With the fall high school sports season winding down to a close, conference championships and state tournaments are right around the corner.

High school cross country hosted the first of many championship events this week, as seven teams competed for the Kent County Championship on Tuesday at Brecknock Park.

The Caesar Rodney Riders claimed both the boys and girls titles, paced by top finishers Rebekah Mills and Sam Phillips.

Mills was able to hold off Smyrna’s Tori Vickers to take the girls title with a time of 19:00.19. After Vickers, four Riders helped finish out the top ten; Christine Marks (3rd), Gina Campagnini (4th), Jeanette Bendolph (6th), and Katherine Bole (8).

On the boys side Smyrna earned the top two spots as David Hall led the way with a time of 15:57.45 followed by teammate Gabriel Mojica at 16:16.59.  Caesar Rodney placed five runners in the top ten including, Phillips (2nd), Patrick Gallucci (4th), Brandon Brooks (5th), Presten DeMarreau (8th), and Bryce Stevenosky (9th).

On both sides, the Riders were able to keep pace with Smyrna who have used a pack mentality to help them win races this season, along with the talent they have leading the way. While Hall and Mojica were able to break loose from the field, the Riders did a great job of keeping pace, with three Rider boys finishing less than a minute behind first place.

Mills and Vickers jumped to the to the front nearly from the beginning of the race, keeping pace with one another the entire way. However, Mills picked her spot wisely toward the end of the race to break away from Vickers.

There were a lot of impressive times at Tuesday’s event, and the runners will use the experience to prepare for a short turnaround. This Saturday, the next big cross country event, the DIAA state tournament, will be held at Killens Pond State Park.