan Howell, Timberlake, 18:19.4. 50, Izan Gonzalez Martin, Cd’A Charter, 18:20.7. 52, Nathan Russell, Cd’A Charter, 18:25.1. 53, Dylan Lord, Priest River, 18:27.1. 54, Dylan Nelson, Timberlake, 18:29.6. 55, Taylor Menti, Timberlake, 18:40.7. 59, Jacob Howell, Timberake, 18:49.3. 61, Mason Zollinger, Timberlake, 18:52.7. 63, Levi Bonnell, Bonners Ferry, 19:02.3. 67, Colin Fairchild, Bonners Ferry, 19:10.3. 72, Nolan Oyler, Cd’A Charter, 19:44.4. 75, Justin Strugar, Bonners Ferry, 20:09.8. 76, Wyatt Smith, Bonners Ferry, 20:10.6. 77, Jack Rigg, Cd’A Charter, 20:12.4. 79, Connor Smith, Cd’A Charter, 20:16.2. 80, Ryan Beckle, Bonners Ferry, 20:29.1. 86, Carson Dineen, Bonners Ferry, 22:29.6. 88, Andrew Magini, Cd’A Charter, 23:47.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Snake River 67. 2, Sugar-Salem 69. 3, South Fremont 82. 4, Weiser 126. 5, Kimberly 162. 6, Parma 177. 7, Coeur d’Alene Charter 187. 8, Bonners Ferry 197. 9, Filer 215. 10, Fruitland 218. 11, Timberlake 274.

STATE MEDALISTS (Top 20) — 1, McKenna Kozeluh, Cd’A Charter, 18:46.8. 2, Emma Hillam, Fruitland, 18:53.6. 3, Jaresa Jackson, Sugar-Salem, 19:25.2. 4, Cecily Eageton, South Fremont, 19:32.6. 5, Kailee Lerew, Weiser, 19:41.1. 6, Kylee Quinton, Weiser, 19:41.3. 7, Hailey Raymond, Snake River, 20:00.9. 8, Ryley Klingler, Sugar-Salem, 20:05.1. 9, Ainslee Miller, Snake River, 20:06.7. 10, Reagan Van Orden, Snake River, 20:10.7. 11, Alli Stastny, Kimberly, 20:11. 12, Christa Edler, Filer, 20:11.1. 13, Maya Kelsey, Filer, 20:30.5. 14, Sage Lyon, South Fremont, 20:38.9. 15, Breklynn Gee, South Fremont, 20:40. 16, Hailey Dalling, Sugar-Salem, 20:48.1. 17, Kendall Rynearson, Weiser, 20:55.1. 18, Sophia Dougherty, Sugar-Salem, 21:00.7. 19, Mckenzie Winegar, South Fremont, 21:00.9. 20, Allister Dillow, Snake River, 21:03.9.

LOCALS — 22, Natal Davis, Cd’A Charter, 21:09.6. 25, Camille Ussher, Bonners Ferry, 21:19.2. 26, Ceci Roemer, Bonners Ferry, 21:27.8. 35, Sydney Beckle, Bonners Ferry, 21:55.1. 37, Haileyann Johnson, Timberlake, 22:05.9. 38, Lacey Medina, Kellogg, 22:07.7. 48, Aubrey Jenson, Timberlake, 22:50.2. 50, Izabella Cornell, Timberlake, 23:05.3. 55, Jane Robinson, Cd’A Charter, 23:29.4. 58, Lauren Stephens, Cd’A Charter, 24:06.9. 59, Leah Moellmer, Bonners Ferry, 2411.6. 62, Jayden Byars, Bonners Ferry, 24:28.9. 63, Peyton Duffield, Cd’A Charter, 24:30.7. 67, Nora Thorshaug-Wang, Cd’A Charter, 25:06.1. 75, Liliana Brinkman, Bonners Ferry, 27:07.2. 76, Fallon Pryor, Timberlake, 27:22.5. 77, Trina Johnson, Bonners Ferry, 28:07.6. 78, Elisa Franchini, Cd’A Charter, 28:44.6. 79, Rachel Nelson, Timberlake, 28:50.6.

2A

BOYS

TEAM SCORES — 1, North Fremont 60. 2, Salmon 64. 3, Nampa Christian 87. 4, West Side 116. 5, Soda Springs 131. 6, Valley 139. 7, Ririe 172. 8, Melba 183. 9, Cole Valley Christian 185. 10, Ambrose 240.

STATE CHAMPION — Grady Mylander, Nampa Christian, 15:15.8.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Salmon 62. 2, Soda Springs 66. 3, Malad 86. 4, Melba 116. 5, Cole Valley Christian 125. 6, Ambrose 150. 7, Declo 155. 8, Ririe 184. 9, North Fremont 210.

STATE CHAMPION — Cameron Moore, Ambrose, 19:05.8.

1A

BOYS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Victory Charter 53. 2, Rockland 70. 3, Grace 75. 4, Logos 90. 5, Liberty Charter 120. 6, Butte County 176. 7, Oakley 191. 8, Rimrock 214. 9, North Star Charter 223. 10, Troy 242.

STATE CHAMPION — Ian Stockett, Victory Charter, 15:59.2.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES — 1, Logos 39. 2, Raft River 41. 3, Victory Charter 50. 4, Grace 103. 5, Butte County 154. 6, Dietrich 157. 7, Troy 173.

STATE CHAMPION — Allie Black, Raft River, 19:20.7.

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