The excitement was written all over Nick McCormick's face as he completed the Chattanooga Cross Country League race at the Tennessee Riverpark on Tuesday. It was a befitting feeling for one's first-ever victory.
McCormick covered the five-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 44.33 seconds.
McMinn County's Haley Ward won the girls' race, while team victories went to McCallie, which claimed four of the top six finishers, and the girls' home-school Patriots, who edged Heritage 71-84.
McCormick pulled away from a couple of McCallie runners during the second mile. The junior set a personal best by almost 38 seconds, beating the 17:22 he ran recently at the Clara Bowl at Berry College.
"I was really wanting to break 17 minutes today," he said. "I knew this was a fast course, so I knew that I had a chance.
"This is just an amazing feeling now. It was one of my goals to get a victory in a meet this year, and I thought I ran about as well as I could have run at this point in the season."
McCallie's Adne Anderson, Matthew Jones and Ramsay Ritchie finished second through fourth, and Polk County's Patrick Shultz was fifth.
Ward's victory also was her first ever, but she was slightly more disappointed in her performance after winning in a time of 19:50.04, a minute ahead of second place. It was only her second meet of the season, the other having been at the University of Tennessee.
"I really didn't like the course at all," she said with a laugh. "It feels great to get my first-ever victory, but I'm sad that I didn't run the time I wanted to run."
Rhea County's Madalyn Garland finished second, Bekah Houston of Dalton was third, Gordon Lee's Camilla Loggins was fourth and Cumberland County's Kayla Daniels rounded out the top five.