Two of the state’s best runners left little to doubt at a rare Friday-evening meet.
Commerce’s Brandon Martin and Jefferson’s Katherine Law each ran to convincing wins at the Jefferson Recreation Department as Martin took the boys’ race with a time of 16:24.93 and Law won the girls’ race with a time of 18:50.87.
Martin, the defending Class A Public boys’ champion, won the boys’ meet by a 23-second margin over Jefferson’s Matthew Schroeder with a time just eight seconds off his career best.
“All of our times were a little bit slower than we anticipated,” Martin said of he and his teammates. “But that’s OK because I feel we ran really good against our competition, which is what our coach wanted us to do. That time right there was where I wanted to start the season off, so I’m feeling pretty good.”
Martin was pleased to start his senior campaign with a win.
“Last year, I only had three individual wins in the entire season,” he said, “and starting it off with one already is a really good start.”
Martin picked up the win and ran a sub-16:30 time in hot, muggy weather with no cloud cover during the boys’ race.
“Racing the whole thing in the sun was not ideal,” Martin said, when asked about the conditions.
Meanwhile Law, who finished 11th in Class AAA last year, won the girls’ race by a much wider gap, placing 1:40 ahead of teammate Caitlin Schroeder. Law was coming off a time of 17:41 in a three-mile event Aug. 22 at the Bob Blastow meet.
“I was really happy with how I ran,” Law said. “I was mostly just trying to go a really hard pace — comfortably hard — especially with this course, it’s so muddy right now, and it’s just the beginning of the season. But I was really happy with how all of our teammates ran as well.”
Law’s first-place finish helped Jefferson to a first-place finish in the girls’ team standings. Jefferson’s top five scorers all placed in the top 10. Caitlin Schroeder finished as runner-up behind Law with a time of 20:30.35, Kiley Powell finished sixth (21:37.53), Kate James was eighth (22:00.16) and Sydney Bowles (ninth, 22:04.27).
Jefferson, with 26 points, won the meet by 29 points over second-place Athens Academy.
Law hopes Friday’s win is a sign of things to come for the Jefferson girls’ squad.
“I’m excited,” Law said. “I think our girls’ team is probably the best team we’ve had so far, and I’m really looking forward to this year.”
Jefferson’s boys’ squad also collected a team win on the strength of three runners finishing in the top four. Matthew Schroeder placed second (16:47.33), Levi Holliday took third (18:17.54) and Cooper Gibson finished fourth (18:19.43).
Rounding out the scoring for the Dragons were Carter Hensley (seventh, 18:59.56) and Sam Wall (16th, 19:31.47).
Jefferson (31 points) won the meet by a 24-point margin over second-place Athens Academy.
Meanwhile, Commerce’s boys’ finished third (67 points).
J.J. Morris joined Martin in finishing in the top 10 as Morris took sixth with a time of 18:27.18. Others adding points for the Tigers were Josh Zelaya (13th, 19:22.46), Dominic Ricci (24th, 20:32.79) and Kade Morgan (26th, 20:38.27).
Commerce girls’ took fourth (116 points). Paden Bell paced Commerce’s girls with a fifth-place finish (21:26.18), followed by Ermay Vazquez (23rd, 25:05.81), Carson Hawkins (30th, 27:02.82), Angel Hart (31st, 27:06.98) and Rachel English (33rd, 27:36.40).