RINGGOLD, Ga. -- "Pleased" would definitely be a word to describe Signal Mountain coach Les Hegwood after his Eagles' performance Thursday at the Chattanooga Cross Country League meet at Davis Cattle Ranch in Ringgold, Ga.
But satisfied? Not quite.
With three top-15 finishers led by sixth-place Matthew Marshall, the Eagles narrowly edged Pickens County 102-108 to win the first meet held at the farm. Darlington won the girls' race, defeating the home-school Patriots by 22 points.
Individual titles went to Rome's Frannie Wilson and Baylor's Simon Holden. The Baylor junior covered the five-kilometer course in 16 minutes, 18.83 seconds, while Wilson won her race in 20:12.76.
The event came together quickly, as the property wasn't secured until Monday and the race coordinators hustled the course together as quickly as possible. It turned basically into two loops around the large ranch.
"A lot of the guys thought the course was rough, but I told them it was a 5k just like any other race," Hegwood said. "For us to get to where we want to be, we're going to have to continue to show steady improvement and work hard; I want to see some season-best times."
Holden's victory was his fourth of the season. It might have been his most gratifying, as his grandmother was in town from Costa Rica for the event.
"It was a good course. I did think the footing was iffy at some spots," Holden said. "I liked the course; it was similar to the state course in the fact that it was grassy and had some long hills. Not knowing the course, I tried to go slower on the first lap, then once I got a feel for it, I went harder."
Rome's Jenna Tilson was second in the girls' race. Dalton's Bekah Houston was third with Darlington's Lauren Hooper and Pickens County's Alyssa Weaver fourth and fifth. Darlington's Jesse Baker was second among the boys, followed next by Pickens County's Drew Bellows, East Hamilton's Nick McCormick and Polk's Patrick Shultz.