SIX-MILE POST — Franklin County’s boys and cross country teams established themselves as the squads to beat in the Blue Ridge District by capturing a league preview meet on their home course Tuesday at Waid Recreation Area and Sports Complex.
Top runners Nathan Atchue, a freshman, and Kylie Cooper, a sophomore, also set victorious paces for their squads.
FCHS, a multiple-time team champion in boys and girls cross country in the Piedmont District, is in its inaugural Blue Ridge District campaign in all sports except boys and girls lacrosse — the league does not sponsor the sport, but three of its school field teams.
Five of the six Blue Ridge District teams were represented Tuesday — only Lord Botetourt was no-show.
FCHS is hosting the league’s championship race on Wednesday, Oct. 30. Its girls squad features several runners who competed for last year’s squad which earned a team berth in the Class 6 state cross country meet.
FCHS won the girls five-kilometer race with 28 points; it placed four of its five scoring runners among the top 10 finishers.
Floyd County (49) came in second, followed by William Byrd (82), Northside (90) and Staunton River (112).
FCHS’s boys also placed four of its five scoring runners in the top 10 and tallied 36 points in its triumph.
Floyd County (46) came in second, followed by Staunton River (80), William Byrd (85) and Northside (109).
Runners for Benjamin Franklin Middle School competed unattached in both the boys and girls 5Ks. Usually, middle-school races are staged separately from varsity or junior varsity races and those events cover either a 3K or 4K distance.
Achue won the boys 5K in 17:57.49, while senior Clayton Stanford was third in 18:18.93. Junior David Carter was ninth in 19:41.79 and freshman Parker Chapman was 10th in 19:42.55.
The top 11 finishers each broke the 20-minute mark.
Seventy-two runners, including the unattached campaigners, crossed the finish line.
Cooper was the only female runner to break 21 minutes — her winning time was 20:57.29.
Sophomore Addie Shorter (21:13.34) was second, followed by junior Harper Dillon (23:06.04) was fifth and senior Emily Burgess (23:46.14) was seventh.