The unexpected early snowfall in Baumholder and the white rolling hills made the already challenging cross country course a bit more exciting for all participants in the Department of Defense Dependent Schools European Cross Country Championships Oct. 27.

Although some runners forfeited at the last minute, 123 girls and 155 boys weathered the frosty conditions at the Rolling Hills golf course in Baumholder, solely set up for the cross country event. Eighteen girls' and 23 boys' teams from around Europe participated.

"I've never been to a cross-country race before, and this was an incredible experience. Over 150 runners at the starting line, wind whipping snow into participants and spectators alike, when all the runners stripped down to shorts and T-shirts in the cold Baumholder weather. I was freezing just watching them," said Lt. Col. Mike "Sully" Sullivan, USAG Baumholder commander.

"I really liked the course … could have done without the snow, but it certainly made everything interesting," said Thomas Manual, who ran for the Patch High School team.

The 5-Kilometer run looped the wintery scenic hills twice as spectators kept warm by moving back and forth to watch every leg of the run and cheer for their favorite runners.

Baileigh Sessions from Patch High School came in first in the girls' competition at 20:20,04, While runner Michael Lawson from Kaiserslautern High School took the boys' field in 16:56.79.

"What a great opportunity to showcase our capabilities as hosts for this European-wide event," said USAG Baumholder command Sgt. Maj. Augustus Wah.