Cats runners earn divisional title in Hamilton

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    The Wildcat cross country team of TJ Jacobi, Aidan Jarvis, Seth Umbriaco, James Petersen, James Role, Joe Lamb and Bailey Sjostrom celebrate with the Western A Division trophy in Hamilton Saturday. (Katrina Lamb photo)

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    The Wildcat cross country team of TJ Jacobi, Aidan Jarvis, Seth Umbriaco, James Petersen, James Role, Joe Lamb and Bailey Sjostrom celebrate with the Western A Division trophy in Hamilton Saturday. (Katrina Lamb photo)

The Wildcat cross country team brought home another trophy over the weekend as they won the divisional crown at the Western A Fall Classic in Hamilton.

Aidan Jarvis led the way for the Cats with a fifth place finish while James Role was ninth. Columbia Falls placed each of its fastest five runners in the top 15 as Jimmy-James Petersen was 10th, Seth Umbriaco was 12th and Joe Lamb came in 15th.

“Anytime you can put your five runners in the top fifteen places of a meet of this size, you are going to score really well,” head coach Jim Peacock said about the win. “We are running well, and I believe that our best team effort is still ahead of us. If we come to state with our minds and legs ready, we give ourselves a shot against the other solid teams in the state. Overall, the meet was a good tune up for state.”

According to Peacock, Role started the race aggressively and pushed the pace of the race by challenging the leaders through the first mile. Jarvis sat on the heels of the leaders, showing some patience and just riding out the pace that the leaders set. Role fell off pace a little in the second mile, and Jarvis stayed steady.

The Columbia Falls girls finished fourth, despite competing with just five runners.

“We like to use the meet as a practice or dress rehearsal for the upcoming state meet, so we don’t put a huge emphasis on overall results of this meet, but do like to use it to sharpen up before state,” Peacock said. “A few of our varsity girls are nursing some boo-boos right now, and we ended up pulling them from the race at the last minute just to give them a little extra TLC before the state meet.”

Lara Erickson led the way for the Wildkats, running an aggressive race from the start and holding on at the end to finish fourth. Erickson’s sister, Siri, was the second-best finisher for the Kats, coming in 22nd while Rebekah Walker was right behind in 23rd. Courtney Hoerner was 30th and Katerina Rigelova was 42nd.

The Kats finished the race in a tie with Hamilton for third, but wound up taking fourth via tiebreaker.

“I strongly believe that our girls’ team can compete with the top teams in our division if we play our cards right and everyone’s feeling good. That’s exciting as we head into state,” Peacock said. “As it’s shaping up, I feel there are five or six teams that are in the mix for bringing home state hardware, and we are one of those.”

The junior varsity squads finished out the year at the meet as the girls won the race while the boys were fifth.

Kara Mohr led the way for the girls with a fourth-place finish while Kimberly Peacock was fifth and Emma Upton was eighth. Outside of the top-10, Bailey Auge was 23rd, Raedyn McDonald was 24th, Gracie Mee was 25th, Emerald Templin was 27th, Ashley Snyder was 33rd and Julianna MacPherson was 42nd.

For the boys, Aiden Judge was 14th, Colin Smith was 16th, Coleman Wollenzien was 17th, Hayden Mohr-Mead was 22nd, Mason Mendenhall was 32nd, Braydon Hallett was 35th and Jonathan Blankenship was 43rd.

“Part of having a solid varsity program is the development on the newer and younger runners through their JV experience,” Jim Peacock said.

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