I run in a HS meet every year that's a flighted start, where everybody declares their #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 runners for both the boys' and girls' side, and then all the #7s run, then #6, all the way down to the "championship flight" with the 1s running together. For the small-school division that we run in, a meet with like 20 teams isn't small, but with each team only putting one girl and one boy in each field, the total number of runners in each race is only 40, instead of 140 in a regular race. Like regular xc races then, each finish gets the number of points for their place, but unlike regular xc races, the perfect score is 7 instead of 15. Last year, for example, my team and one other HS were far better than all the other teams in the field, and we ended up losing 12 to 13, but the flighted race made it exciting, because it came down to the top runners from each team running against each other, and the winner won the meet (they were in 4th and 5th, but there were seven guys at that meet that ended up all-state).
The point being, it makes for some really exciting racing, plus it keeps the exposure to other people at a minimum, and would be a good alternative to a regular race because people would only be exposed to two runners on every team.