DANVILLE — With the favorites missing, Lincoln County's Alex Bunch and West Jessamine's Jarred Brewster ran in to fill the void.
Bunch, an eighth-grader, won the girls' 5,000-meter cross country run Saturday at the seventh annual E.G. Plummer Invitational.
Never miss a local story.
Brewster, a senior, romped by 40 seconds in the boys' race.
Kaitlin Snapp, two-time defending state champion from Danville, did not run because she was playing for the Admirals in the All "A" soccer tournament.
Will Stratford, West Jessamine's top runner, missed the event because of a collegiate entrance exam.
Mason County, led by fifth-place finisher Julia Woods, took the girls' team title with 42 points. Tates Creek, behind third-place runner Madalyn Stichnot, was second with 71.
With the temperature in the mid-80s, a gusting wind and a hilly course, Bunch was timed in 21:06. Runner-up Adreanne Shearer of West Jessamine finished in 21:31.
"I kind of wanted to keep it around six-minute miles," Bunch said. "But, actually, at one point I just wanted to finish."
Burgin, paced by Bill and Jon Beckerson in sixth and 11th, edged West Jessamine 68-69 for boys' team honors.
Brewster completed the 5K in 17:48, followed by Lincoln's Eric Sanders in 18:28. Somerset's Brent Joplin took third in 18:38.
"It went really well, all things considered," said Brewster, who had celebrated homecoming Friday and then some. "I stayed out until like 5 a.m. last night. I felt pretty good this morning, and I came out and just ran my best."
As for his teammate's absence, Brewster said: "I always like Will racing because we push each other and we have a really healthy competition going. I'd really love for him to be here even if it meant me not winning."