Southland Lady Raiders cross country wins fourth meet, takes region title in Americus

Published 10:30 am Monday, October 24, 2016


The Southland Academy Lady Raiders cross country team won its fourth invitational meet of the season on Oct. 12 in Macon before returning to Americus to host the GISA Region 3AAA championship on Oct. 18.
The Lady Raiders won their third region title of the last four years at the meet, taking down the reigning GISA State Champions, the Deerfield-Windsor Lady Knights with a furious late-race surge.
In the Oct. 12 meet, the Lady Raiders competed against runners from nine other teams, including Mt de Sales, Stratford, Lamar County, First Presbyterian Day (FPD), Covenant, Georgia Military, Westfield, Baldwin, and Ace Charter School.
Southland’s Ryleigh Bell led the way for the Lady Raiders with a third-place finish, followed by Sydney Hayes, who took fifth. Calyn Fort finished sixth and Lilli Dickens came in ninth. Paisley Greene and Alex Exum were the number five and six runners. Mt. de Sales senior, Faith Siror, was the overall winner.
In the Men’s Race, Billy Calcutt was the individual champion. Freshman, Gray Torbert, finished ninth, leading the Raiders to a sixth place finish among thirteen teams, one spot ahead of FPD.
The remaining Raiders in the top seven in finish order were Zach Calcutt, Brinson Hubbard, Sam Copland, Harrison Bell, and Gabe Roland.
With these impressive wins under their belts, the Southland runners began preparations to host the region tournament on Oct. 18.
Deerfield’s Camryn Bridges (last year’s state runner-up) was the individual winner. Bridges was chased down the finish hill by R. Bell, who completed the race in 20:54. After Deerfield’s Charlotte Augenstein and Valwood’s Brenna Clark had crossed the line, a trio of Southland runners followed shortly behind.
Eighth-grader, Georgia Torbert, finished in 21: 47, followed by Fort (21:50) and Hayes (21:53).
The number five runner was eighth-grader, Reese Roland (22:47), followed by Dickens (23:17), Exum (23:23), and the team’s lone senior, Greene (23:59).
Deerfield finished ten points behind Southland in second place, followed by Valwood’s young team in third.
The Lady Raiders lowered their team 1-5 average to 21:50.
Bell, Torbert, Fort, and Hayes were named to the all-region team by virtue of their top 10 finishes.
The team now will prepare for the GISA state championships, set for Oct. 29.
Awaiting the Lady Raiders will be the host school, top-ranked Augusta Prep, and a resurgent Trinity (Dublin) which won a state title in 2013 in its last year in the AA division. The Lady Raiders will line up with virtually the same team that finished a school-best third place at last year’s championship meet in Albany.
“The team has come a long way,” said Southland head cross country coach, Patrick Calcutt. “Until 2013, the Lady Raiders had never won even a region championship.”
Meanwhile, in the men’s race, Deerfield’s runners continued their strong season with a region championship, followed by Tiftarea. Southland finished third, five points behind.
Tiftarea’s Dallas Hunt was the individual champion, followed by Deerfield’s Ethan Merritt and Porter Hill. Calcutt (17:51) took fourth place and Torbert (18:43) came in seventh, earning both runners a spot on the all-region team.
Southland’s Max Foster ran 19:42 to finish 14th, followed by Zach Calcutt (18th), Brinson Hubbard (19th) Sam Copland (29th) and Gabe Roland (37th). The teams are coached by Calcutt and Angie Bell, with the help of consultant, Bruce Skiles.