GRAY — The high school cross country season started with a bang Tuesday at the annual TC Twilight Two at Daniel Boone.
It may be a new year, but it was the same old story in the team competition. Perennial powerhouses Science Hill and Daniel Boone earned the team titles in the warm-up to the season.
The Lady Hilltoppers, who lost all-state performers Molly Foster and Martha McCoy to graduation, posted a winning score of 32 to edge runner-up Dobyns-Bennett (35). Tennessee High (68) was third.
“This was the day to see where we stand,” said Science Hill coach Jennifer Brockett. “The girls packed together well and did what they needed to do.”
Boone, missing top runner Adam Barnard because of injuries, still managed to win the boys’ race, 48-56 over Science Hill. D-B (70) finished third.
“For not being at full strength, the boys looked good today,” said Boone coach Len Jeffers, whose Trailblazers finished second in the state last year. “I think we are where we thought we should be for this time of year.”
Fittingly, a new season saw two first-time individual winners.
Science Hill senior Sarah Fickley stepped out of the shadow of Foster and McCoy with a stellar individual victory in a time of 12:22.00 over the 2-mile course. It was her first win ever.
D-B freshman Sophia Neglia finished second in a time of 12:28.59, followed by Lady Indians teammate Alexa Zimmerman (12:39.98) in third.
“It’s a lot of pressure being the No. 1 runner,” Fickley said. “I learned from Molly and Martha to never give up. You have to have the mentality that you are running for your team and not yourself.
“It wasn’t easy out there, but it’s exciting to win a race.”
Boone junior James Garst earned his first high school cross country victory with a winning time of 10:25.27. Volunteer’s Hayden Borghetti-Metz was second (10:29.25) and D-B’s Carl Oberfeitinger third (10:30.25).
Garst raced to the lead from the outset and never looked back — the winning formula on the day.
“My plan was to go out fast and kick hard at the end,” said Garst, a junior. “It was tough not having Adam (Barnard) today, but we’ve still got a lot of good runners and they’ve worked hard.”
D-B had four girls finish in the top 10 — two of them, Neglia and Hannah Sokol, freshmen.
“The girls were right there with Science Hill,” said D-B coach Bob Bingham. “There’s still room for improvement, but they competed and that’s what I liked.”