With a core of returning talent and a host of freshmen, the Columbia Falls High School cross-country team will look to make its mark on the conference this season.
“It’s a young, new team with a handful of proven veterans,” coach Richard Menicke said.
The team has 10 freshmen this year, which speaks volumes to the junior high school program, he said.
On the girls side, Menicke expects good things from all-state junior Samantha Mundel. She’s been running 10K races all summer. Last year, she placed third in the divisional meet and 15th at state.
Mundel is joined by fellow junior Meredith Stolte, who was an all conference runner. Menicke said he also has high expectations for Miranda Livingston, Karyssa Nelson and Kendra Cahoon.
On the boys side, seniors James Ratzlaff and Zayne Brunz are the top-two runners. Ratzlaff was injured most of last season but is working back into shape. Brunz took seventh in the divisional meet last year.
They’re joined by Shonn Roberts, Glenn Morden and Zak Fry, as well as freshman Winfield West.
“We’ve got a lot of pieces to have a pretty good season,” Menicke said.
The team will open the season Friday with the Libby Invitational. Menicke is assisted by Paula Koch.