For the first time in years, Greenbrier head coach Kati Smallwood had local cross country teams running into unfamiliar territory.
Instead of holding a meet at Blanchard Woods Park, Smallwood made the move to Wildwood Park, where she held meets about 12 years ago.
“It’s a neat course and really true to the nature of cross country,” Smallwood said.
The course itself was a bit short, measuring three miles instead of a true 5K, but Smallwood said that was an easy fix.
“It’s good to get the first race in and tweak things for the next race,” Smallwood said. “By the time we host the region (Nov. 3), the course will be perfect.”
Evans sophomore Justin Weegar took the lead from the start and never trailed, finishing first in 15:43.
“It was pretty much fast and flat,” Weegar said of the course. “I look forward to running it again.”
Weegar said he was nervous about the race with Greenbrier’s Logan Hughes, who finished second, in the chase. That fit his mindset well, said Lisa Chizmar, Evans’ assistant cross country coach.
“Sometimes he doesn’t push unless someone scares him,” Chizmar said. “Today he must have been scared.”
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 Hughes (15:48), Jon Townsend (16:27) and Scott Bisch (16:51).
The Evans girls also did well with Jasmine Stone taking third, Jackie Ramos in fourth and Autumn Johnson in sixth. Their 38 points were second only to the Greenbrier girls.
The Lady Wolfpack team was led by Laura Shillingsburg, who finished second, and Anna Marie Walker, who took fifth. The team won with 31 points. Sarah Mork, Laura Shipman and Madi McArthur finished seventh through ninth, respectively.
Aquinas sophomore Shannon Fair said it was nerve-wracking going to a new course in the team’s first meet of the year. She handled her nerves well, winning the girls’ race handily in 19:19.
“I just paced it on the first lap and pushed it on the second lap,” Fair said. “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 behind Grovetown.