It only seemed appropriate that the first day of Section III cross country competition involved some wild weather.
In the case of Saturday's Jordan-Elbridge Invitational, though, at least it was run in the morning, where high winds were the only serious obstacle and the rain had not yet arrived.
Still, it was a good challenge for the assembled runners, who had to tackle steep hills and seven hurdles consisting of hay bales, which more than made up for the fact that the course was just 2.5 miles along, as opposed to the standard 3.1 miles done in most meets.
And no one, on the girls side, handled it better than J-E’s Abby Gugel, who beat 45 other competitors. Gugel’s time of 16 minutes, 29 seconds helped her hold off Homer’s Jade Auchmoody by three seconds.
Further back, the Eagles’ Brianna Byrnes was 14th, in 19:03, with Emily Kuehnle in 25th place (20:53) and Lauren Hubbs 25th in 21:02. Sarah Knapp was 34th.
Westhill ran here, too, with Genny Corcoran 16th in 19:13, Mary Kate Washburn 18th (19:25) as Caroline Black (20:21), Anastasija Useva (20:59) and Claire Sheen (21:24) also cracking the top 30.
In the boys race, J-E’s Jack Gugel rose to fourth place, his time of 14:45 not far from the winning effort of Baldwinsville’s Andy Fleming, who prevailed in 14:16.
Gugel’s teammate, Nathan Hollis, was 20th in 15:39, one spot and four seconds ahead of Westhill’s top runner, Alec Walsh (15:43). Jacob Patterson ran to 23rd place (15:47), with Nick Parkolap and Bill Direnzo (16:21) trailing Westhill runners Dan DeMauro (15:54) and Josh Owens (15:59).