New Franklin and Bunceton cross-country teams both held their own while competing against a strong field over the weekend in the Mexico Invitational.
While 49 boys and 49 girls competed at the varsity level, New Franklin coach Adam Quest said this was the Bulldogs first full 5,000 race of the year.
Alex Dukes of Mexico had the fastest time overall in 17 minutes and 46 seconds. Reyna Schmauch of North Callaway led the field for the girls in 22 minutes and 6 seconds.
As for the New Franklin boys, Sam Ridgeway finished 24th overall in 21 minutes and 20 seconds. Tyler Perkins placed 27th overall in 21 minutes and 50 seconds, followed by Jackson Dorson in 37th place in 23 minutes and 49 seconds and Hayden Wiseman in 49th place in 27 minutes and 10 seconds.
Quest said with all four members of the team being freshman, this was the first full 5000m race of their careers.  
“Similar to earlier in the week at the Salisbury meet, I felt like the Mexico meet was more of a learning experience than anything else,” Quest said.  “I wasn't all that concerned with how they finished.  Running the full distance is quite a bit further than any of these boys has ever run in a meet before, and without that experience, it's hard to know how to pace yourself.  In the end, the boys were all certainly worn out, but all four competed very hard, and all seemed to be happy with their results.  
As for Bunceton, head coach Annie Duffner said the boys competed in the JV race against a field of 39 runners.
Duffner said Dakota Rose finished 30th in the JV race in a time of 27 minutes and 3 seconds while Brayden Doyle took 31st overall in 28 minutes and 11 seconds, Payton Johnson 33rd in 28 minutes and 25 seconds and Hunter Griffin in 37th in 31 minutes and 25 seconds.
“They all ran JV since it is our first meet of the season and I just wanted to see what everyone was capable of running,” Duffner said. “We had been running for a couple of weeks getting in our practices but I know we still have some more training to do in order to get our times better each race. They worked hard at Mexico and each had a strong finish at the end.”
Bunceton also had one female participant, according to Duffner. She said Chloe Moser finished 22nd overall in the JV race in a time of 41 minutes and 22 seconds.