Polson cross country coach Matt Seeley isn’t afraid to use the term “rebuilding year” when referencing the 2019 season for the Pirates and Lady Pirates cross country team.
In spite of the Pirates and Lady Pirates cross country teams rebuilding, it’s still Polson cross country, which has been synonymous with producing top-tier talent not only in the Mission Valley but throughout the state of Montana.
“We just had our first day of practice, and we moved a lot of real standouts in their classes, such as Bea graduating, and Molly Sitter, and Quin Stewart. were all real standouts,” Seeley said. “We have to fill those spots with young, less experienced runners. We have a lot of new runners (on our team), and that is always a challenge to teach them.”
Teaching less experienced runners is a challenge Seeley admits he embraces, as Polson continues to cultivate their next wave of talent.
“It’s always fun to teach them, and see new stars become some of the most accomplished runners on the team such as Mason Sloan, who was all-state in both cross country and track, and should be a contender based on what he did at the end of the track season.”
This year, the rest of the boys team will be pretty young and have new runners, and one runner that has showcased promise early in the season, according to Seeley.
“It’s always interesting when one runner leaves to see who will move into the spotlight, and follow the other runners of the past, and become top contenders,” Seeley said. “Hopefully, they will rise to the occasion.”
The girls are losing Bea Frissell, who is considered the most decorated cross country and distance track runner in school history.
“It is a rebuilding year because we are losing Bea,” Seeley stated. “We are also losing Molly, a team leader, and my daughter Gwen Seeley, who was a good finisher that made it to state in track. They both took on some leadership moving into the spotlight after being behind some of those other girls.”
Seeley said he embraces the opportunity to coach some young talent and cultivate them to into the next state-contending champions.
“This is a neat time for me because we don’t have as many proven runners, but there is a lot of potential out there and it’ll be fun to see who steps up in the top-five or top-seven,” Seeley said. “It will also be fun to see who will step up in the early workouts and time trials, and who is going to be the varsity team, and where we are going to go from there.”