By Carey Phillips
Smoky Mountain’s men opened their season with a win, and the women placed second Saturday in a cross country meet at Swain.
“The boys and girls did exceptionally well,” Coach Adam Phillips said.
The Mustang men had 44 points to Murphy’s 49. Swain was third at 54, followed by Hayesville (92) and Hiwassee Dam (102).
Parker Smith led SM as he was fourth in 18:29. Caleb Phillips placed sixth in 18:40, and Zeb Mathis was seventh in 18:44. Completing the Mustangs’ top five were Aidan Menickelli (16th, 20:09) and Coleman Hopfinger (17th, 20:16).
“I was really impressed that the boys had three in the top 10 and five in the top 20,” Phillips said.
He noted that Mathis and Menickelli are freshmen.
Swain won the women’s meet with 19 points to SM’s 54 and Murphy’s 59.
Lily Buenting paced the Lady Mustangs as she was third in 21:53. Maia Wilde finished seventh in 23:09. Rounding out SM’s top five were Jainy Hoang (18th, 27:22), Vivian Bell (19th, 28:09) and Morgana McCullough (20th, 28:19).
“Lily and Maia picked up where they left off and had a really good first meet,” Phillips said.
He pointed out that the remainder of the top five were running in their first meet ever.
“Coach (Nathan) Frizzell and myself were very proud of the kids,” Phillips said.