HURST — The Brownwood Lady Lions cross country team — coming off back-to-back state meet appearances — began their first season under new head coach Chesney Neely Thursday with a fifth-place finish overall, and first place effort among Class 4A programs at the Early Bird Invitational.

A total of 96 runners competed with the top 20 earning medals, and three Lady Lions collected hardware.

Pacing the effort for Brownwood were Audrey Boren (ninth, 13:25.4) followed by Darby Crysler (18th, 13:37.07) and Izzy Lawrence (19th, 13:37.37). Also competing for the Lady Lions were Watts Jones (38th, 14:28.29), Alyssa Couey (60th, 15:36.59), Naysa Leach (68th, 15:50.18) and Mia Sharp (83rd, 17:20.32).

The Lady Lions will be back in action Aug. 29 at the San Saba Invitational.