Kinsley Folsom’s concentration was blown in school all day.
Her mind kept wandering to after school, preoccupied with nerves.
"All day, the only thing I thought about was this race," said the Seymour sophomore.
The race was the 5-kilometer Seymour Invitational on Thursday at Freeman Field Athletic Complex, the Owls’ opening meet of the cross-country season and the only home meet this year.
"When we got to the starting line, it went away," Folsom said.
Folsom went out with the lead pack and stayed with the front-runners under the bright sun, placing fifth overall and leading Seymour to a second-place team finish in 22 minutes, 11 seconds.
Coach Spencer Sunbury had urged Folsom to regain the aggressive approach she had displayed in middle school to "get my little beast back," Folsom said.
The Seymour boys, with three runners in the top 10, took third in their team race. Ethan Dippold was lead man in fifth with a clocking of 17:29.48, just ahead of teammate Jude Bane’s 17:29.84 in sixth. Brandon Kleber was 8th in 17:59.
The other Owl scorers were Connor Harriss, 13th in 18:35, and Clay Greenawalt, 15th in 18:42.
There were 67 boys finishers representing 10 schools, although just six of the squads had full teams of five.
The sun beat down hard on the runners, except when they darted into the woods and received some shady relief. Most runners expected cooler conditions.
"It was pretty warm," Greenawalt said. "It did surprise me. There was a pretty good pace. I’m happy the way I performed."
Senior Brycen Baugh ran into problems on the route, nursing an aching calf.
"I started good, but I kept slowing down," he said.
The Brownstown Central boys took fourth. The Braves were led by Nathan Koch in seventh, pleased to dip under 18 minutes, if only barely, early in the season, at 17:59. His personal best is 17:27, and he is thinking big this season after a summer of hard work.
Koch was at 18:35 last weekend, but this was a flatter course.
"My goal is 16:30," Koch said of this season, though he added that with the COVID-19 pandemic, "I’m just hoping we get our season in."
The other Brownstown scorers were Andrew Wheeles (36th in 21:08), Cameron Day (37th in 21:13), Waylon Lutes (44th in 21:31) and Traven Wellman (46th in 21:42).
Wheeles held back at the start and came on.
"I like to go slower and I can catch people," he said. "I can pass people the whole race."
Only parents were encouraged to attend as spectators and the fans were scattered on the spacious course. Runners were handed fresh masks as they ran through the finishing chute.
Most took a little time to take deep breaths following their final sprint, but Karcyn Trueblood, who finished 55th for Brownstown in the girls race, pulled hers on immediately.
"They said you had to," Trueblood said of the rush to mount the facial covering. "I took a moment."
The Brownstown girls finished sixth with Jazzlynn Yeadon (38th in 26:56), Trueblood, Tori Lokey, (57th in 33:05), Camryn Thompson (58th in 33:06) and Rehgen Stuckwisch (60th in 36:07) making up the rest of the scoring.
There were 62 finishers from nine schools in the girls event.
"This year is about personal goals," said Braves coach Maria Conklin of her young team that lost six seniors from last year’s group.
Seymour girls coach Spencer Sunbury also said he was hoping the air would be a little cooler for the runners given how mild it was recently. He liked what he saw from the Owls overall.
"For the first meet, I’m happy with what we did today," he said. "There were a lot of nerves. They kind of forgot what it means to run a hard 5K."
Besides Folsom, Hayley Harpe (11th in 23:04), Vivienne Siefker (14th in 23:16), Samantha Jacobi (15th in 23:32) and Lillian Sunbury (19th in 23:58) were Seymour’s scorers.
Harpe, a 400-meter runner in track, was in the longest race of her career.
"I felt pretty good," Harpe said. "I thought my kick at the end was super good."
Girls teams: 1) Indianapolis Cathedral, 16; 2) Seymour, 64; 3) Charlestown, 78; 4) Jennings County, 91; 5) Bloomington Homeschool, 137; 6) Brownstown Central, 172.
Boys teams: 1) Jennings County, 41; 2) Indianapolis Cathedral, 43; 3) Seymour, 45; 4) Brownstown Central, 124; 5) Bloomington Homeschool, 144; 6) Jeffersonville, 152.