With one finger pointed in the air and a big smile across his face, Bradley Central junior Harold Smith crossed the finish line in a position he had never attained before — first.
With four of the top 12 finishers in the same event, the McCallie cross country team also was No. 1.
Smith won the Chattanooga Cross Country League festival at Chickamauga Dam, running the five-kilometer race in 16 minutes, 26.98 seconds. Christian Academy of Knoxville's Sarah Zimmer won the girls' event in 20:35, while Columbia Central won the girls' team title.
It might not have been Smith's best race of the season or his best time, but it ended in the best result of his career.
"I've always wanted to get first," he said. "I've had some tough times, but I've wanted to get down that ladder [of placement]. I thought it was a good race today and a good challenge. They changed the course a bit, but it was still fun.
"I took first over on the hill and just told myself not to stop and to conquer the hills."
East Hamilton's Nick McCormick was second, while McCallie's Derek Barnes and Matthew Jones finished third and fourth. Ramsay Ritchie fought through a pulled hamstring to finish sixth for the Blue Tornado, while Will Moore was 12th.
"For the first race of the season, I thought we did a good job," McCallie coach Mike Wood said. "Some of our guys ran well and had a good day. We wanted to stay together as much as we could, and it really helped our No. 4 runner with his ability to stay close."
Zimmer said CAK's Lady Warriors stayed Friday night in Chattanooga and ran the course, only to find out they had the wrong map of the course. They looked at it Saturday morning, but it didn't matter as she coasted to a 21-second victory.
"I was trying to stay with the girl who finished in second, but I pulled away from her in the second mile," Zimmer said. "I didn't come here expecting to win, but the Lord pulled me through."
Columbia's Anna Kate Chance finished second, while the area home school program's Karla Vradenburgh was third and Signal Mountain's Mallory Young was fourth. GPS was the top area team finisher, placing third.