CAMBRIDGE — Cross country coach Henry Sabetti believes times are relative.
He says if you want to see how fast a runner is, put him on a track.
If you want to see how tough he is, put him on a cross country course.
By that standard, Sabetti says, Kent County’s runners — boys and girls — are Trojan tough.
They proved that Thursday, Sept. 9 in the season opener, the annual Rumble in the Jungle that is hosted by Cambridge-South Dorchester High School.
This year, due to all the rain this region received as Tropical Storm Ida barreled up the East Coast during the first week of September, two-thirds of the 3-mile course was underwater — knee deep in spots.
Runners slipped and sloshed through the woods and open spaces, and at least one fell into the pond that comes up to the course.
Given the conditions, the Trojans “ran their hearts out,” Sabetti said. “I was very proud,” he added.
Junior Jacob Bohle, the team’s two-time reigning MVP, was the first Kent County runner into the chute. He was 48th overall in a field of 137 boys, stopping the timer in 21 minutes, 45 seconds.
Sophomore Ben Loller, who was making his cross country debut, toured the course in 22:35 and Sam Buckel finished in 26:42.
Kent County does not have the five finishers required to score as a team.
James Bennett senior Timothy Synowiec led the way in 16:03. Cambridge senior John Condon (16:47) was the only other racer to run under 17 minutes.
Kent Island’s Finn Walsh, the 2019 state runner-up, owns the Rumble in the Jungle record of 16:00.2 and the course record of 15:24.7 — established six weeks apart in the fall of 2019.
In the girls race, Kent Island junior Sarah van Ornum (19:46) held off Manchester Valley senior Rubie Goffena (19:50). Old Mill junior Rosemary Baquie was a distant third in 21:54.
There were 82 girls.
Kent County sophomore Haylee Bohle was 30th in 26:14. Classmate Charlotte Cousineau, also making her high school debut, finished in 27:50.
The other sophomore on the team, Molly Depp, did not compete.
Sabetti, who returns for a seventh year as head coach, described his squad as “a delightful group of kids ... all in different levels of conditioning.”
He said the Bohle siblings did a significant amount of training over the summer at the Charm City Run high school cross country camp, three days a week over seven weeks at Kent Island High School. Buckel, a three-year letter winner, was able to participate only for a week due to other commitments.
Loller also did some running on his own this summer.
Sabetti has a modest and attainable goal for the Trojans: to make consistent improvement.
“We’ll see where we are at the end of the season,” he said, and “hopefully have a shot at qualifying one or two for states.”