RICHLAND -- It wasn't just the clock and a field of 119 runners Anthony Armstrong was competing against Saturday afternoon.
Turns out the Kamiakin junior also was running against history, anchored by some larger-than-life athletes.
Armstrong carried the field in the boys race at the 42nd annual Richland Invite, his time of 14 minutes, 53.36 seconds the fastest ever run at the Carmichael Middle School course.
His time wasn't just 4 seconds better than North Central's Vince Hamilton. It topped the recent record marks put up by the likes of Southridge's Andrew Gonzales and NC's Andrew Kimpel in 2008 and, last year, the 14:55 run by Mount Spokane's Allan Schroeder at this event.
Never miss a local story.
"To be up on top of that list," said Armstrong, almost as breathless from the feat as from blazing around the 3-mile course. "Those guys are idols to me."
Kamiakin teammate Austin Richards finished sixth, but the Braves had to settle for fourth place in the team standings with 94 points, a point behind Hermiston and Mount Spokane but well back of four-time Invite champ North Central's 57 points.
The Kamiakin girls breezed to the team title with 44 points, less than half of second-place Richland's 103 points.
"We didn't think we'd beat them by that much, but we knew we'd do well today," said junior Stephanie Rexus, whose fourth-place finish led a trio of top-10 showings for the Braves, with Michelle Fletcher fifth and Kaylee Brooks seventh.
It was a big day for the Mid-Columbia girls, who grabbed six of the top seven spots.
North Central sophomore Katie Knight defended her title, also turning in a course record in 17:35.42.
Hanford's Erin Hegarty was second in 17:55.47, becoming just the fifth girl to break 18 minutes on the course and posting the fifth-fastest time. Richland's Katie Mahoney was third in 18:15.25 and Maggie Jones sixth.
Knight led wire-to-wire. Two weeks removed from her big win at the Bob Firman Invite, she set a fast pace and led as a pack of six runners broke from the field.
About 1 1/4 miles in, Hegarty, Rexus and Mahoney were neck-and-neck for second place as Knight slowly widened her margin.
It wasn't until early in the third mile that Hegarty separated herself, opening a 10-second margin on Mahoney and Rexus.
"I tried to pick it up a little bit," said Hegarty, adding she was happy with a second straight runner-up finish and her time, though "I'd like another shot at it."
Knight, who finished 2 seconds ahead of the mark Andrea Nelson of Shadle Park set in this race in 2007, said she wasn't worried about her time as much as she was her team, which finished sixth, as well as getting ready for the postseason.
"I need to practice big-race tactics," said last year's 3A state runner-up.
For Mahoney, whose third-place finish was her top showing in four Richland Invites, the race boiled down to getting pulled into a fast start with the leaders, and then holding on.
"I was just trying to hold my position and try not to lose Erin too much," she said. "I didn't want that Kamiakin girl to pass me."
No one was going to pass Armstrong when he shifted gears at the 2-mile mark.
To that point, it was a four-man race between Armstrong, Hamilton, Wenatchee's Jacob Smith and NC's Casey Adams.
"I wanted to go out with them, and it felt like no one wanted to lead for the first mile," Armstrong said. "When I hit that second hill, I was going to go. It didn't matter if I was behind or ahead, I was going to make my move."
Richards made up ground in the final mile and was headed to a fifth-place finish, but he was reeled in by friendly rival Nicholas Boersma of Wenatchee.
"I was trying to hold off Boersma," said Richards, who has fought through ankle and shin injuries over the years but is finally healthy as a junior.
"It feels great."
Hermiston edged Mount Spokane for second, as the Bulldogs' No. 6 runner finished one spot ahead of Mount Spokane's.
Hermiston had only one top-10 runner -- Eduardo Juarez in ninth -- but placed four in the top 20.
At Carmichael Middle School (3-mile course)
Team scores--North Central 57, Hermiston 93, Mt. Spokane 93, Kamiakin 94, Seattle Prep 125, Wenatchee 157, Nathan Hale 199, Camas 216, Richland 252, Snohomish 253, Hanford 283, Sunnyside 348, Woodrow Wilson 354, Eastmont 370, Kennewick 391, Southridge 414.
