QUINCY -- Lydia Kurfman wasn't sure when she should pass Jacksonville Routt's Kirsten Huffman to take first place.
Shortly into the first mile at the 17th annual Running Raider Classic, the Quincy High School girls cross country runner reluctantly decided to make her move.
"I was worried about taking off too fast, because the past couple of races I've been in first, and then people would run by me in the last mile," Kurfman said. "I just thought I should go for it and whatever happens happens."
It proved to be the right move. She didn't surrender first place after passing Huffman. Her lead only grew as she distanced herself from Liberty's Katelyn Robbins to win in 18 minutes, 49 seconds Tuesday at South Park.
Robbins finished in second place in 19:28. Unity's Megan Adams was third in 19:43.
"I just knew I couldn't slow down because everyone was going to have that kick at the end," Kurfman said. "They could blow past me, and I wouldn't be able to catch up."
Kurfman's victory was another highlight of what's been a successful 2017. She finished 20th in the 3,200-meter run in the Class 3A state meet in the spring, and she finished in second place in the girls 15-16 2,000-meter steeplechase at the USATF Hershey National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships in Lawrence, Kan., in July.
She's already set a QHS record this fall with a time of 17:52.53. Her victory in the Running Raider helped QHS win the team title with 96 points. Springfield Lutheran was second with 110, while Liberty was third with 118.
"She's just one of those kids who's aggressive, and she wants to do so well. She never wants to quit," QHS coach Matt McClelland said. "What she did in the spring and in the summer has led right into what she's doing this fall."
It was the first time in Robbins' career she didn't win the Running Raider after winning the last two years.
"Lydia's a really great competitor, and I knew we were going to go after it," Robbins said. "It's a really tough course. I'm happy with it."
Clark County's Sierra Stewart was 10th in 20:25, and Liberty's Carrie Balzer was 12th in 20:38. The Blue Devils' Valeria Howerton was 13th in 21:02.
17th annual Running Raider Classic
1. Lydia Kurfman, Quincy High School, 18:49
2. Katelyn Robbins, Liberty, 19:28
3. Megan Adams, Unity, 19:43
4. Kirsten Huffman, Jacksonville Routt, 19:48
5. Madeline Eck, Springfield Lutheran, 19:48
6. Carolina Jachino, Pleasant Plains, 19:59
7. Kate Klott, Bowling Green, 19:59
8. Isabella Ross, Moberly, 20:13
9. Bernadette Tournoux, Springfield Lutheran, 20:16
10. Sierra Stewart, Clark County, 20:25
11. Arika Hofmann, Monmouth-Roseville, 20:35
12. Carrie Balzer, Liberty, 20:38
13. Valeria Howerton, Quincy High School, 21:02
14. Zarra Humphry, West Hancock, 21:06
15. Kendall Marks, Quincy High School, 21:08
1. Quincy High School 96
2. Springfield Lutheran 110
3. Liberty 118
4. Moberly 121
5. Bowling Green 129
6. Centralia 165
7. Kirksville 233
8. West Hancock 244
9. Pleasant Plains 262
10. Monmouth-Roseville 265
11. Unity 268
12. Quincy Notre Dame 299
13. Macomb 306
14. Clark County 340
15. Beardstown 347
16. Clopton 259
17. Palmyra 399
18. Mark Twain 436
19. Marion County 509
20. Illini West 252
21. Elsberry 545