For some, this is old hat. Dario Beljo of MacLeod Public School captured the junior boys crown for the third straight year, acknowledging that this title might well have been the most difficult yet.
"Last year, I wasn't as nervous," he said. "I just tried getting it done. But before this race, I was very nervous. All of the races this year, Kendyn (Mashinter) has been really close. I ended up pulling it off, but it wasn't easy."
A first-place finisher at races hosted at other local venues, the Grade 6 multi-sport athlete admits that the year-end setting is not his most favourite.
"This one is a road race, and I'm not a big fan of road races," said Beljo. "I like Laurentian a lot. I think I'm just used to Laurentian."
While Beljo makes the jump to the senior ranks next fall, Blaze Cucksey of Princess Anne might draw on his track record for inspiration.
At just nine years of age and currently in Grade 4, Cucksey has already cracked the top four in her division, with still a couple more years of eligibility remaining. And like Beljo, she overcame some pre-race butterflies to do so.
"I really, really wanted to get into the top 10, so I get nervous, because all of the bigger kids have bigger legs than me," Cucksey said.
Despite racing on this course for the first time, the diminutive speedster had a game plan in place, right from the start.
"When I go on my racing line, I try and look for an opening, so I can just run instead of being pushed in the crowd."
Preceeding Cucksey to the finish line were the Walden tandem of Katie Chomiak and Brenna Crowe, as well as Heidi Lamothe from MacLeod.
If Beljo is an all-too familiar face in this event, the same could not be said for senior first-place finisher James Scott from Central Manitoulin.
"The last time I did a meet in Sudbury was in Grade 4 for track and field, and I was named best athlete in the Rainbow Board," said Scott, now in Grade 8.
"So it's awesome to come back here again."
Scott bested Aiden Martel of Pinecrest by less than 100 metres, leading a very strong contingent of Eagles that flew under the direction of head coach Gerry Holliday.
The Central Manitoulin team, all of whom finished in the top half of the race, included Isaac Goss, Hunter Cranston, Cole King and Bailey James, with Carissa Holliday settling for silver in the senior girls race.
Crossing the line just ahead of the coach's daughter was Sydney Tarini of R.L. Beattie, an accomplished runner who captured gold at the Adanac race earlier this fall before finishing second at the Laurentian Invitational.
"Last night, I went over a strategy to crest the hill and make sure I have a nice lead there," said Tarini. "However, it didn't go exactly as planned, so I kind of went with the flow. I was in first the whole way, but the girl who came in second (Holliday) was right on my tail."
Tarini is among a group of local athletes who spent the summer working out with coach Meghan Juuti and the Track North Bobcats, now preparing for her first season of indoor training.
It's the latest step in a very gradual evolution for the well-spoken Grade 8 student, who already looks forward to joining Colin Ward and the Lo-Ellen Park Knights next year.
"I started slowly, in Grade 4 or 5, and I increasingly got faster and faster and started training more," she said.
Following is a breakdown of the top five finishers in each of the four divisions:
1st - Dario Beljo (MacLeod)
2nd - Kendyn Mashinter (MacLeod)
3rd - Lucas Howland (Walden)
4th - Nolan Moxam (Walden)
5th - Austin Mashinter (MacLeod)
1st - Katie Chomiak (Walden)
2nd - Breanna Crowe (Walden)
3rd - Heidi Lamothe (MacLeod)
4th - Blaze Cucksey (Princess Anne)
5th - Hanna Smith (Algonquin)
1st - James Scott (Central Manitoulin)
2nd - Aiden Martel (Pinecrest)
3rd - Ethan Sheppard (MacLeod)
4th - Ethan O'Bumsawin (Levack)
5th - Jacob Socransky (R.L. Beattie)
1st - Sydney Tarini (R.L. Beattie)
2nd - Carissa Holliday (Central Manitoulin)
3rd - Paige St Jean (Algonquin)
4th - Kennedy Parks (A.B. Ellis)
5th - Nathalie Marks de Chabris (R.L. Beattie)