Andrew Salley and Lydia Wenzel led the Halifax County High School cross country team to runner-up finishes in a season-opening dual meet at Tunstall High School on Tuesday.

Tunstall High School edged the Comets in the boys meet 25-32, despite Salley, Ethan Kirkhart and Will van Opstal finishing in third through fifth-place, while the Tunstall girls team finished with a low score of 15, compared to 47 for the Comets.

Wenzel was the top runner for Comets girls, finishing in sixth-place at the meet.

The Comets entered the meet with a limited amount of practice with limited meet experience, and both were factors, according to coach David Riddle.

“With the limited amount of practice, and the fact that many of these kids were competing in their first real event in close to over a year, I think the nerves were there a little bit,” noted Riddle.

“They all came ready to go and nobody gave up. Coach (Michelle) Palmore and I are pleased with the effort that they are putting in so far, and the fact that they are following all of the COVID protocols that have been put on all of them in order to compete.”

Riddle added that the team has gone above and beyond to follow the rules that have been put in place this year, and they will use the results from their first meet as motivation for upcoming meets.

“We have a great group out here and know that the times will go down as we move forward,” he concluded.

Comets boys times: Andrew Salley 18:41.03 (third); Ethan Kirkhart 21:10.64 (fourth); Will van Opstal 21:23.81 (fifth); James Francis 22:03.64 (ninth); Trevor Riddle 26:40.89 (18th); Nathan Comer 27:28.83 (19th); Luke Redd 28:09.20 (21st).

Comets girls times: Lydia Wenzel 27:22.57 (sixth); Morgan Crenshaw 29:03.35 (eighth); Mallory Salley 30:46.28 (10th); Ashley Irby 30:50.67 (11th); Jenna Hall 31:30.56 (12th); Jaci Parham 34:25.24 (13th); Susanna Watts 35:47.73 (15th).