The Columbia Falls cross country team had a good start to the season Friday as it competed at the Cut Bank Time Trials. The unscored meet featured four Class AA schools, several Class A, B, and C schools, and a team from Canada.
“It’s a fun early season race, and we don’t get to race against most of these teams very often, being out of our conference,” head coach Jim Peacock said. “We generally use the first race of the year to unload early season nerves, get a little experience under our belts, and to get in a competitive workout. The emphasis this weekend was just racing aggressively, and the team did just that.”
The Wildcats had three boys finish in the top 16 at the meet, led by Joe Lamb, who finished sixth overall with a time of 17:07. His time was just seconds off from his All-State effort last fall. Seth Umbriaco set a new personal best time, just 22 seconds behind Lamb, and James Role finished 16th, with only one Class A runner crossing the finish line ahead of him.
For the Wildkat girls, Lara Erickson led the way with an 11th place finish and a time of 21:12 while Raychel Hoerner was 21st. The Kats were without several runners at the meet, but of the 11 who ran, six ran their personal best times for the distance.
“Without knowing where to set her bar for the early season, Lara attached herself to the lead pack, and then hung on and endured the escalating discomfort that goes with an aggressive start. She did a great job. Everyone did,” Peacock said.
The teams will be close to home this weekend as they run at the Flathead Invitational at Rebecca Farms in Kalispell.
“This is a great opportunity to watch an amazing and tough group of kids represent their school. They would love to see the community showing support by spectating,” Peacock said. “For those that have never watched a cross country meet, it is a unique experience with a contagious energy.”
The schedule for the meet is as follows:
JV Girls 12:30 p.m.
JV Boys 1:15 p.m.
Varsity Girls 2:00 p.m.
Varsity Boys 2:30 p.m.
Middle School Girls 3:00 p.m.
Middle School Boys 3:30 p.m.