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Southland boys finish second and girls finish third at region cross country meet

AMERICUS, GA – It was a great day for both the Southland Academy boys and girls cross country teams (SA). The boys team finished in second place in the Georgia Independent School Association (GISA) Region 3-AAA Championship, while the SA girls finished in third place. The meet took place on Saturday morning, October 26, at Southland Academy.

“I was pleased with all of my athletes,” SA head coach Angie Bell said. “They ran very well. Some of them ran PRs (personal best times). I’m looking forward to some more PRs being set at the state meet on Saturday, November 2.”

Led by junior Max Foster and freshman Tanner Humphrey, the SA boys finished in second place behind region champions Deerfield-Windsor (DWS). The Raiders finished with a total of 57 points, while the Knights won the meet with a total of 15. In cross country, like golf, the object is to finish with the fewest points possible. The Valwood School (VS) finished in third place with 72 points and Tiftarea Academy finished in fourth place (87).

Southland Academy junior Max Foster finished in seventh place in the GISA Region 3-AAA meet with a time of 19:30.62.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Foster was the first Raider to cross the finish line. He finished in seventh place in a time of 19:30.62. Foster’s performance was amazing due to the fact that it was his first race of the season. “They needed five runners to run in region so I kind of started out real slow and then I just had a lot of energy, so I just kept running, got faster and did the best I could,” Foster said.

The next Raider to cross the line was Humphrey. He finished in ninth place in a time of 19:41.12. Humphrey’s teammate, Noah Sheff, finished right behind him in a time of 19:57.97. “I’ve been doing football and cross country forever,” Humphrey said. “At the same time, I don’t get to really practice a lot, but during races, I just give it all I’ve got and whatever is going on, just do my best and do it all to the glory of God.” Like Foster, Humphrey is also playing football, which limits the time he has to practice running for cross country.

Southland Freshman Tanner Humphrey finished in ninth place, two spots behind his teammate, Max Foster.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The next SA runner to cross the finish line was Gray Torbert. Torbert finished in 13th place in a time of 21:39. Eighth grader Lee Graft was the next SA runner to cross. Graft turned in a strong performance, finishing in a time of 23:41.78.

In girls’ action, the Lady Raiders turned in a fine showing by finishing in third place in the Region 3-AAA meet with 63 points. They finished 17 points behind region runner-ups Valwood (40). DWS won the girls’ team championship with 34 points.

Southland senior Ryleigh Bell grinds out the last few yards to finish the GISA Region 3-AAA girls’ race in third place.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Senior Ryleigh Bell was the first Lady Raider to cross the finish line. The Point University signee finished in third place in a time of 21:57.84. Bell finished 25 seconds behind region runner-up Brenna Clark of VS (21:32.31). Charlotte Augenstein of DWS won the race in a time of 20:45.53.

For Bell, it has been a long, hard journey since her injury a year ago, but she has made tremendous strides. “Last year, I had an injury with my toe. I had a bad hammer toe,” Bell said. “I’ve been working all year round. It has taken me a whole year to get back to where I started last year. I’ve really been pushing myself and not letting my mind stop me and hold me back saying ‘I can’t do it’. It’s really pushing myself and making me work harder for college.” The next Lady Raider to cross the finish line was eighth grader Julia Clare Hubbard. Hubbard finished in 11th place in a time of 24:02.50. Sophomore Elizabeth Law finished right behind Hubbard in a time of 24:06.94.

Southland’s Ryleigh Bell with her third-place medal. To her left is region runner-up Brenna Clark of Valwood. To her right is fourth-place finisher Hadley Holt of Deerfield-Windsor.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The next SA runner to cross was sophomore Jadie Burrell. Burrell finished in 16th place in a time of 24:46. Freshman Ella Arnold turned in a strong performance for the Lady Raiders. Arnold finished the race in a time of 26:35.44. Freshman Taylor Ragsdale finished two spots behind Arnold in a time of 26:40.62.

Southland eighth grader Julia Clare Hubbard finished in 11th place in a time of 24:02.50. SA sophomore Elizabeth Law is right behind Hubbard. Law finished in 12th place in a time of 24:06.94.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Both the Raiders and Lady Raiders will be competing in the GISA State Meet on Saturday, November 2, at the Albany State West Campus in Albany, GA.

The AAA boys’ race will take place at 8:30 a.m., followed by the AA boys’ race at 9:10 a.m. The AAA girls’ race will begin at 9:50 a.m., followed by the AA girls’ race at 10:30 a.m. The awards ceremony will take place at 11:30 a.m.