Several Columbia Falls runners battled through illness Saturday as the boys took second and the girls were fifth at the Flathead Invite at Rebecca Farm in Kalispell.
It was another strong performance for both teams as the boys finished behind only AA Sentinel while the girls were in close competition with fellow A schools Corvallis and Whitefish.
“Our team has been fighting some illnesses for the past week, and several of our kids weren’t in top form. I’m sure we’ll continue to deal with this for the coming weeks as it works its way through everyone,” head coach Jim Peacock said.
Aidan Jarvis once again led the way for the Wildcat runners, finishing third behind Sentinel’s Tanner Klumph and Ronan’s James Normandeau. Joe Lamb also finished in the top-10 for the Cats, coming in eighth.
After running the start of the race together, the Cats team spread out down the stretch as James Role was 13th, Seth Umbriaco was 15th, James Peterson finished 27th, Bailey Sjostrom was 31st and TJ Jacobi came in 76th.
“We score very well as a team when Jarvis and Lamb have good races, but the depth of the team is really important to team scoring,” Peacock said.
Lara Erickson finished fourth to lead the Wildkat runners in the girls race as Columbia Falls finished fifth overall. Hannah Sempf and Alyssa Blankenship both set personal best times as Sempf finished 24th and Blankenship was 27th. Katerina Riegelova was 38th, Siri Erickson was 44th, Azlyn Caldwell came in 47th and Courtney Hoerner was 62nd.
“I’m thrilled with our improvement again. The teams that beat us are among the best teams in the state right now, and our girls are competitive with them.” Peacock said about the girls’ race.
The runners have a tough schedule coming up as they were in action at Thompson Falls Tuesday and will run again in Great Falls Friday. They will be on the course again in Whitefish Sept. 24 and in Missoula the 26th, making it five races in 15 days.
“We will gain a lot of racing experience over the next two weeks, but we’ll also have to do a good job taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, and keeping up with school,” Peacock said. “As for this week, I’m really happy with what I saw. The kid’s did great, continued to learn, and they are racing with a competitive mindset. It is fun to see how running for the overall betterment of the team score is driving their personal achievements.”