Mallory Young isn't accustomed to running among the lead pack. The Signal Mountain sophomore finished no better than 18th in any cross country meet last season, so having a chance to run toward the front was new to her.
She's clearly a quick learner.
Young was the girls' winner in the first 2012 Chattanooga Cross Country League meet Monday at Chickamauga Dam, winning the five-kilometer race in 21 minutes, 48.67 seconds. Baylor's Simon Holden won the boys' race in 16:44.05, eight seconds ahead of runner-up Nick McCormick of East Hamilton. Team titles went to Heritage's girls and Baylor's boys.
Young passed GPS's Lucy Whitfield around the two-mile mark but had to hold off the home-schoolers' Karla Vradenburgh down the stretch.
"I didn't hear her, but I thought it was the GPS girl," Young said. "Towards the end the adrenaline hit me and I pulled it out towards the chute."
Heritage's Caitlin Craft and Sarah Buckler finished third and fourth. Whitfield was fifth.
Holden had a major kick down the stretch. Walker Valley's Patrick Shultz was third, and Ooltewah's Ben Oates and Baylor's Dillon Clemmer rounded out the top five.
"Nick and I ran together up until the final stretch. I pulled away with about 250 meters to go," Holden said. "I ran a little slower than I'd hoped ... but it wasn't a bad time."
Said McCormick: "I'm pretty happy with how I ran. This is a difficult course; I wanted to break 17 minutes and I did. I like the competition that Simon provides. It helps me see where I am."