Written by Al Stover
On a chilly Saturday morning, Markell Blount, Shawn LeDeau and Jeremy Azure run on the track as the wind blows through their hair.
With coaches, teammates and family members cheering them on, Blount, LeDeau and Azure ran two laps around the 1.5 mile course — the same course used by their teammates at the Wolf Point junior high meet, two weeks ago.
Blount, LeDeau and Azure comprise three of the four members of the Wolf Point varsity boys’ cross country team. They ran a time trial in preparation for the Montana State Cross Country Meet, Oct. 26, at the UM Golf Course in Missoula. Their teammate Connor McKay, who was running a time trial on his own in Utah, will also be going to the state championships.
To qualify for the state championships, runners had to complete a race in 30 minutes or less.
McKay and Blount, who were the first two runners to join the team, qualified at the first meet of the season at Poplar. McKay qualified with a mark of 20:11 while Blount qualified at 20:20. LeDeau qualified at the Wolf Point Invitational back in September with a time of 21:48.
Azure, who has shown progress over the season, qualified at the MSU - Northern meet in Havre with a mark of 29:49.
Coach Janet Erickson said all four runners are “very dedicated and hard working.”
In 2012, Wolf Point sent three girls’ varsity runners: Emma Gourneau, Mariah Weeks and Alicia LeDeau. Wolf Point also sent one boys’ varsity runner, Garrett Horsmon, to the state championships.
In that same race, Blount, who ran for Frazer at the time, came in eighth place and made All-State.
Over the summer, Blount moved from Frazer to Wolf Point. Although transitioning to a new city and a new school was difficult for him, Blount said the experience helped him mentally prepare for the season and the race. He also said his goal is to make the top 15 again and bring a medal back to Wolf Point.
Blount also said he was happy to see his team qualify for the state championships.
“I push them and they pushed me,” Blount said. “I couldn’t have made it [this far] without them.”
Blount also said he may make another transition, this to the gridiron as he has been thinking about joining football next year.
“This might be my last meet and I am going to make it memorable,” Blount said.