OKEECHOBEE — Ethan Scammell of South Fork won the boys race and Lauren Macon of Lincoln Park Academy won the girls race at the first cross country meet of the season Thursday at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center.
Fort Pierce Central won the boys title with Okeechobee second, South Fork third and Lincoln Park in fourth place.
Lincoln Park Academy won the girls title followed by South Fork, Fort Pierce Central and Okeechobee.
Okeechobee had just four girls participate and none of them were able to break the top 15.
The event was called the Okeechobee Bulls Invite.
Top performances for the boys included Brendan Patterson who finished in third place with a time of 19:10. Hunter Sills finished right behind in fourth place. Gerardo Saucedo finished in fifth place at 19:14. Dylan Ferneau finished 11th with a time of 19:44. Isaac Garcia finished in 14th place with a time of 20:13.
The Okeechobee High School Brahmans lost top runner Daniel Shelley to an ankle injury during the race.
Macon, who suffered a broken foot last year and missed the cross country season, was able to turn in a personal-best time in her first race of the year.
“I feel really good and excited. It definitely was a lot cooler than its best these last two weeks. I’ve been running since sixth grade and it’s my passion,” she added.
Macon worked hard in the off season as she ran 267 miles during training and also attended a running camp to tweak her form and learn more about the sport. She said she likes to work with the younger runners and help them improve.
“I just wanted to go out there and run and do the best that I could and I guess I did pretty well. I really couldn’t see the clock so I didn’t know what time I was running but I knew it was fast and it was really exciting,” she added.
Macon finished the course in 20:54. Her teammate Lauren Baumgarten finished in second place with a time of 21:54.
Scammell said it felt really good to start his season with a victory. He came into the race just hoping to finish in 18 minutes or so and was able to break that goal by over 30 seconds.
“I just wanted to stay at the front and see where I went from there. The Fort Pierce kid was right up on me the entire time. It was a good race and I thank Okeechobee for putting it on,” he added.
The course included a path right through the heart of the Agri-Civic Center arena. An afternoon thunder storm an hour before the race helped cool things down for the contestants.
Charles M. Murphy is a staff writer for the Okeechobee News