Bridget Lyons, of Greenbrier High School, and Jim Hull, of Augusta Preparatory Day School, set the standard for Columbia County cross country runners this season.
Lyons and Hull finished third and fifth, respectively, in their state meets two weeks ago.
For Lyons, a senior, the feat marks the end of a successful high school cross country career, but for Hull, a freshman, the winning has just begun.
Hull began honing his running ability in middle school at Episcopal Day School in Augusta. After completing his first season on the varsity cross country team at Augusta Prep this fall, Hull has caught the attention of cross country coach Mike Burley.
"His first meet he was the fastest guy on my team," Burley said. "As a freshman, there's nobody that's as good."
Burley said Hull improved his time throughout the season and ran to a personal best of 17:26 in the Georgia Independent Schools Association AAA state meet in Macon, Ga.
The time earned him a fifth-place finish in the meet and broke the school record for a freshman by a full minute.
Although he's already earned the title of the best freshman runner, Hull said he wants to be the best runner in the school's history.
To earn that title, Hull will have to beat the overall school record. It's a goal of his, and he already knows his target's name and time.
"David Bell has the course record," he said. "It's 16:40. That would be a cool thing to do."
Across Columbia County, Lyons just wrapped up her own successful cross country career.
It hasn't been easy.
Lyons joined the cross country team her freshman year, but a hip injury limited her effectiveness throughout her junior season. She ran through the pain and even managed to play soccer in the spring, but the injury kept her at less than 100 percent on the track.
That didn't stop her from returning for a stellar senior season this fall.
In late October, Lyons and the Greenbrier squad got a taste of what the state meet would be like by running the course in Carrollton, Ga., at the Banks Oil/Showplace Landscaping Last Chance Invitational.
Lyons finished in second place out of 193 runners with a time of 19:27.
The regular-season race was just a warm-up of things to come.
In the Columbia County Invitational at Harlem High School in October, Lyons ran a season-best 19:20 on her way to a first-place finish. The senior topped herself later in the Region 2-AAAA Meet with a first-place finish, leading the Lady Wolfpack to an automatic bid to the state meet.
"She's gone as hard as I can push her," Greenbrier cross country coach Katie Smallwood said. "I'm so proud of what she's done."
In the GHSA AAAA State Meet in Carrollton, Lyons finished her career with a fifth-place run on a time of 19:43 and led the Lady Wolfpack to a fifth-place team finish.
Lyons said that race might have been the end of her cross country career.
"It's kind of sad," she said. "I don't know if I'm going to run in college so that may have been my last race."
The end might come, but only through Lyons' choice. Plenty of colleges would love to have the senior in their cross country program, but another sport has always had Lyons' main attention.
"Soccer is my first love," Lyons said.
"I used to be able to say soccer was my favorite right off the bat, but cross country's growing on me," she said.
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