The opening cross country meet at Wildwood Park on Saturday morning marked comebacks and new beginnings.
Greenbrier High School’s Logan Hughes, one of the area’s top 10 runners a year ago, had a cold the day of the 2013 Region 2-AAAAA Regional and finished at No. 49, while Harlem High School’s program didn’t exist.
Showing no ill effects, Hughes took the top spot with a time of 17:17.62.
“I feel really strong right now,” Hughes said. “That time was exactly where I wanted it to be in the season. It wasn’t too fast and I feel like I’m going to peak right at the right time and I’m ready for a healthy cross country season.”
Running at the home of the 2014 Region 2-AAAAA Cross Country Regional, Greenbrier exerted its dominance on the course, sweeping both races with all of the runners finishing in the top-10.
The race also marked the return of the Harlem program, which had been dormant for the past four years.
“I wasn’t sure what to expect and to have a girl Jesi Cotton finish 12th, I was impressed by her,” said Bulldogs coach Russ Winter. “It was an awesome learning experience and it’s a good thing we have nine more races to go so we can improve each time.”
Like Winter, Greenbrier coach Kati Smallwood was using the race as a measuring stick.
“It’s the first race so it gives you a starting point to fine-tune workouts, and kids just get that first 5K under their belts and then they can start thinking about how they can improve individually,” Smallwood said.