Henry Clay Invitational cross country winners Adrian Lyttle and Mia Cornette were a bit like tortoises Saturday.
Both left the early pace-setting to the faster hares, but maintained a steady stride and won going away over the rolling hills of Masterson Station Park.
Lyttle, a Tates Creek junior, won the boys' 5,000-meter (3.1-mile) event in 17 minutes, 20.4 seconds.
Cornette, a Lafayette sophomore, took girls' honors in 20:49.3.
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Temperature for the 10 a.m. start was well into the 80's and rising.
"All I was thinking in the race was 'hot'," Cornette said. "'Hot! Hot! Hot!'"
Her finish led Lafayette to the team title with 59 points. Paul Dunbar edged Tates Creek for second place, 77-79.
Pulaski County took the boys' title with 31 points. Dunbar slipped past Henry Clay, 81-84, to place second.
Lyttle was hesitant when Coach Chris Hawboldt told him to go out slow. The reason wasn't the heat but, rather, conditioning the Creek team to run as a pack.
"I wanted our first five to stay together until the mile," Hawboldt said. "Then, at a mile, (Lyttle) could go.
"He said 'I don't want to lose coach; I want to win this race.' I said 'Adrian, if you do what I tell you, you're going to win the race."
At the mile marker, Lyttle was about 25 yards off the lead.
"I was really comfortable going out around 5:30 the first mile," Lyttle said. "A comfortable pace. I just said, 'Hey, I can win this.' I started moving up, moving up."
By two miles, it was a two-man race between Lyttle and Pulaski County sophomore Jimmy Goldson.
Lyttle turned on the tortoise afterburner down the stretch to finish three seconds ahead of Goldson. Lafayette's John Spencer was another nine seconds back.
Goldson headed a dominant team performance, though. Pulaski's Austin Hyden, Mason Blevins, Morgan Stevens and Mason Stevens placed 4-6-7-12. The Maroons had two others in the top 25, with Dalton Lovins 18th and Matthew Crawford 24th. Pulaski's first six all are sophomores; Crawford is a freshman.
In the girls' race, Cornette trailed teammate Miranda Mullins for the first half-mile.
"She's so good at keeping consistent miles," Cornette said. "She started slowing down a little bit, and I was a good distance behind her.
"Then, when I caught up with her, I realized why it was slowing down because up there it was so hot."
Hot because that was where what little shade the course offered gave way to sun.
Once in the lead, Cornette rapidly pulled away to win by more than a minute.
Fleming County eighth-grader Abby Fearin took second in 22:00.9, followed by Mullins in 22:15.8.
"Mia's really, really strong right now," Lafayette Coach Tom Stickel said. "She's right with the best of them this early in the season, and she likes the hills. ... She ran very smart, very intelligent and just attacked when she had to."
Completing the Lady Generals' scoring were Oliva Rodriguez in 12th (11th in team scoring), Elise Shainfield in 21st and Mary Grace Hill in 25th.