Marlee Henschel paced a 1-2 finish for Walden Public School in the junior girls race, beating teammate Katie Chomiak over the road and trail course that ended adjacent to the soccer fields in Falconbridge.
MacLeod Public School dominated the junior boys race as Dario Beljo, Kendyn Mashinter, Ethan Sheppard and Nathan Stagg swept the top four placings, easily securing the team championship banner for their school.
First rising to prominence back in Grade 6, Lively District senior Ben Lagadin was back on top once again, capturing the senior boys division ahead of Aiden Martel of Pinecrest.
After enduring the pure cross-country runs earlier this fall in less than ideal weather conditions, Lagadin was ready for a change in Falconbridge.
"It was easier running on the road, a lot better," he said. "You can get better strides out there. On the trails, they're usually wet and you can slip on them."
Still, after starting the course on the streets of Falconbridge, the youngsters head back into bush country, including something of a challenge in the early going.
"I was in second to start the race, but when I went up the big sand hill, that's when I passed the first place," Lagadin said.
It was a race trademark that also caught the attention of senior girls champion Karly Hellstrom.
"The big sand hill at the beginning tires your legs a lot," said the Nesbitt Public School senior. "The other races, there's not really a big hill like that."
After competing in this event in both grades 5 and grade 6, Hellstrom by-passed the 2011 race, concerned with re-injuring a broken wrist that was healing. A top end soccer talent as well, Hellstrom concedes that her interest in distance running remains a secondary pursuit, well back of her passion for the "beautiful game."
Not that this has stopped her from achieving success in the former, also finishing first at the well-attended Laurentian Cross-Country Challenge at the end of September.
"The Laurentian race was warmer and there was no rain," explained Hellstrom, comparing her two triumphs. "This one felt a little worse, because you were cold when you were running."