Columbia Falls Coaches Earn Recognition

Jim Peacock and O'Brien Byrd have been named Coaches of the Year in their respective sports

By Micah Drew
Columbia Falls cross country coach Jim Peacock reacts to the Wildkats winning the program’s first state championship. | Micah Drew

Columbia Falls cross country coach Jim Peacock has been named the 2021 Class A Girls Cross Country Coach of the Year, while boys soccer coach O’Brien Byrd earned the same honor for Class A Boys Soccer.

Peacock led a deep Columbia Falls roster to the school’s first ever girls cross country title behind individual champion Hannah Sempf. Behind her juniors Courtney Hoerner and Siri Erickson, and senior Julia Martin, finished within five seconds of each other in 18th, 20th and 21st respectively. Freshman Marissa Schaeffer rounded out the Wildkats scoring as the team won by a mere seven points over Corvallis.

Byrd guided the Wildcats soccer team to a second straight state championship berth against cross-valley rival Whitefish. A back-and-forth game was tied 2-2 going into the final minutes of the game, and a last second penalty shot awarded to Columbia Falls brought the team within inches of taking the game to overtime. Whitefish won the match 3-2. Byrd was named the Class A boys soccer coach of the year by the United Soccer Coaches organization in November.

The Montana Coaches Association names its coaches of the year across all sports and classifications at the end of each high school sports season. This school year’s winners will be honored at the 2019 MCA Awards, August 1 at C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls.

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