As with first events of the season in all sports, there were plenty of glitches in Tuesday's cross country meet at Camp Jordan Park, with lots of competitors working to find vantage points they can build on later in the season.
None of those early glitches were in the legs of Bradley Central senior Harold Smith, though.
Smith ran away from the Chattanooga Cross Country League field before settling for a 14-second victory in the first league meet of the season, running the five-kilometer race in 17 minutes, 23.82 seconds. Cumberland County's Kassidy Sommer won the girls' race in 21.15.95 -- almost 30 seconds ahead of the home schoolers' Allie Anderson.
Official results weren't complete as of press time, but Baylor's boys and the home-school girls were unofficially declared winners.
"I liked the place, although it wasn't my best time," Anderson said. "It was very hot out today. We had the jamboree meet last week and it was hot then, too, but I guess I better get used to it.
"I usually run mornings."
After not running at Camp Jordan in about 10 seasons, the league will return to the site on Sept. 10. Cleveland coach Casey Price, who also serves as league president, praised East Ridge Parks and Recreation director Stump Martin for providing the facilities.
"He was incredible," Price said. "We had some problems securing the facility in the past, but he was extremely accommodating for us."
Ooltewah's Garrett Flores was second in the boys' race, finishing slightly before Baylor's John Carlson. Heritage's Judd Bates and McMinn County's Logan McKenzie rounded out the top five.
"It was the first time I had run this course, so I'm hoping next time I will maybe drop my time some," Smith said. "It was muddy on the course today, but that's just cross country. Next time I'll try to stay with the pack more and build more endurance in the second mile, because I started to get a little tired."
The home-school team unofficially outscored Heritage 58-67, with Kathryn Vradenburgh placing third. GPS's Lucy Whitfield and Heritage's Sarah Buckler were fourth and fifth.
Contact Gene Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.
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