"I couldn't get beat on my home course," Wilkinson interjected.
She did (best time) and he didn't (get beat). Long covered the 5K distance in 28:49 to finish seventh in the girls varsity run and Wilkinson was the first to cross in the boys division, winning in a time of 17:37.
"It felt like it was one of my fastest races," Wilkinson said. "I just kept building on my speed, slowly increasing the whole way."
Wilkinson made it look easy, running right on the wheels of the race-leading ATV and finishing 43 seconds ahead of the second-place runner, Lincoln sophomore Eric Sanders.
"I just kept pushing myself harder and harder and I guess that made it look easier," he said. "I felt good the whole way."
Mick Goodwin, one of Lincoln's co-coaches, pointed out that Wilkinson's time was not his best, but said that it was his best finish.
"It is not his best time but it is his best run of the year so far, by far," Goodwin said. "That's the best he's looked coming home. So maybe he's coming down to region (Nov. 3) the way he should be."
For Long, who spent much of the season away from practice, seventh place was a satisfying finish.
"I've just now gotten to the point that I've actually been able to be at practice every day," Long said. "Where I took off all that time for Junior Miss, I hadn't even run a full three miles until our last home meet. It's showed and taken its toll on me, but I'm so happy with what I did today."
Long knew she was in for a strong finish after she exited the cornfield on the back of the LCHS course.
"I flew through the cornfield. I made it through in about four minutes," she said. "Usually at that point, just after the big hill, I want to start slowing down, but I didn't. I caught up and I passed the girl in front of me."
Long wouldn't hold her position.
"Right when we came around the last corner, she went ahead of me and, where I went so hard through the cornfield, I couldn't get back up with her," she said.
Wilkinson and Long both have been to the state cross country meet before. Long says she knows that Jordan is going and she wants to make sure she gets back one last time.
"Oh, he's going," Long said. "And I'm looking forward to a good finish. I've been to state three consecutive years so, hopefully, I can finish good and make if four years."
Lincoln had more to celebrate than just its seniors Saturday as the Lady Patriots and Patriots took the varsity team titles, with Lincoln runners holding first and second in both races.
Wilkinson and Sanders, who had a time of 18:20, led the Patriot boys to the win and, in the girls division, it was Emily Frith and Alex Bunch posting the 1-2 finish to give Lincoln first.
Frith, a freshman, was looking to cut her time under 20 minutes in the run, but just missed her goal, winning in 20:08.
"I was crying at the finish," Frith said. "I could see the clock as I got close and I was eight seconds from making it."
Bunch, a seventh-grader who is running up to prepare for the middle school state run and the varsity regionals, came on strong to place second behind Frith in 21:17.
Because of the low number of girls competitors, team scores were based on two-man teams and the 1-2 finish automatically clinched first for the Lady Patriots.
Brandon Jeffries helped the Patriots to the win in the boys varsity run, placing fifth in 19:58. Ryne Beeding ran eighth overall in 21:00 and Josh Morgan rounded out the five-man scoring team, placing 14th in 21:36.
Lincoln had two top five runners in the middle school division with Shelby Meece and Bradley Foster both running fifth in their respective 3K races. Meece had a time of 14:43 in the girls run and Foster's time was 12:55.
In the girls elementary division, Tevin Newcomb, Morgan Gourley and Kristin Meece crossed the finish line one after the other, with Newcomb leading the way in second place in 7:39. Gourley finished third in 7:40 and Meece's time for fourth was 7:47.
Team, Top 5 and Lincoln results from the LCHS Invitational follow:
Lincoln County Invitational
GIRLS — OPEN 5K
Teams: 1) Lincoln Co. (LC) 3; 2) (tie) Wayne Co. (WC) and McCreary Central (McC) 9.