LANSING | For Bishop Noll's Sal Cordova, it was just fun running with the Crown Point boys.
Cordova placed second behind Crown Point's Tyler Gray, and Bulldogs Ryan Kepshire and Jacob Langbehn placed third and fourth, respectively, in Saturday morning's 42nd annual T.F. South/Rich Dust Invitational at North Creek Meadow.
"I really like running with Crown Point's team," Cordova said. "I found them right at the start and tried to stay with them the whole way. It was a lot of fun, especially at the end, sprinting it out with three of their guys. I had a blast."
Gray was able to hold off Cordova in a furious finish by each of the top four runners. Gray crossed the line in a time of 16:02 for the three-mile course.
"Our strategy was from the start to stay together," Gray said. "But our coach told us about the mile mark that we need to start moving, so whoever was up there was up there with us. Our goal was to finish a lot closer as a team, but I think we did pretty good."
The Crown Point boys won the team title, while Bloom Township finished seventh. Kepshire said a few Bulldogs runners had trouble with the course in 2012, but this year they had no problems.
"Last year, a couple of our guys got lost," Kepshire said. "It was better controlled this year, there were people there saying, 'Go this way,' and it was fun running with (Cordova), too."
Langbehn and the Bulldogs are happy with their times at this point, but he still believes there is plenty of room for improvement.
"We have the talent here," he said. "We just have to work on it."
Crown Point's Kayla McGurk won the girls varsity run with a time of 19:08. The Bulldogs (98) took third as a team.
"I thought I ran very strong today," McGurk said. "I felt controlled in the first mile. The second mile was a little rough, but I had a lot of my teammates cheering for me, so that was what really pushed me."
Lincoln-Way Central (37) finished first. Bloom Township's Gina Narcisi placed 16th for the Blazing Trojans, who were running in their first race.
"It's the first race of the year like my coach reminded me," Narcisi said. "So it was was tough getting through that second mile definitely and just finishing. It's a beginning, so just use this to move forward and work harder."
Tremayne Broy placed 17th for host T.F. South and wasn't too pleased with his run.
"I thought I could have done better today," Broy said. "I'll keep working on it and get better. I'm at a great start right now, and I'm just going to keep looking to go to state this year."