HELENA — The Helena High cross country team swept the 46th annual crosstown cross country meets over Helena Capital on Wednesday with the boys prevailing 22-33 and the girls just missing a perfect score 16-51.
It was the Helena boys 18th consecutive intra-city championship, having last lost to the Bruins in 2000.
The latest winner of the highly anticipated individual championship at a cold and blustery Bill Roberts Golf Course, however, was Capital senior Jesse McMurtrey.
McMurtrey and Bengals junior Jonah Fisher have been taking turns beating each other all fall, and Wednesday the Capital runner made it two in a row.
McMurtrey out-kicked his counterpart to the finish line with a 10-second victory, clocking a 16:49, compared to Fisher's 16:59.
"I stayed close behind Jonah for the first part of the race, but when I saw his arms stiffen up a little about halfway through the second lap, I decided it was time to go and passed him," said McMurtrey, who beat Fisher by seven seconds at last week's Capital City 7 of 7 race. "At the end I just wanted to finish strong because I knew he was right behind me.
"I wanted to make a good showing today and I felt pretty good ... I was lifting my heels up better."
Fisher led a solid Helena contingent, with Bengals garnering the next four places. Trystan Brewer placed third in 17:10, Clayton Ryerson was 1 second behind in fourth-place at 17:11 and Zane Rousch was fifth with a 17:13.
Capital's Peter Lund (17:23) and Carlin Onstad (17:46) placed sixth and seventh, followed by Helena's Sam Sullivan (17:51) in eighth. Next came Capital's Travis Petersen and Danny Leas in ninth and 10th, ahead of Nicholas Pida of Helena in 11th place.
"It went kind of as expected, we had a good grouping with just 14 seconds separating out top four, and only three seconds between the 2 and 4," Bengals coach Kelley Gilbert said. "And our No. 5, Sam Sullivan, has done a nice job for us."
In the girls race, Helena freshman Kylie Hartnett ran away from the pack, winning in 19:21. The Bengals took the top four places with Jasmine Wilkerson finishing runner-up in 20:03, ahead of Rylie Schoenfeld and Kylee Wetzel, at 20:07 and 20:27.
Capital's Emma Roher-Fitzhugh prevented a perfect score (15 points) by Helena when she placed fifth in 20:35. Katelyn McKay of Helena ran a 21:09 and was sixth.
"I felt that the girls ran well, they pushed through the weather and tried to stay focused," HHS coach Linda Paull said. "Kylie (Hartnett) had another great race and Jasmine had a PR."
Hartnett, who placed fourth at the 7 of 7 and is the school's freshman record-holder, described how running way out in front is "mostly mentally hard."
"This was my first time in high school running in the lead when there wasn't someone in front of me, so I had to just try and work hard to push myself," she said.
The rest of each team's top finishers were Capital's Zoey Wall (21:36) in seventh place, Willa McCardle (21:42) in eighth and Ella Krumm in 13th; and Helena's Paige Aasved and Grace Oelkers, came in ninth and 10th.
"Congrats to the Capital girls for giving us a great meet. It's always fun to watch athletes compete," Paull said.
Next up for all four teams is the State Meet in Missoula on Oct. 20.