It was a pleasant night for running a 5K and celebrating a quartet of Franklin County seniors, but the East Central Trojans did their part to dampen the mood by sweeping the Wildcats in co-ed cross country Thursday, Sept. 2.

Senior Adam Grant was the home team’s top finisher on the evening, running a season best of 19:09 through the partly wooded FC course to place third overall. Classmate Ben Maze was right on his heels and placed fourth with his season low of 19:10.

“Ben and Adam started in the lead but were passed by EC’s Michael Schwebach just before the first mile,” explained coach Stacey Nobbe. “They and the Trojans’ Cole Benegas fought for the second spot throughout the second and third miles, pushing to those season PRs.”

EC did get three of the five top spots to win 21-44. Sophomore Owen Darwish continues to improve his times dramatically and dropped from 28:59 to 25:42.
The Lady Wildcats weren’t as fortunate to sneak into the top five and surrendered a perfect score to the swift Lady Trojans. Final was 15-63.

Freshman Esther George achieved a season best of 24:49, giving a strong kick in the finish lane. She continues to lead the FC girls’ efforts. Senior Katherine Apsley was next for FC with a time of 26:53. Her coach said Apsley’s times this year are an improvement over last fall. Nobbe also noted improvements by junior Kenzie Rogers, sophomore Moorea Nobbe and Isabella Thiemann, though stating the trio must combat fatigue in the last mile.

Two nights before on a damp Tuesday, the Wildcat teams visited the Oldenburg Academy technical terrain full of hills and turns. Despite the obstacles, FC overcame the host Twisters and Seton Catholic for an evening sweep. The boys scored 20 to edge OA by one point and Seton by two. The ladies had 21 to Seton’s 35 and OA’s 57.

Maze navigated the course for a 1st-place finish, setting a course record in the process. Grant came in just behind him for runner-up. Matching Grant on the girls end was George, taking second with a time of 26:21.

Junior Harmon Marshall started to gain ground on SC’s Jack Martin toward the end but ran out of real estate. Senior Eric Schwab was able to pass Oldenburg’s Santiago Schutte midway through the race and maintained his lead over the Twister foe. Darwish finished in 26:05.

Apsley, Rogers and Nobbe finished in consecutive order for FC, the latter runners clocking their fastest times of the year.

The Randolph Southern Invitational is Saturday.