MISSOULA — Quinn Peacock doesn't look at this weekend's Intermountain Champions Cup as sentimental.

At least not yet anyway. 

For Peacock and many of the other area soccer players, this weekend's festivities at Fort Missoula Regional Park mark the end of the club season as summer officially makes its way to the Garden City.

It will be the last time many athletes compete with high school friends before they all head their separate ways. 

The former Missoula Sentinel standout knows that, but Peacock's competitive spirit comes alive regardless of the time of year it is and she wants to go out with a bang. 

"We're going in to do as best as we can and hopefully win in the end," Peacock said. "I just want to finish out my club career as strongly as I can and do the best I can for my teammates."

She added with a laugh, "Not playing club again hasn't set in yet. It'll get there eventually. I'll just ignore that for now and just focus on the games."

And the U19 Strikers got off to a good start on Friday with a 3-2 victory over Flathead Valley United. Peacock scored the game-winner in the contest in the 85th minute. 

Perhaps that competitive drive is why Peacock is so geared for success when it comes to soccer. Peacock was a two-time all-state selection for Sentinel and led the Spartans to a fourth-place finish back in the fall at state. 

Though she graduated from Sentinel just a few short weeks ago, Peacock's time with soccer in Missoula is not over. Because of her success at the high school and club level, she will join Montana's team this fall, a program that just recently made the NCAA Tournament. 

"The atmosphere and the program, you can't compare anything else to it," Peacock said. "It's so much fun to be around and I know that I'm going to grow so much in that atmosphere so there's nowhere else I would've chosen."

Sentinel girls coach Dan Lochridge coached the boys team for many years before heading the girls program for the first time this past season. Peacock's ability to compete at the Division I level is an example he says he'll use as a goal for his future players. 

"She's the type of player who was kind of instrumental in my decision to go over to the girls side and just knowing I'd get to coach someone that was basically a coach's dream," Lochridge said. "She works hard and is extremely skilled. She raises the bar for the rest of her teammates and in a positive way."

And college soccer, Division I or not, was something the 5-foot-2 Peacock always wanted to do. She plays midfield in club as well as forward in the high school season but isn't quite sure where the Griz will have her line up in college. 

"She's the first one to show up ready to go. She's motivated and determined and really wants to do well," Strikers coach Gabe Ansah said. "She encourages her teammates. I've really enjoyed coaching her. She's been awesome."

Ansah said he has coached her on and off since she was about 10. But their memories together go even farther back. Ansah originally hails from Ghana, West Africa, and came to Missoula as a foreign exchange student. He eventually came back for college at Montana where he met Peacock's parents. 

"He started playing on my parent's co-rec team when he was like 17 or 18 and I was like a 2-year-old on the sideline," Peacock said. "So I've known him my entire life and I've always looked up to him.

"To even watch him develop as a coach and then have him coach me while I still have a lot to learn is really fun."

Ansah has served as a role model — and a fellow lefty — for Peacock to look up to. 

Through her parents, Ansah became established with soccer in Missoula. He coached for four years with FC Missoula before joining the Strikers this season. 

"I've known her and her brother forever," he said. "Never really got to coach her much in club before this season. She was my motivation for moving to the Strikers to coach. She's great."

And as he's watched her grow as a player, Ansah said there is one area Peacock really developed as she got older and more experienced on the pitch. 

"Her leadership," he said. "She's a senior and these other girls look up to her. She used to be a little timid and wouldn't say a lot on the field but I've encouraged her and preached how she can assert herself as a leader by talking to her team because talking is huge on the soccer field.

"She's become a very good leader on and off the field. I go to her for everything and she delivers every time."

With the Women's World Cup also going in France, Peacock gets to watch a pair of her idols compete in Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe. For her, the way the duo approach the game and their composure stands out to Peacock and is something she tries to emulate. 

So with the World Cup and the Intermountain Champions Cup going on, the week doesn't get much better for Peacock. 

"Everything in my life is surrounded by soccer so this weekend is really fun," Peacock said. "The whole week I've been watching World Cup soccer and then I get to come here and watch some of my best friends on Strikers or other teams. So I just get to spend the whole weekend watching soccer."

And while Peacock is focused on the tournament, her coach said it is a little sentimental to see their time as club coach and player come to an end. But Ansah does some work with the Griz as well, so he'll see her there. 

"I'm kind of sad it's our last club season," Ansah said with a laugh as Peacock stood nearby. "We're going to enjoy this last tournament and hopefully win it for Quinn."

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Kyle Hansen covers Griz men's basketball and more for the Missoulian and 406mtsports.com. Email him at kyle.hansen@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @khansen406

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