AXTON — Franklin County’s boys and girls varsity and junior varsity cross country teams and Benjamin Franklin Middle School’s boys and girls squads ran away with all the championship hardware that was up for grabs at Thursday's sixth annual Bengal Clash at the River.
All six teams opened their 2019 cross country seasons with first-place team showings.
FCHS’s boys and girls varsity squads were competing on the Smith River Sports Complex course for the first time since each captured the second of back-to-back titles in the Piedmont District last October in what was the Eagles’ final Piedmont District competition.
The Eagles boys team edge Galileo of Danville by two points, 46-48, to claim top team honors.
Salem (65), Bassett (100), Staunton River (138), William Byrd (159), Faith Christian School (197) and Patrick County (205) also competed for top team accolades finishing third through eighth.
Freshman Nathan Atchue, who was making his varsity debut, was victorious in the five-kilometer (3.1-mile) race in 16:53.59. He was the only runner in a 60-runner field to break 17 minutes.
Next for the Eagles was Clayton Stanford (17:57.68) in sixth place, followed by David Carter (18:17.80) in 10th, Parker Chapman (18:24.47) in 12th and Logan Cadou (19:14:78).
That quintet, comprised of one senior (Stanford), one junior (Carter), one sophomore (Cadou) and two freshman (Atchue and Chapman), accounted for the Eagles’ scoring.
Also for FCHS, freshman Andrew Riddle (19:18.42) was 18th and junior Ethan Ellis (20:16.26) was 32nd.
FCHS’s girls squad, which is a season removed from competing in the Class 6 state meet, scored 34 points in its victory — it bested William Byrd (70) by 36 points.
Taking third was Salem (85), followed by Bassett (95), Galileo (109), Dan River (152), Staunton River (159), Patrick County (191) and Magna Vista (266).
The Eagles claimed three of the top finishing positions with sophomores Kylie Cooper (19:42.50) and Addie Shorter (20:38.01) taking first and second and junior Harper Dillon (22:07.26) in fourth.
Cooper is a season removed from a 12th-place finish in the Class 6 state meet.
Sophomore Caroline Horne (22:44.46) finished ninth and senior Emily Burgess (23:58.86) was 18th.
Senior Savannah Janney (24:20.21) came in 24th in a 61-runner field and freshman Natalie Davis (24:46.83) was 27th.
FCHS’s boys junior varsity squad won a five-team competition with 27 points. Bassett (58), Galileo (72), Salem (77) and William Byrd (134) were second through fifth.
Forty-three runners competed.
FCHS junior Conner Deering crossed the finish line in first place in 19:24.67.
Bailey McNeil (20:07.52), a junior, came in third and sophomore Alex Baumberger (20:12.87) was fourth.
Freshman Drew McElvain (20:45.28) placed ninth and senior Brian Richards (20:49.71) was 10th.
Also, freshman Sebastian Ellis (21:14.36) came in 13th, junior Joshua Plybon (22:53.95) was 21st and freshman Paulo Carey (24:36.78) was 32nd.
Sophomore Morgan Lietz (26:20.48) took third for FCHS’s junior varsity girls team which scored 40 points in its victory.
Freshman Kim Burch (26:44.58) finished fifth, followed by junior Hailey Vanover (27:29.82) in eighth, freshman Isabella Noto (27:46.24) in 10th, senior Kristina Atkinson (28:42.40) in 14th, freshman Lexa Jetmar (30:18.24) in 20th and freshman Grace Weaver (30:42.59) in 22nd.
Thirty-one runners competed for individual accolades.
William Byrd (64) and Salem (64) were second and third, while Galileo (83) and Bassett (86) were fourth and fifth.
BFMS was the only team to field a complete scoring squad (five runners) in the boys middle school two-miler. The Eagles scored 38 points.
Kyle Roach (11:33.81) placed fourth in a 36-runner field, while John Grider (11:54.64) and Devin Dillon (12:03.74) were sixth and seventh and Cooper Myers (12:12.63) was 10th.
Eric Camilleri (12:15.45) was 12th, followed by Tanner Lamy (13:01.36) in 15th,Gess Gallien (14:10.01) in 23rd, William Blankenship (16:07.27) in 31st. Stephen Maxwell (16:45.67) in 33rd, Evan Huins (17:55.30) in34th and Nathan Richmond (19:33.87) in 35th.
BFMS edged Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School, 25-34, to claim top girls laurels.
Julianne Bowman completed the two-mile trek in a first-place time of 12:13.67, while teammate Emma Hale (13:53.06) was fourth.
Whitney Holland (15:48.64) placed 10th in a 20-runner field, followed by Adalie Woodford (17:53.92) in 13th, Samantha Simms (19:05.90) in 15th, Madison Pagans (19:10.32) in 16th, Kendall Smith (19:14.72) in 17th and Paige Wells (19:15.46) in 18th.