Jillian Richardson of Edward Little runs the final straightaway en route to a win on Friday at Leavitt Area High School. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)

TURNER — Edward Little’s Jillian Richardson and Mt. Ararat’s Lisandro Berry-Garviria ran the best on an unfamiliar course in Friday’s cross country meet at Leavitt Area High School.

The usual route for the yearly meet for KVAC teams was changed to a three-lap course that included more hills than the runners expected, and in some cases, more than they were prepared for.

Another question mark for runners and coaches was the distance of the course.

“It felt longer than a 5(-kilometers),” Berry-Garviria said. “My watch usually loses its signal in the woods and so it usually shows less distance than I did, and my watch today showed 5K. I’d say it was probably at least 5.2K.”

Part of the discrepancy in distance was how it was measured. The Leavitt course was said by coaches to have been measured via shortest distance instead of the usual middle of the path. This may have forced runners to run a little bit more than measured.

Berry-Garviria won the boys’ race with a time of 19:04, a slower time due to the new course, the unseasonable heat and leg tightness that has been plaguing him recently.

“I’ve been dealing with a little bit of tightness in my leg over the past week, so I just focused on controlled effort, running with the pack and trying to pace my teammates,” Berry-Garviria said.

And he set a nice pace, as three of his teammates finished in the top-five, and all crossed the finish line within 21 seconds of Berry-Garviria.

Luke Bartol of Maranacook was the lone runner in the top five not wearing the red and blue. He placed fourth-place with a time of 19:21.

“It wasn’t the best race for me today,” Bartol said. “There has been a lot of running and training this week because I’m not in the best shape leg-wise. There were two (Mt. Ararat runners) that ran with us the whole time, but then at the end two more came out of nowhere. It was fun.”

The girls’ race it was all Richardson, from start-to-finish. Richardson knew it, too.

“I knew I could take the lead at the start, so I wanted to take it out fast, go up the hills hard and use the momentum going down,” Richardson said. “I would have liked the course to stay the same to see if I have improved any, but I definitely feel good.”

Richardson started with a first mile of just over six minutes, followed somewhat closely by Kahryn Cullenberg of Mt. Blue. Friday’s heat (80 degrees at the start of the race) was a factor in everyone’s times, including Richardson, who finished in 21:11. Richardson also believes she ran longer than 5 kilometers.

“I think it went good but I was definitely expecting a little bit faster,” Richardson said. “My coach said it was probably 3.3 miles.”

Cullenberg ran a strong race given the conditions, finishing in second place with a time of 22:30.

“I tried to picture it as a track race and say, ‘OK, if I picture it like a mile then I’d have four laps and this is only three laps,’” Cullenberg said. “So each time I went through I’d say, ‘OK, I only have to go through this part two more times.’ I think saying that strategy in my head helped me stay motivated.”

Jillian Richardson of Edward Little leads the cross country race held Friday at Leavitt Area High School. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)

Luke Bartol of Maranacook races beside Andrew Chamberland of Mt. Ararat Friday at Leavitt Area High School. (Submitted photo)

Lisandro Berry-Garviria races beside Nate Cohen passing the first mile marker on Friday at Leavitt Area High School. (Adam Robinson/Sun Journal)

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