A few days worth of rain made its impact on the Washington County Fairgrounds cross-country course.
There were puddles here and there Thursday afternoon, and more races meant more mud, but the hometown Arlington Eagles knew what they were getting into.
“Down this hill you want to make sure you're careful,” junior Colby Grefe said, pointing to the east end of the 5-kilometer trek. “It wasn't terrible. Better than I thought it was going to be.”
“The hill is a big advantage to us,” freshman Brynn Eckhart noted. “We do summer workouts there.”
Ultimately, the Eagles earned finishes they were proud of, but their Washington County neighbors from Fort Calhoun earned the big wins. The Pioneer boys sat atop the team standings at meet end, while freshman Bria Bench earned the individual girls title with a time of 20:47.1.
“Bria, she's awesome,” FCHS teammate Dala Drowne said. “I'm very proud of what she's become.”
While Bench earned gold, Drowne was fifth in 21:54.4. Tessa Skelton added a ninth-place finish, while Rowan Roehr and Kylie Perfetti were 22nd and 23rd, respectively.
“Practice has been really good for the Fort Calhoun girls,” Drowne said. “Every time we practice or do a meet, we push ourselves really hard.”
Eckhart, meanwhile, led the Arlington girls by knocking a minute off of her debut time the week prior. She was 12th in 23:00.8, while senior Elizabeth Morrison was 17th in 24:14.6. Charzlie Lambert was 24th in 27:19.9.
On the boys' side, the Pioneers' Jacob Rupp led all Washington County runners in second place. He finished the wet race in 17:44.5.
“It was super soupy going through it the first time,” Rupp said of one particular part of the track. “I saw that and knew it was going to be a little bit tougher.”
Lance Olberding followed for Fort Calhoun in third place, while his brother Ely was fourth. The runners stopped the clock at 17:48.9 and 17:53.8, respectively.
John McKennan was 11th — even after losing a shoe — and Luke Gustafson was 17th.
With its early success, the Fort Calhoun boys want to keep pushing. Rupp said Saturday workouts will be key, but so, too, will be preparing and competing in meets twice a week.
Grefe, meanwhile, led Arlington at home in fifth place. The junior said he clocked in at 18:06.6 because of his pacing and for another weather-related reason.
“The cooler weather,” he said. “I always run better in the cooler weather.”
The Eagles' Nolan May was 13th in 18:38.5 and Connor Flesner was 15th in 18:49.8. Sebastyen Taylor, Barrett Nielsen and Josiah Stonehocker were 19th, 20th and 33rd, respectively.