For the last few years, the Woodland High girls cross country team has been one of the preeminent programs in the state, regularly vying for the top spot at every tournament it attends.
That doesn't appear to be changing anytime soon, as evidenced by its season-opening race Saturday, the Ridge Ferry Invitational in Rome.
In fact, the Lady Wildcats are breaking new ground, even compared to their success of the past two years.
Woodland winning the Ridge Ferry Invitational was almost a sidenote to the records it broke in the process. The team ran an average time of 19:04, a program record. For some context, Woodland posted an average time of 19:33 in 2016 when it won the Class 5A state championship.
Leading the way, McKenna Trapheagen broke the program record with a time of 18:27, nearly 30 seconds faster than the next non-Woodland competitor in the 183-runner field. Trapheagen's time also is the second-best in the state across all classifications so far this year. Trapheagen has posted times in the middle of Woodland's lineup each of the past two years, but Saturday's first-place finish is an eye-opening season debut for the junior.
As a team, the Lady Wildcats won going away, with runners earning four of the top five and six of the top nine times.
Always among the top runners at each event, Tess Cochran placed second with a time of 18:53, which was a personal record. Freshman Rylee Evans was soon to follow in fourth with a time of 19:12 and Carli Clymer finished fifth at 19:19.
Baylee Evans in eighth at 19:25 (personal record), Cheyenne Spinks in ninth at 19:52 and Erica Boatner in 18th at 20:59 rounded out the dominant day for Woodland.
While the girls were breaking records, the Woodland boys had their own stellar performance, finishing second in the large field, behind only Class 7A Kennesaw Mountain.
The Wildcats were led by John Shropshire's top-10 finish with a time of 17:11. In a field of 238, Dylan Stermer was next for Woodland in 14th at 17:30, followed by John Forsyth in 26th at 17:56, Reece Mitchell in 34th at 18:14, Kobe Cochran in 38th at 18:20, Patrick Bollwerk in 55th at 18:41 and McKinley Chappell in 79th at 19:07.
Woodland will host its next race, which will be Saturday's Run at the Rock Invitational.