Walton finished with 21 points, only two points behind first-place Roswell (19).
Unlike the usual cross country meet format, which consists of separate 3.1-mile boys and girls races, the stage race format consisted of five races — or stages — of 2 miles each, with boys and girls running together.
The Stage 1 races featured the No. 5 runners on each team, while the concluding Stage 5 race featured each squad’s top-ranked performer.
The Walton girls were led by last year’s Class AAAAA state runner-up, Alexa Womack. Womack ran a time of 11 minutes, 56 seconds to finish fourth among the girls in Stage 5.
“I was pretty pleased,” she said. “Nothing spectacular, but I’m happy with the starting point. I’m happy that our team did well. We should be really great this year, so I’m excited for everyone.”
Sara Hardin was the next-fastest finisher for the Walton girls at 12:29 to place second among the girls in Stage 4. Christie Sanders won stage 2 at 12:45 for the Lady Raiders.
Walton coach Travis Gower was pleased with what he saw of both his girls and boys teams.
“We didn’t have enough people up in the front in all the big stages, but I was pleased with, those who ran, how they did,” Gower said.
Walton’s Brian Sullivan led the way among the local boys with a time of 9:57 to finish third in Stage 5.
“I felt a little sluggish, but it’s a nice course, and it was a little bit hot,” Sullivan said. “But there were good competitors out there. It was nice, because there was a good top-five group, and I kind of paced off of them. At the end, it was kind of a dogfight almost.”
Pope’s Patrick Fleming was only 2 seconds behind Sullivan in Stage 5, placing fifth.
The Harrison boys were the only other Cobb team with a top-four showing, tying for fourth with Collins Hill in the team standings. Conner Ennis led the Hoyas with a time of 10:27 to finish 10th in Stage 5.
While the top four finishers among the boys and girls were announced after the race, the complete team results were not available at press time.