Both would survive the pressure of the race - with state-qualifying times - but neither would garner the individual title.
Wilkinson would see the boys' individual title fall to Southwestern Pulaski's Sebastian Rhode as the sophomore runner set a new course record of 16:54.65 for the 3.1 mile course, 10 seconds better than Wilkinson's runner-up time of 17:04.80.
Frith came in third overall in the girls' varsity, finishing in 21:09.11. Pulaski County's Lakia Sneed, a junior who was second in last year's regional, would win this year's title with a time of 20:39.72 with Barren County's Kaley Dunbar in second with 21:01.29.
With the top four teams and the next seven individuals all advancing to Saturday's 2006 KHSAA State Cross Country Championships, Wilkinson and Frith were a lock to extend their season one more week.
Wilkinson's time of 17:04.80 in the regional finals' was a personal best, earning him a fifth trip to the state meet.
While happy with the PR, Wilkinson was looking to go in as a champion.
"I wanted one (first place)," he said. "I kind of knew that I would qualify for state but I wanted to be the first one."
Going into the competition, however, Wilkinson knew taking the individual title would not come easily with Rhode a serious threat.
"I knew we would be running together," Wilkinson said. "It was no surprise that me and him led the race. The question was, 'When was he going to try and pull away from me?'"
That question would be answered with less than a quarter-mile to go.
"The first mile I had a lead on him but then he caught up with me going down the gravel hill," Wilkinson said. "After that, it was just me and him back-and-forth the whole time. He pulled away right before we crossed back over the bridge."
"It was a good race, I guess. I just wanted one," he said.
Rhode's record-setting pace, and Southwestern Pulaski claiming four of the top 6 spots in the race eased the Warriors to a team win with 19 points. All seven runners on the Southwestern team now advance to state, as do the members of the remaining Top 4 teams. Perry County Central advances, finishing second with 45 points, Pulaski County goes in as the third place team with 60 points and Barren County advanced in fourth place with 128 points.
Frith came out strong in her state-qualifying regional run Saturday, jumping out in front of the pack as she raced for a spot in the pinnacle of cross country races.
"At first, when I realized I was in first, I thought, 'Oh, no! I've started out too quick.' I really thought I had messed up," she said. "I was working down the hills and I thought it wasn't too bad yet. I was leading the race for two miles."
And then Sneed passed her.
"Going down the big hill on the back of the course, she was neck-and-neck with me and for half of the cornfield we were together. Then she got past me," Frith said. "I thought maybe I could try again (to regain the lead)."
"I was trying my hardest to push myself up to be with her but I felt like I couldn't go any faster," she said.
Unfortunately, Sneed would not be the only runner to pass Frith. Dunbar of Barren County helped boost her teammates to a first place team win by passing Frith as well to earn second.
"It seemed like she was just waiting to do that because she came on with just a burst of speed," said a frustrated Frith. "I wondered if she had just been pacing off me - some runners do that. But I didn't like it."
Barren County would take the girls team title with 26 points with Southwestern Pulaski, Pulaski County and Perry County Central grabbing up the other state-qualifying team spots with 44 points for Southwestern, 56 for Pulaski and 122 for Perry County.
Frith's third place finish made her a shoe in for state as an individual.
"I'm happy," she said. "I told myself this morning when I was getting ready that, as long as I make it in the top 3, I'll be happy and I was third so I'm okay."
Lady Pat coach Mick Goodwin has challenged Frith to set high goals for her first state run.
"This is my first year competing in varsity races and I really wanted to go. Mick said I should try to get in the top 50 in state so I'll try for that, too."