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Schley County boys take home region championship while Lady Wildcats finish third

AMERICUS – It was a great day for both the Schley County High School boys’ and girls’ cross country teams (SC). The Wildcats won the team championship and the Lady Wildcats finished in third place at the GHSA Class A Area 1 Championship held at the Sumter County Parks and Recreation course on Thursday, October 17.

Schley County cross country coach Gabe Theiss summed up the reason for the success of both teams at the meet. “They just worked extremely hard. That’s the reason that we’re here,” Theiss said. “They have progressed. Every one of them has gotten better. As a matter of fact, we had several PRs (personal best times) today. Several were just a couple of seconds off of it. The progress that they made, due to their hard work, is what I’m proud of. I’m just extremely proud of the boys and I’m extremely proud of the girls as well for advancing to state. They finished third today. The boys really have an opportunity to win the state championship in a couple of weeks.”

The SC boys’ team won the meet with a total of 31points and was far ahead of runners-up Hawkinsville, who finished in second place with 102 points. In cross country, like golf, the goal is to have the lowest amount of points as possible.

The Schley County girls’ cross country team poses for a team picture after finishing in third place at the GHSA Class A Area 1 Meet on Thursday, October 17. Left to right: Coach Gabe Theiss, Holley Rogers, Maria Zamora, Zoe Bell, Grace Hardage, Kaia MacLennan, Coach Hailey Henderson.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

SC junior David Williams won the boys’ race and finished in a time of 17:17.60. Williams credits lengthening his distance runs in training as the mean reason for his progression from the beginning of the season to now. “I went from running three to four miles a day on the weekends to running six to seven a day…waking up when the sun rose and running six and just getting my day going afterwards,” Williams said.

Williams’ teammates, Aaron Pinckard and Daniel Iordanov, finished in fifth and sixth place respectively. Pinckard finished in a time of 18:31.70 and Iordanov crossed the finish line right behind Pinckard in a time of 18:39.40. Furlow Charter’s Edwin Gonzalez was the first Falcon to cross the finish line. Gonzalez finished right behind Iordanov in seventh place in a time of 18:40.50. Gonzalez told the Americus Times-Recorder that through a lot of practice, he has been able to decrease his time from 23 minutes down to 18 minutes.

Schley County junior David Williams won the individual championship by winning the boys’ race at the GHSA Class A Area 1 meet. Williams finished the race in a time of 17:17.60.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Dustin Howard and John Lightner were the next two Wildcats to cross the finish line. Howard finished in ninth place in a time of 18:52.50 and Lightner finished right behind Howard in 10th place in a time of 19:00.80. Two spots behind Lightner was Peter Horton. Horton barely finished outside the top 10. He finished in 12th place with a time of 19:27.20. Not far behind Horton came Tucker Welch, who finished in 14th place in a time of 19:46.10.

Apollo Huss was the next Furlow Charter (FC) runner to cross the finish line. Huss finished 33rd out of 75 runners competing and finished in a time of 22:10.70. Huss’s teammate, Jordan Brown, had a strong showing as he finished in a time of 24:20. FC’s David Lane finished not far behind Brown. Lane finished in a time of 24:29.60. Gavin High also turned in a solid performance for the Falcons by finishing in a time of 28:45.20.

Schley County sophomore Grace Hardage (center) finished in third place in the girls’ race at the GHSA Class A Area 1 Meet with a time of 23:47.30. Hardage was just four seconds out off second-place finisher Cady Sewell of Hawkinsville (23:43.40).
Photo by Ken Gustafson

On the girls’ side, SC’s Grace Hardage was the first Lady Wildcat to cross the line. Hardage finished in third place in a time of 23:47.30. While she was pleased with her performance, Hardage believes that she could have turned in a better result. “I honestly think that I could have done better,” Hardage said. “I tied with my PR that I’ve had before. I was so close to second and I could have done better, but that’s ok because I’m still proud of being here.”

SC junior Aaron Pinckard finished in fifth place at the GHSA Class A Area 1 Meet in a time of 18:31.70.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

FC’s Maya Wynn was the first Lady Falcon to cross the finish line. Wynn finished in eighth place with a time of 25:05.10. Wynn’s teammate, Litzy Lepiz, finished the race in 23rd place with a time of 28:46.50. Behind Lepiz were two SC runners. Maria Zamora finished right behind Lepiz in a time of 28:48.80 and Kaia MacLennan finished right behind Zamora with a time of 29:10.40.

Furlow Charter sophomore Talana Holloway sprints towards the finish line. Holloway finished the race in a time of 30:22.30.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The next FC runner to cross the line was Talana Holloway. Holloway finished the race in a time of 30:22.30. SC’s Zoe Bell was the next local runner to cross the finish line. Bell turned in a solid performance, finishing in a time of 33:58.40.

Bell’s teammate, Holley Rogers, finished the race in a time of 35:52.30 and FC’s Rebecca White completed the race in a time of 37:52.30.

Furlow Charter freshman Apollo Huss turned in a solid performance at the GHSA Class A Area 1 Meet by finishing with a time of 22:10.70.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The SC girls’ squad finished in third place as a team with 74 points. They had 17 more points than runners up Hawkinsville (51) and 46 more points than region champions Baconton Charter (28).