The Columbia Falls cross-country team has a mix of seasoned veterans with a sprinkling of upcoming talent.
Anchoring the boys squad is Derrick Williams. Williams was a state Class A champion in the 1,600 and 800 meters in track last spring and took second in the 3,200. Last year, he was the Northwest A divisional champion and took second at the state meet.
Williams has a strong cast behind him, including sophomore James Ratzlaff, Zayne Brunz, Austin Dumay, Seth McCall and Kyle Hudson.
Coach Richard Menicke said it's a strong team but they'll miss Justin Whitman. Whitman took second in the division last year and would have been a senior but moved to Georgia.
Last season, the boys took fifth at the state meet and the girls took eighth.
This year's girls team also has some solid runners. Look for good things from returning runners Jinise Osborne, Cami Casazza, Tori Price and Casey Bauer. Osborne took ninth at the divisional and state meets last year.
Freshmen Carlee Brown and Meredith Stolte should also add valuable points, Menicke noted.
The Whitefish boys team should be tough this year, he said, but the girls field is "kind of wide open."
The team opens the season with a meet Friday Sept. 2 at Libby.