Terry’s first-place finish headlines strong showing by local XC runners
AMERICUS – Americus-Sumter High School (ASHS) boys’ XC (cross country) runner Rondravious Terry took home first place in the boys’ XC individual championship by winning the varsity boys’ race in a time of 18:39.25 at the Southland Invitational on Saturday, September 21, at Southland Academy. Terry was able to barely edge out Baconton Charter’s Jaquez Jones for the win. Jones finished in second place with a time of 18:40.
Terry’s success headlined many strong showings put forth by several male athletes from ASHS, Southland Academy (SA) and Furlow Charter (FC).
SA’s Tanner Humphrey finished in third place with a time of 19:11.53, just two spots behind Terry. “I tried to pace myself a little bit more and I tried to stick with one person at a time and just stick with that person as long as possible,” Humphrey said. “If I felt like I had a little bit more, I’d go to the next person and stick with the person I was with. That’s the main difference from previous races.”
Humphrey had to fight off FC’s Edwin Gonzalez, who finished right behind him in fourth place in a time of 19:13.72. Gonzalez’s time was good enough to be a new FC school record. For Gonzalez, running along side Humphrey played a key factor in his record-setting performance. “He (Humphrey) just kept me going. I kept rhythm with him,” Gonzalez said. “I believe this is my best race so far.”
Jaylen Mable was the next ASHS runner to cross the finish line. Mable finished in sixth place in a time of 19:20.28.
The next local runner to cross the finish line was SA’s Gray Torbert. Torbert finished in 23rd place out of 46 runners with a time of 21:53. Apollo Huss was the next FC runner to cross the finish line. Huss finished in a time of 22:51.50. Huss’s teammate, Ashton Crowe, was the next local runner to cross the line. Crowe finished in a time of 25:37.97. Three more FC runners finished the boys’ high school race with strong times. They were David Lane (26:13.18), Jordan Brown (26:54.56) and Gavin High (30:01.28).
In the boys’ high school team standings, FC had the best finish among the local schools. The Falcons finished in third place with 81 points, one point in front of fourth-place finishers Tiftarea Academy (82) and 27 points behind second-place finishers Baconton Charter. Brookstone won the team championship by finishing with just 25 points.
In girls’ varsity action, the Lady Raiders of SA won the team competition as they finished with a total of 36 points. Ryleigh Bell led the way for SA by finishing in second place with a time of 22:09.75. Bell crossed the finish line not far behind Brenna Clark of the Valwood School. Clark won the race in a time of 21:31. For Bell, it was her best time of the season so far. Bell believes that making some dietary changes, particularly in regards to her pre-race meal, made a difference in her performance. “I will admit. I have trouble eating in the morning,” Bell said. “We tried something new for my breakfast. I drank a Gatorade protein, which helped tremendously. I just stayed positive and prayed and prayed that I had the strength to finish it.” Bell’s teammate, Elizabeth Law, was not far behind. Law tallied another top-10 finish, crossing the finish line in fifth place with a time of 23:13.03. SA’s Jadie Burrell was the next local runner to finish the race. Burrell finished in 14th place out of 46 runners with a time of 25:09. Ella Arnold of SA was the next local runner to cross the finish line. Arnold finished in a time of 26:22.22.
Selliyah Owens was the first Lady Panther to cross the finish line. The ASHS junior finished in a time of 26:34.03. Owens’ teammate, Mikaya Jones, finished in a time of 39:54.09 and Rebecca White of FC finished the race in a time of 40:14.
In local middle school boys’ action, the SA Raider boys’ team took third place in the team standings with 89 points. In the sport of cross country, the goal for each team is to finish with the least amount of points as possible. The Raiders finished with a total of 89 points. Tiftarea Academy finished in second place with 86 points, followed by the team champions, Deerfield-Windsor, with 40 points.
Headlining the Raiders’ strong showing was eighth-grader Noah Sheff, who won the boys’ race in a time of 12:45.84. Christopher McGrady of FC finished in third place in a time of 13:06.34. The next local runner to cross the finish line was Mac McMichael of SA. McMichael finished 19th out of a total of 86 runners with a time of 14:10.53. FC’s Dallis Hollis finished in 28th place in a time of 14:45.94.
Two SA runners finished right behind Hollis. Lee Graft finished in a time of 14:51.97 and Bryant Roland finished right behind Graft in a time of 14:54.66. Another SA runner, Shawn Pinnell, turned in a strong finish by crossing the line in a time of 15:41.22. William Kinney of SA was the next local runner to cross the finish line. Kinney finished in a time of 16:31.97. Zachary Almeida turned in a strong finish for the FC Falcons. Almeida crossed the finish line in a time of 16:43.12. Two more SA runners followed. Matteson Debaise finished in a time of 17:26.88 and his teammate, Luke McKie, finished the race in a time of 17:42.44.
In middle school girls’ action, the Lady Raiders of SA finished in third place in the team standings with 96 points. The Lady Raiders finished behind second-place finishers Deerfield-Windsor (87) and team champions Westfield (67). SA’s Julia Claire Hubbard led the way, finishing 17th out of 83 runners with a time of 15:58.94. SA runners Reese Graft (16:12.44) and Brianna Brown (16:13.81) finished 20th and 21st respectively. FC’s Paige Drinnon was the first lady Falcon to cross the finish line. Drinnon finished in a time of 16:20.91. Two more SA runners, Camille Cochran and Taylor Humphrey, turned in solid performances. Cochran finished in a time of 16:50.44 and Humphrey crossed the line in a time of 16:52. “I just got out there and ran for the Lord,” Humphrey said. “I prayed that He’d just give me the strength to finish the race strong and He did.”
FC’s Karen Perez-Juarez was the next local runner to cross the finish line. Perez-Juarez finished in a time of 17:20.75. Her teammate, Taylor High, finished in a time of 17:48.72.
As far as the local runners were concerned, three more SA runners were next to cross the line. Isabelle Saratsiotis (17:52.78), Savannah Grace Ewing (17:54.03) and Braylee Campbell (17:56.15) all turned in strong performances.
ASHS head coach Shanika Dyson was extremely pleased with the overall performance of both the Panthers and Lady Panthers in this competition. “Everybody performed extremely well,” Dyson said. “We definitely increased from last season.” Dyson credited assistant coach Michael Pepito in getting the athletes trained and ready to compete this season. “I’m so thankful that he’s with us this season,” Dyson said. “We look forward to region that’s coming up in a couple of weeks. We already had a lot of personal bests and I’m looking forward to seeing them drop their times a little bit more in the weeks to come.”
As for SA head coach Angie Bell, she was extremely pleased with how well the SA varsity and middle school teams ran in this event. “I thought the JV teams ran very well in their last race of the season. They were missing a few of their teammates and still placed third. I’m proud of their hard work this season,” Bell said. “As for varsity, I thought they ran well. Some ran their best time of the season. We still have some work to do before region and state. I’m expecting to see them improve over the next few weeks.”
FC head Coach Beth Kinney was also extremely pleased with how the Falcons and Lady Falcons performed at the event. “The Furlow Charter School Falcons had an amazing performance at the Southland Invitational,” Kinney said. “Out of 13 runners, nine set new PRs (personal best times) and Edwin Gonzalez set a new school record. I could not be prouder of their performance at Saturday’s meet.”
Both ASHS and Furlow Charter will be competing in Buena Vista, GA on Saturday, September 28, at the Marion County Invitational. As for SA, the varsity and middle school teams will have this coming Saturday off, but will resume competition when they compete in the Westover Invitational in Albany on Saturday, October 5.
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