RINGGOLD, Ga. - If there was any question as to who is the best girls' runner in the Chattanooga Cross Country League this season, Karla Vradenburgh erased any doubt Thursday.
The home-schooled junior claimed her first victory of the season at the Davis Cattle Ranch, finishing the five-kilometer event in 20 minutes. She was later named the CCCL runner of the year.
The boys' award went to Baylor's Simon Holden, who won his fourth league meet of the season in four tries in 16:02.8. Heritage's girls finished sixth through 10th and won the team race, while Baylor's boys edged Dalton 61-71.
The Lady Generals and Holden-led Red Raiders were named the league teams of the year.
Vradenburgh felt she had been building toward this accomplishment all season.
"I was surprised that it actually happened," she said about the win. "I'm not sure that the emotions have set in yet. I thought I'd be able to run a faster time since it was a pretty fast course, but I knew if I was going to get a win, that today was going to have to be the day."
Signal Mountain's Mallory Young was second, 13 seconds behind Vradenburgh, and GPS's Lucy Whitfield finished third.
The Front Runner City Championships are next week at Baylor. Public schools will compete in region meets the week after, followed by the state meet in Nashville. The home-school team will compete in the National Association of Christian Athletics' national meet at Fort Bluff Camp near Dayton on Nov. 10.
Holden ran alongside East Hamilton's Nick McCormick for half of the boys' race, then pulled away and nearly finished in under 16 minutes.
"I really wanted to break it," Holden said. "I was just going for the win, but I pulled away on the second mile."
McCormick finished a solid second in 16:29.1, while Walker Valley's Patrick Shultz and Collegedale's Seth Ruhling also beat 17 minutes.