The Columbia Falls cross-country teams will look to make their mark this season behind several quality runners from last year.
On the boys’ side, Gabe Knudsen has been running all summer long and is in the best shape of his high school career.
Knudsen recently was the top runner in a team trial last week, said coach Jim Peacock.
“He put in a really solid summer,” Peacock said.
Last year Knudsen was 19th at the state meet with a time of 16:31.
This year the state will run its cross-country meets at 5 kilometers, which makes the course about 200 yards longer than the 3 miles they used to be.
For boys, it’s not that big of a deal, but for girls, that could mean a pretty good chunk of time, Peacock noted.
Knudsen is joined by teammates Joe Lamb, Bryce Bennett, Seth Umbriaco, James Role, and Aiden Jarvis to name a few.
The girls team is led by Genevieve DeLorme, who was 17th at state last year with a time of 19:53.27. Also returning is Raina Crowell, Kara Mohr, Raychel Hoerner and Lacy Johns.
Another top runner is freshman Lara Erickson, who is already the No.2 runner on the squad early in the season.
Mohr is coming off a broken foot she suffered in track.
The Wildkats top runner, sophomore Kimberly Peacock, is out for the season battling leukemia. The hope is she can come home from treatment at Denver’s Children Hospital in September.
The team has dedicated its season to her and her recovery.
The team opened the season Aug. 26 at Libby.