Western Divisional was a special day for the cross country team

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The team walks the last leg of the junior varsity 5k race Saturday with Kimberly Peacock, with hat on in the center. (Photo courtesy of Jim Peacock)

The Western A Divisional meet in Frenchtown last week was more than just a race. It was a great walk for Kimberly Peacock.

The Columbia Falls standout athlete is battling leukemia, but was still able to walk the 5k junior varsity race.

“It was awesome,” said her father and coach, Jim Peacock. “A month ago, she needed help to walk up our driveway, and she couldn’t walk up the two stairs on our porch by herself. On Saturday, she walked just over 3 miles, and her team joined her for the last three-quarters of a mile and got her to the line, arm-in-arm.”

Kimberly Peacock has been taking chemotherapy treatments locally after being initially treated in Denver earlier this year.

Coach Peacock was pleased with the way the team performed at the meet, in the last tune-up for the state A meet in Helena this Saturday.

“We had 38 kids race and 28 of those kids ran a personal record, and the other 10 ran their second fastest races of their careers,” he said. “Gabe Knudsen, Joe Lamb, and James Role were awarded all-division honors with fifth, ninth, and 14th places. The boys finished third as a team, but I feel we should fare just as well or better against these guys in a bigger race like state. Our split from our first to fifth runner is tight, and the back of our pack will make the scoring difference up at state, meaning a race with more runners should affect other teams more than it will affect us. We will see.”

Knudsen clocked a 16:32.2, Lamb a 17:03.1 and Role a 17.16.7.

On the girls side, the Wildkats were without Raina Crowell, who was ill.

Top runner was freshman Lara Erickson who took 11th with a time of 20:18.09, good for all-division honors. Genevieve Delorme ran a 20:43.09, which gave her 17th place on the windy, flat, course.

“Knudsen’s time officially makes him the fifth fastest runner in school history,” coach Peacock said. “That puts him on our cross-country Hall of Fame board. Also on the Hall of Fame board, James Role tied the school’s freshman record. Lara Erickson’s time makes her the fifth fastest girl in school history, putting her on the girls’ board. Joe Lamb narrowly missed getting on the school board, and Gen Delorme also missed the board by seconds.”

State is in Helena on Saturday.

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