BILLINGS - The first thing Bozeman's Hayley Burns did after crossing the finish line was take off her running shoes.
After breezing to a cross country win at Thursday's season-opening Billings Invitational, Burns couldn't peel them off fast enough.
"My feet were just on fire, so it was finally nice to just get them off," she said with a laugh moments after posting a winning time of 19:07:08. Burns beat Big Timber's Natalie Wood, who finished second in 19:28.72, by more than 21 seconds.
"It felt really good," the senior said. "It was kind of unexpected - I didn't know how I was going to do. It's nice being over."
Bozeman High teammate Connor Neil won a much closer boys race edging Gallatin's Carson Steckelberg in 16:12.99. Steckelberg was just a step behind in 16:13.55.
"I was kind of checking over my shoulder the last lap because me and that kid are friends, so I know he has a pretty good kick like that," Neil said. "I was just trying to make sure he wasn't coming."
Nearly 40 schools from across Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota brought teams to Amend Park.
Bozeman's boys and Cody's (Wyo.) girls ran away with the team titles.