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Off on the right foot: Unorthodox relay, West win cap opening XC weekend
For the first and likely only time this season, a glove and a relay race were used to conduct a cross country meet.
That was the theme Saturday morning at Oak Grove Park in Grapevine, where several area teams fired up cross country season by competing in the Southlake Carroll 8-Mile Relay.
"It's the first time we've done a race like that; it was definitely different," said Tim Eshleman, Plano Senior head coach. "Being this early in the year, it's a good time to do something like that."
Teams took to the trail in groups of four, with each runner scampering two miles (two loops around the course) before handing a glove off to their teammate. Fluctuating between grass and dirt, the trail was based in a wooded area with a scenic lake view. While teams got to start off the season on an unorthodox note, there was little that was out of character in the way meet host Carroll conducted its business en route to placing first (40:38), second (40:52) and third (43:10) overall.
"[Carroll] was awesome," Eshleman said. "I think they're ranked No. 2 in the nation and they're definitely the real deal."
The Wildcats, boasting a pair of relays of their own, finished 19th overall (46:44) with Matt Hall, Steve Thotakat, Kevin McGivern and Colin O'Day anchoring the first relay and Jeff Key, Miles Davis, Chris Nelson and Drew Edwards piloting the second team, which finished 24th (47:49).
"I was pleased with what they did," Eshleman said. "They had been running all summer, so it was just a starting point. It was tough to find out where we stand in a 5K, but we'll find that out Saturday (at the Plano Invitational)."
Plano East also made its debut at the meet, placing eighth with its A relay (45:01) and 22nd with its B relay (47:31).
It was a different story at Warren Park in Frisco, where Plano West opened its season on a high note by placing first in the boys draw at the Frisco ISD Invitational.
The Wolves claimed four of the meet's top seven finishes, led by meet winner Grant Copeland (16:38.25), who was followed by Walter Edstrom in fourth (16:59.88), Luis Cuenca in fifth (17:00.12) and Drew Megura in seventh (17:01.97). Overall, West finished with 29 points, well ahead of second-place Jesuit's final tally of 92.
The Lady Wolves also enjoyed a measure of success, placing fourth in the meet with 136 points. At the forefront of that performance was Arielle Surles in seventh (21:02.88) and Zoie Wilson in ninth (21:05.50).
Plano's girls opened 2012 in third place at the Friday Night Hawk Invite. The Lady Wildcats finished with 85 points, led by Senayt Rinkevich's eighth-place run (12:15.05).
With the opening weekend to the cross country season in the books, all three Plano ISD schools competing should have a better idea where they stand at 8 a.m. Saturday from Jasper High School for the Plano Invitational.
"Everybody in our district will be there, so this is kind of a preseason district championship," Eshleman said. "It's going to be really competitive and I'm looking forward to see after the way this summer went, how these kids line up for that first meet."