Sullivan Central’s Emily Williams overcame a wrong turn on the course to successfully defend her girls varsity crown.
Chuckey-Doak’s Lawson Burrow became the third straight runner from his school to claim the boys Raider Run title.
In the team competition, the Lady Cougars cruised to a 25-81 win over Chuckey-Doak, while Sullivan South won the boys race with a score of 84 points. Sullivan East was second at 101.
Williams was well ahead of the field nearing the end of her first circuit around the double-loop course when she went the wrong way.
“I thought I was suppose to go straight but some people told me to go the other way,’’ said Williams, a junior. “Fortunately, people up in the parking lot yelled at me to go back so I retraced my steps.’’
By the time Williams got back on track she was in third place.
That didn’t last long.
Stepping up the pace, the fleet Lady Cougar clawed her way back into the lead and finished the race 39 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. Her winning time was 20:43.
“Making the wrong turn was my mistake,’’ Williams said. “I guess I just got in more mileage today.’’
In just her second season of running cross country, Williams has learned a lot.
“Cross country is not like other sports,’’ said Williams. “You’re not really trying to beat the other person, you’re trying to beat yourself. To be successful you have to be passionate about cross country.’’
That passion has extended from Williams to all her teammates.
“Everyone has worked so hard this summer getting ready for the season,’’ said Williams. “They all have the passion to get better.’’
For Burrow, the day was all about the racing. He and teammate Simeon Roberts, the defending champion, were well ahead of the field and just looking to challenge each other.
“Having a teammate to push you is great,’’ said Burrow. “We paced each other for the first two miles then I decided to get a little separation.
“Simeon has such a good kick I knew I had to have a good lead to hold him off.’’
That’s exactly how the race finished. Roberts put on a burst of speed down the stretch, but Burrow had just enough lead to cross the line in first with a winning time of 17:03. Roberts crossed at 17:05.