The cross country season is just getting started for Dalton and North-west Whitfield, but they had no trouble distancing themselves from everyone else Tuesday at Edwards Park.
In the first meet for Dalton and the second for host Northwest, the schools split team and individual honors in a seven-school field.
Dalton’s boys and Northwest’s claimed top team honors, while Northwest’s Brody Cook was the top individual in the boys race and Dalton’s Bekah Houston took first in the girls race.
The Catamounts scored 25 points to take the boys victory, followed by Northwest (39), Dade County (105), Ringgold (121), Gordon Lee (130), Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe (151) and LaFayette (190).
The season-opening win was helped by a focus on team running, said Francisco Perez, the top finisher for Dalton’s boys.
“Considering this was Northwest’s home turf, it was particularly good to beat them,” Perez said. “Our strategy was to stay as a pack. It can be tiring going up those hills on a tough course. When you have your teammates with you, it makes you go faster.”
The runner-up to Brody Cook was his twin brother and fellow senior, Parker Cook.
The former clocked 19 minutes, 47 seconds on the 5K (3.1-mile) course and the latter finished at 19:51.
“We are always close in the races,” Brody said of brother Parker. “Sometimes he wins. I’m pleased with how we did.”
Parker interjected, “We know our home course. It certainly helped us.”
Dalton’s pack produced the next five places after the Parkers. Following Perez, who finished in 20:02, were Anthony Hernandez (20:09), Noel Salaices (20:13), Eduardo Loredo (20:28) and Brandon Pineda (20:30).
“It was a good first meet, particularly for the boys,” Dalton coach Karen Galyon said. “They did a good job of running together.”
Other runners scoring for the Bruins were Hinson Gibbs (10th, 20:48), Dylan Richards (12th, 21:24) and Lane Bramblett (14th, 21:36).
“Brody and Parker did well running together,” Northwest coach Tom Sell said. “Our third, fourth and fifth runners must run in a pack and run faster.”
Northwest’s girls tallied 23 points to easily outdistance the runner-up Lady Cats (56), Ringgold (88) and LFO (90). The other three schools that participated did not field the necessary five runners for scoring.
Houston won in 23:11, finishing comfortably ahead of Northwest’s Shelby Wilson (24:56).
“It’s the first time that I’ve run this course since I was a freshman,” Houston said. “It’s still definitely a tough course. I’m looking forward to a big senior year. I trained more in the summer than I have.”
Houston, The Daily Citizen’s All-Area Runner of the Year in both 2010 and 2011, won a region title as a sophomore and has qualified for state each of her first three seasons.
Said Galyon, “Bekah looked strong. She’s running a lot now with the boys. She’s faster and stronger because of that.”
Others scoring for the Lady Bruins were Natalie Williams (third, 25:30); Nancy Paz (fourth, 25:56); Karli Williams (sixth, 26:56); and Caroline Duffy (eighth, 27:38).
“Our girls ran strong,” Sell said. “They were fifth overall in our first meet at Chickamauga Dam, but we were only 18 points out of second place. We were without one of our people.”
Other scoring for the Lady Cats were Ashley Parham (seventh, 27:24), Santa Ibarra (ninth, 27:48), Bitia Paz (16th, 29:38) and Caroline Norman (17th, 29:39).
• Coahulla Creek’s boys dominated their way to a first-place finish in a four-team meet at Sonoraville.
Led by a winning time of 19:39 from Sadoth Fraire, the Colts swept the top three individual places and had five of the top nine finishers overall.
They were followed in the team standings by Gordon Central, Sonoraville and Adairsville.
Fraire was followed by teammates Missal Fraire (19:50, second), Caleb Carlson (19:55, third), Blake Phillips (20:11, fifth) and Junior Villareal (20:29, ninth).
The Lady Colts were third, behind Adairsville and Gordon Central but ahead of Sonoraville. Scoring points for Coahulla Creek were Bethany Goodwin (28:06), Evelyn Botello (28:39), Gisel Maldonado (28:52), Rachel Cherry (30:17) and Julissa Romero (31:14). Places were not available.
• Northwest split a tri-match, beating Coosa 25-12, 25-13 but losing 13-25, 12-25 to host Sonoraville.
Sarah Thomas had six kills and three blocks on the night to lead the Lady Bruins (6-8). Mary Kate Allen added nine kills and a block, Shelby Douglas had seven digs and Peyton Maret tallied six kills.
Sonoraville was 10-0 entering Tuesday’s competition, according to results at Ga.PrepCountry.com.
“The girls played well against Coosa,” Northwest coach Jennifer Quinn said. “We worked on a couple things we might have been fearful to try against a better team.
“Against Sonoraville, it’s always good to play a team that is good. It makes us better and showed us some things we need to work on in defense. Overall, it was a good thing.”
• All of the area’s games scheduled for Tuesday — Christian Heritage at Trion, Dalton at Ridgeland, Coahulla Creek at Gordon Central, North Murray at Adairsville and Southeast Whitfield at Northwest — were postponed because of inclement weather or wet field conditions.
Christian Heritage coach Mike Leonard said the Lady Lions have a tentative makeup date of Sept. 24. Dalton will make up its game Monday, while North Murray will make up its game Sept. 17.
No makeup dates have been set for Coahulla Creek-Gordon Central or Southeast-Northwest.