The third time proved to be the charm for Carson High's boys' cross country team.
After finishing behind arch-rival Douglas at two invitationals, the Senators turned the tables on the Tigers with a 28-31 win Wednesday afternoon at Kingsbury Middle School.
The girls' team was even more impressive, capturing seven of the first eight places, en route to an 18-41 victory.
"I don't know if it's harder (to beat somebody three times)," Carson coach Todd Ackerman said. "Today was a lot like running a dual meet because Damonte Ranch only had one runner. In invitationals, your runners can be spaced out quite a bit. They were missing one of their top runners (Elliott McPeek), too.
"We've been running well. Some of the kids did not get out and do off-season workouts, and it's showing now. We're getting in better shape."
Douglas' Daniel Sipko and teammate Mike Freeman went 1-2, clocking 20:24 and 20:38, respectively, on the heavily wooded 3.1-mile course. Carson freshman Chad Shroy was third in 20:38.1, and Doug Holderman was fourth in 21:05. Douglas' Greg Mullen was fifth in 21:08.
Sipko ran uncontested the entire race, beating his closest competitor by 14 seconds, which was no easy task considering the two big hills the runners had to navigate.
"I felt I ran a pretty good race," Sipko said. "This is a hard course. There are two big hills, and the turns are pretty sharp. You can't go around them too fast. From a mental point of view, it is harder to push yourself when you are running by yourself."
Carson won the meet because of its ability to run in a pack. The Senators took the six through 10 spots, and had seven finishers before Douglas' fourth and fifth runners crossed the finish line, including Adam Houghton (sixth, 21:18), Shelby Moulden (seventh, 21:33), Seth Carter (eighth, 21:41), Tyler Bourns (ninth, 21:48) and Anthony Stevens (10th in 23:56).
Despite the close loss in the boys' race, Douglas coach Keith Cole was pleased with his squad. He feels if McPeek had run, and ran his normal race, the Tigers would have won.
"It's hard to do (win) when everybody's out," said Cole, who added that several runners have been hampered by colds. "Both Dan and Mike had great races up here. This is a hard course, and to go 1-2 is outstanding."
Janine Stone (24:23) and Annie Brinson (24:34), both of Carson, went 1-2 in the girls' race. Douglas' Rosalind Gould was third in 24:36. Patty Capistrant, Kristen Neddenriep, Amanda Benson and Megan Myers, all of Carson, took the next four spots.
"Janine ran well," Ackerman said. "From the way we've run in the past, this wasn't a surprise."
"It was a great run by Rosalind," Cole said. "Carson runs well together. Rosalind is clearly our fastest runner. The others are young, and haven't quite figured out the component of packing (pack running)."