The women teams prepare to race during the cross country championship on June 29. The Spartans men’s team and the Hawks women’s team had the highest scores. KATRIEL MADSEN | Scroll Photography

The men’s and women’s Cross Country Championship was held Friday night at the Rexburg Municipal Golf Course.

The Spartans men’s team took first place. The Hawks won the women’s competition.

Before the races began, teams huddled together to mentally prepare themselves to run. The Hawks chanted, “Hawks fly together,” as other teams shouted their own cheers.

Just before the race began, runners and fans stood together in reverence as the National Anthem was sung. Once it was completed, the crowds began to cheer again.

The 3.1-mile course was lit only by the moonlight and marked by glow sticks. Runners wore colored glow sticks around their wrists to distinguish themselves from the other teams.

“It was a race like no other: like a dimly lit carnival,” said Spartan team member Scott MacKay, a senior studying business management.

It was so dark that a number of runners made a wrong turn or two while trying to run the course. One runner even suffered an injury during the race.

“Your sense of balance and speed is thrown off in the dark,” MacKay said.

That didn’t stop him from helping his teammates become champions. MacKay came in sixth place with a time of 19:10.

The final scores for the men’s league were Spartans, 34, Thunder, 38, Hawks, 75, and Hurricanes, 81.

For the women’s league, the scores were Hawks, 33, Hurricanes, 53, Spartans, 62, and Thunder, 63.