There's something about her first Chattanooga Cross Country League meet that gets Signal Mountain's Mallory Young excited each season.
Maybe it's the fact she keeps winning them.
For the second straight season, the Lady Eagles junior was the first across the line in her initial league race of the season. She won the meet at Camp Jordan on Tuesday, running the five-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 43.20 seconds.
The Heritage girls were the team winners, defeating GPS by two points. Bradley Central's Harold Smith and Baylor claimed the respective titles on the boys' side, respectively, with Smith completing the course in 16:38.52 -- nearly a minute ahead of his closest competitor.
It was Young's second race of the season. She ran the Berry Invitational 10 days prior.
"I didn't really like the heat, but the rest of the race was fun," she said. "I expected more of a group in the front today, but it was a good race. I thought our team did well; everybody went out with the goal of beating the person in front of them."
Baylor's Grace Carlson was able to return from an inflamed joint in her second toe and run in Tuesday's meet. She finished second, ahead of the home-school team's Karla Vradenburgh. Heritage's Sarah Buckler and GPS's Lucy Whitfield rounded out the top five.
"It was fun to compete again," Carlson said. "I wasn't expecting to run great, so I was happy with the way I ran today. We lost three girls from last season, but I think the team has been getting stronger and racing great so far this year."
Ooltewah's Garrett Flores was second in the boys' race. Heritage's Judd Bates was fourth -- sandwiched between a pair of Baylor runners, John Carlson and Jackson Goodwin.
Contact Gene Henley at email@example.com or 423-757-6311. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.