For the first time in 12 years, Greenbrier head coach Kati Smallwood got area cross country teams running into unfamiliar territory.
Instead of holding the meet at Blanchard Woods Park, Smallwood made the move to Wildwood Park, where she once played host to meets.
“It’s a neat course and really true to the nature of cross country,” said Smallwood, who thanked Columbia County Recreation’s Stacie Adkins and Mike Whitaker, the project manager for Columbia County roads and bridges, for getting the course ready on short notice.
The course itself was a bit short, measuring 3 miles instead of a true 5K, but Smallwood said that was an easy fix.
Evans sophomore Justin Weegar led the boys race from start to finish, crossing the line in 15:43.
“It was pretty much fast and flat,” Weegar said of the course. “I look forward to running it again.”
The Greenbrier boys took five of the top seven spots to lead the field with 22 points. Finishing second through fourth for the Wolfpack were Logan Hughes (15:48), Jon Townsend (16:27) and Scott Bisch (16:51).
Runner-up Hephzibah was next with 55 points.
Aquinas sophomore Shannon Fair said it was nerve-wracking going to a new course, especially in the team’s first meet of the year, but she handled her nerves and won handily in 19:18.
“I just paced it on the first lap and pushed it on the second lap,” said Fair. “The course wasn’t as hard as Blanchard Woods, but it was harder than I thought.”
Despite Fair’s finish, the Lady Fighting Irish finished fourth.
The Lady Wolfpack took first with 31 points paced by Laura Shillingsburg (20:28), who finished second, and Anna Marie Walker (21:42), who took fifth. Sarah Mork (22:07), Laura Shipman (22:26) and Madi McArthur (22:34) finished seventh through ninth, respectively, for the Lady Wolfpack.
The Evans Lady Knights finished second with 38 points, with Jasmine Stone (20:53) in third, Jackie Ramos (21:16) in fourth and Autumn Johnson (21:50) in sixth.