Cross country season began flawlessly Saturday morning as the first meet of the year took place at Greenbrier High School. That wasn't bad for two days of planning.
"We had to come up with a Plan B really fast here," Greenbrier cross country coach Katie Smallwood said.
The problem wasn't from procrastination but came from the new Blanchard Woods Park in Evans. The first meet was scheduled to take place at the specially designed cross country course at the new park, but with construction still under way, Columbia County Recreation Department officials announced Thursday that the meet could not take place as scheduled.
"I don't know exactly what the last-minute issue was," Smallwood said. "But that's OK. We did this course (at Greenbrier) all last year, and I have a lot of the same parents back. They just all came and, bam, put it all together."
Lakeside freshman Anna Bowles took first place in the girls race, and Greenbrier junior Taylor Snyder crossed the finish line first in the boys race. Bowles, competing in her first high school cross country race, finished the 3.1-mile course in 20:36. Snyder's time of 17:23 beat teammates Joey Castillo and Rob Blackwelder by 4 seconds and Lakeside's top-finisher, Atom Young, by 42 seconds.
"Honestly, Atom Young from Lakeside is a great runner, and I tried to make it so he wouldn't pass me," Snyder said. "I tried to go at an abnormally fast pace and see if I could hold it."
Snyder did hold on to the lead. He took second place in the first meet last year with a time of 17:37, so Saturday's win marked a 14-second improvement. He said he hopes better times are in his future.
"I'd like to be in the 15's," he said. "You just have to start off by giving yourself a goal and stay ahead of it."
Greenbrier's season-opening meet wasn't the only one scheduled for Blanchard Woods Park. Evans High School had the new course booked for a meet today, but that too was canceled by recreation officials.
The next cross country meet at Blanchard Woods Park is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, with Greenbrier, Evans, Lakeside and Richmond Academy scheduled to compete, but Smallwood couldn't say for sure whether that meet would also be canceled.
A grand opening for the park has been scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 15
A cross country twist
Another cross country meet scheduled for today will take place with a twist. Augusta Prep will play host to a 3x1-mile cross country relay. At least 12 high school squads from Georgia and South Carolina will participate in the relay race, including teams from Augusta Christian, Midland Valley, Aiken and North Augusta.
"It's a great opportunity to break our runners in to running fast in the heat while only going a mile instead of 3.1 miles and having fun at the same time," Augusta Prep cross country coach Mike Burley said. "It is also a great opportunity for coaches to get an all-out mile time in order to construct future workouts based on that core time."
The middle school relay is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. The high school boys race will start at 5 p.m. and the high school girls will follow at 5:30 p.m. All races will take place on the cross country course at Augusta Prep.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.