Northwestern Middle School’s cross country teams participated in the West Feliciana Relays on Sept. 5 in St. Francisville.

Members of the boys and girls relay teams ran a distance of 1.25 miles each at the only meet run in a relay format, NMS coach David O’Nellion said.

Running a total distance of 5 miles, the runners will compete in 2-mile formats the rest of the season, he said.

The boys team of Wyatt Barbe, Dylan Jackson, Easton Rider and Easton Rish broke the 2014 record, which was set by a Northwestern Middle team with a time of 31:15. This cross country squad finished 11 seconds faster at 31:04.

Jackson, an eighth-grader, returns as the leader of the boys squad this season.

“With the addition of Rish, Rider, Barbe, Tate Bell, Kyle Bennett and Ethan Savario, I’m looking for more of the same success this year,” O’Nellion said.

Last season, the NMS boys finished third overall in the Baton Rouge area.

“It’s a great accomplishment finishing that well because there are some outstanding teams out there,” O’Nellion said.

The girls cross country team of Bayley Avants, Katy Knecht, Kylie O’Brien and Jakenzie Thymes placed third at the meet in St. Francisville.

Led by returning member O’Brien, Knecht, newcomer Thymes and twins Alexis and Kaylan Callihan, the squad is one of the largest O’Nellion has ever had.

“I’m really excited, not only about this year but next season, as well,” O’Nellion said. “Copper Mill started a team last year, which is the feeder school into NMS, and based on that, the future looks bright for NMS cross country.”

Both teams competed against Episcopal in the Round Table Run at Highland Road Park on Sept. 12. On Sept. 26, they’ll compete in the Battlefield Cross Country Festival at Port Hudson.

Besides cross country, O’Nellion coaches eighth-grade boys basketball.