The format for the Cougar Co-Ed, though, was slightly different from most cross country races.
"This is a different event," North Putnam coach Jason Chew said. "It's not your normal 5K race."
What wasn't normal about it was there were not separate boys' and girls' races. Instead, each team's total score was composed of the finish of the top three boys and the top three girls.
"Our original intent was to make it more about the program than just the boys' team and the girls' team. We wanted to make it more about how the cross country program at your school is doing," Chew said. "I think we rewarded the team that had the best program. South Putnam obviously has the best program that was involved here. They have over 30 kids out, so I'm real proud of what (coaches) Brian (Gardner) and Andy (Wise) are doing at South Putnam."
For the coaches of the winning team, this was a good start to the season.
"I thought we ran really well," said boys' coach Gardner. "It's an extremely hot day, and running through woods and weeds is not the greatest for breathing.
"As far as the first meet is concerned, I think one of the things our team has is we're in a really close, tight pack. One of our goals is to be within 1:30 on our top seven. I don't know if we're there or not, but we had seven of the top 10. Any time you can go into a meet and you have seven of the top 10, you have to be happy about it."
The Cougars actually had enough runners to field two teams, as well as fielding most of the competitors in the open race (junior varsity) that preceded the Cougar Co-Ed.
The Eagles No. 2 team also placed fourth overall.
"Given the fact that the heat's like this, just to be competitive, I thought we did a good job," said girls' coach Wise. "We're happy today. I think we ran well."
Cloverdale finished third in the team competition, led by Kyle Chambers (11, 21:45) for the boys and Jenna Lewis (22, 23:33) for the girls.
Coach Sam Brown said the Clovers had work to do, but understood that the first race, especially in such heat, can be tough.
"For the first time out, I think they did an all right job," Brown said. "I'm not satisfied with what we ran today."
On the girls' side, he sat top runner Chelsie Haltom out with shin splints, choosing to save her for later in the year. Instead, Lewis was his top female runner. Brown said she ran "a really nice race," but saw room for improvement in her pacing, as she got out to a very fast start.
On the boys' side, Brown, like everyone else, was looking up at South Putnam, knowing they will be a team to contend with once the big meets come.
"If we're going to win anything this year, we need to get up and run with the South Putnam boys. That's all there is to it," Brown said. "There are 20 of them, and I think today in the top 10, they had seven, and we have to compete a lot better than we did. I think we had Kyle Chambers up there (11). I thought he did a good job."
Besides his front runners, Brown also singled the performances of Brynlea Mattocks, James Fidler and Chris Arnold, a freshman running his first--ever cross country event.
North Putnam was unable to field a complete team, with one boys' runner out. However, assistant coach Kevin Lutes was very happy with those who were able to make the run.
"I was very happy with the way our team ran," Lutes said. "The runners who were here showed a lot of effort. They improved on times they ran earlier in the week"
Lutes said Hillary Salyers "ran a great race and gave us great leadership." He was especially pleased with Whitney High and Marsella Centeno, who are both new runners to the program. He said Dakota Parent also did well, running her best 5K time ever.
On the boys' side, he was just happy with the mental toughness.
"The guys just ran their hearts out," Lutes said. "With the heat, it was just a tough race. Mentally, they had to struggle through it, and I think they showed a lot of perseverance."
Chew, who had to spend his time Tuesday as more of a meet director than a coach, was just happy with how the event came out. While this was the first time for the Cougar Co-Ed, it ran smoothly, as if it had been done before.
"I think it went as well as we could have expected for the first time," Chew said. "I thank all the volunteers who helped and all the coaches for being great and coming out for the first time. I wish we could have done something about the weather, but other than that, I was happy with how everything went."
The event also featured an open race before the actual Cougar Co-Ed event. This was a race primarily for those runners who would be considered junior varsity or for some other reason were not on a team in the actual event. Twelve of the 15 runners in the open race were South Putnam boys, with the large size of their boys' team this year. The other three were Cloverdale runners. South's Green placed first, with a time of 21:36.
At North Putnam
South Putnam 1 (72), Monrovia 1 (89), Cloverdale (103), South Putnam 2 (121), North Putnam (Incomplete), Monrovia 2 (Inc.), Eminence 1 (Inc.), Eminence 2 (Inc.)
(Putnam County only)
South Putnam -- 1. Tyler Shoffner 19:41, 3. Jon Weaver 20:12, 4. Brad Eickhoff 20:24, 5. Dylan Hayes 20:26, 8. Tyler Heavin 21:08, 9. Tanner Barr 21:17, 10. Andrew Northrup 21:30, 15. Andrew Kelly 22:10, 19. Shannon Egold 23:07, 32. Meghan Canary 26:27, 34. Cassie Davis 26:40, 42. Lauren Haynes 28:56, 46. Bailey Birt 32:32, 49. Emily Baker 33:22, 50. Brittney Cox 34:10
Cloverdale -- 11. Kyle Chambers 21:45, 17. Chris Arnold 22:52, 18. James Fidler 32:02, 21. Zach Waycott 23:26, 22. Jenna Lewis 23:33, 30. Brylea Mattocks 25:45, 36. Alyssa Williams 27:17, 40. Ashley McCallie 28:17
North Putnam -- 14. Kenny Quisenberry 22:05, 38. Korey Cooper 27:51, 39. Hillary Salyers 28:14, 44. Whitney High 30:45, 45. Marcella Centeno 31:56, 51. Dakota Parent 37:25
South Putnam -- 1. Seth Green, 2. Jacob Parker, 3. Paul Rubino, 4. Josh Olczack, 5. Tim Tolen, 6. Shea Arnold, 8. Seth Bowen, 9. Cameron Chesnutt, 12. Loren Ashkraft, 13. Bryce Steinbaker, 14. Martin Alia 26:44, 15. Noah Boswell 27:20
Next meet -- Cloverdale, North Putnam and South Putnam will all be competing in the Eagle Medley at South Putnam at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.