JACKSONVILLE — West Carteret opened the cross country season Wednesday by splitting races with White Oak.
The girls were one point away from sporting a perfect score, posting 16 points to the Vikings’ 50.
White Oak ran away with the boys race, putting up 19 points to the Patriots’ 36.
Northside-Jacksonville failed to register team points in either race.
Runners participated in conditions that normally exist at the end of the season, not the beginning, as the coronavirus pandemic has delayed the year by three months. It was sunny, windy and chilly with temperatures in the high 40s at Northeast Creek Park in Jacksonville.
“It’s the conclusion of the longest preseason ever,” West boys coach Shelton Mayo said. “These kids have been training virtually since March, and we started conditioning in person in June a little bit. I am so glad we were finally able to get our first race in.”
The Patriots were dominant in the girls race, taking eight of the top nine spots.
Eliza Craig Parker captured the win in 20 minutes, 49 seconds. Morgan Mason was the runner-up in 21:12
“Eliza Craig and Morgan both ran great, out-running the rest of the field by almost a minute,” West girls coach Larry Lewis said. “It was a great opening race for the girls team. There was less than a 2-minute gap between the No. 1 and No. 5 runners.”
Sara Windsor placed third in 22:10. Freshman Ansley Jones wasn’t far behind, taking fourth in her first varsity race in a time of 22:11.
“We had solid performances out of several freshmen on both squads,” Lewis said.
Alanna Paschall clocked in with a personal record time of 22:23 to claim sixth, Grace Guilford was seventh in 22:27, and Sydney Eure ended up eighth in 22:29.
The boys team had some notable performances with the top three runners achieving personal bests.
Josh Marson finished third in 17:39, Hunter Guthrie placed sixth in 18:38, and Finn Jones grabbed the eighth spot in 18:40.
“Hunter has been working so hard in practice, and we were so happy to see him come out of the gates this year and be up front competing in a strong pack of runners,” Mayo said.
Rob Cummings placed ninth in 18:59, Landon Gray was 10th in 19:08, Carter Bass ended up 12th in 19:25, and Cameron Johnson finished 16th in 20:14.
It was the first varsity race for Cummings and freshmen Bass and Johnson.
“I know White Oak won the race today, but I was so proud of our guys,” Mayo said. “Many of them were running their first race, and some of the returners ran their best races ever or in at least the last two years. We have a lot of catching up to do to catch White Oak, but I think we have a lot of room to continue to improve.”