Top 10--Anthony Armstrong, Kam, 14:53.36; Vince Hamilton, NC, 14:57.52; Jacob Smith, Wen, 15:01.00; Casey Adams, NC, 15:10.16; Nicholas Boersma, Wen, 15:22.62; Austin Richards 15:22.83; Hunter Johnson, MS, 15:25.76; Jared Lehning, Sno, 15:33.15; Eduardo Juarez, Herm, 15:33.44; Connor Jones, MS, 15:33.94.
Chiawana--34, Matthew Sturtevant 16:23.72.
Richland--27, Cayle Turpen 16:15.86; 32, Michael Williams 16:21.85; 50, Ryan Francis 16:41.73; 75, Nathan Mather 17:02.11; Phil Vukelich 17:18.33.
Hanford--44, Erin Braich 16:36.31; 47, Shane Shelby 16:40.02; 62, Jeevan PHilip 16:52.17; 66, Noel Hathaway 16:54.05; 76, Marcus Nash 17:07.72.
Kamiakin--Armstrong; Richards; 28, Keeegan McCormick 16:17.64; 29, Phil Snyder 16:18.46; 33, Christitan Rodriguez 16:22.08.
Kennewick--43, Joseph Schuldheisz 16:35.64; 65, Ty Schoenwald 16:53.54; 98, Michael Martinez 17:49.38; 106, Clayton Butterfield 18:06.37; 110, Keenan Moll 18:25.41.
Pasco--111, Sergey Gorbatyuk 18:39.26; 117, Marco Moreno 19:14.52.
Southridge--74, Aaron Smith 17:01.45; 86, Luis Steel 17:26.53; 89, Nicholas Hathaway 17:32.66; 99, Isaac Lugenbeal 17:55.26.
Sunnyside--23, Juan Reynoso 16:09.04; 42, Nathan Gonzalez 16:33.36; 85, Omar Cantu 17:25.13; 113, Cee Soto 18:47.41; 114, Jaime Garcia 18:52.04.
Hermiston--9, Eduardo Juarez 15:33.44; 14, Javier Velasco 15:47.38; 18, Alejandro Cisneros 15:56.94; 20, Andrew Valdez 16:02.18; 35, Jose Macias 16:24.07.
Team scores--Kamiakin 44, Richland 103, Camas 106, Mt. Spokane 116, Wenatchee 131, North Central 150, Seattle Prep 179, Eastmont 179, Southridge 196, Nathan Hale 232, Hanford 237.
Top 10--Katie Knight, NC, 17:35.42; Erin Hegarty, Han, 17:55.47; Katie Mahoney, Rich, 18:15.23; Stephanie Rexus, Kam, 18:23.11; Michelle Fletcher, Kam, 18:39.37; 6, Maggie Jones, Rich, 18:55.30; Kaylee Brooks, Kam, 19:03.00; Lindsay Frederick, NH, 19:07.16; Austen Reiter, Cam, 19:21.61; Brooklin Young, MS, 19:27.58.
Chiawana--25, Kelsey Wilson 20:22.80.
Richland--Mahoney; Jones; 28, Kylie Bosch 20:29.25; 33, Samantha Bagley 20:39.91; 43, Meggan McElroy 21:15.89.
Hanford--Hegarty; 37, Bethany Dorian 20:49.21; 64, Lizz Anderson 22:03.37; 74, Jenna Berlin 22:36.77; 82, Kaloni Bird 23:21.64.
Kamiakin--Rexus; Fletcher; Brooks; 12, Sydney Blaser 19:29.66; 18, Brittany Brooks 20:00.39.
Pasco--65, Andrea Bonnington 22:04.22.
Southridge--11, Rachel Dahl 19:28.81; 32, Emily Butler 20:37.77; 46, Robyn Feil 21:22.85; 59, Leslie Olsen 21:57.63; 63, Hanna Nyberg 22:01.95.
* Kevin Anthony: 509-582-1403; email@example.com