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Wynn finishes in top five while local middle and high school XC teams place high at DWS meet

LEESBURG – Both the Schley County high school boys and Southland Academy middle school girls XC (cross country) teams placed extremely well at the 2020 Deerfield-Windsor Invitational held on Saturday, September 19, at the Kinchafooney Primary School in Leesburg, GA.

The Southland Academy middle school girls’ team finished in third place with a total of 133 points. The Lady Raiders were 27 points behind meet runners-up Deerfield-Windsor (106 points). The Lee County Middle School girls won the team championships with only 59 points.

In the sport of XC (cross country), the goal of each team is to finish with the fewest points possible in order to get the highest placing.

The Schley County High School boys’ team also turned in high marks, as the Wildcats finished in fifth place with 153 points. Deerfield-Windsor won the high school boys’ team championship with just 65 points.

Maya Wynn of Furlow Charter sprints toward the finish line at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In high school girls’ action, Maya Wynn of Furlow Charter (FC) once again turned in a top-10 finish by finishing fifth in a time of 21:03.88, over two minutes faster than her time at the Lee County Invitational, which was held at the same location a week before. Kiley Murphy of Brookstone won the high school girls’ race in a time of 18:34.41.

One major thing that differentiated this meet from the previous ones was the much cooler weather and it made a big difference for Wynn as well.

“I feel like I was able to breath and have a better stride and it was cooler,” said Wynn. As a team, the Lady Falcons finished the meet in ninth place with a total of 235 points, only 19 points behind eighth-place finishers Bainbridge, who scored 216 points. The Valwood School won the high school girls’ team championship with just 52 points. The Schley County girls’ team finished in 11th place with a total of 287 points, six points behind 10th place finishers Terrell Academy (281 points).

Individually, several local high school girls’ competitors turned in strong performances and several were able to achieve new PRs (personal best times).

Jadie Burrell of Southland Academy was the top finisher for the Lady Raiders. Burrell finished 19th out of 124 competitors in a time of 22:42.94.

Furlow Charter sophomore Jordan Brown (right) and Heath Holloway (left) pose for a photo after completing the high school boys’ race at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Schley County’s Grace Hardage was the next local runner to cross the finish line. Hardage finished in 37th place in a time of 24:37.70. For Hardage, who is returning from a knee injury, her time and placing was a pleasant surprise. “This here is my first race for this year and I think I did really good because I wasn’t expecting to do good because of my knee,” said Hardage. “

FC’s Maria Kilheffer finished the meet four spots behind Hardage in a time of 24:50.01, which was almost three minutes faster than what she ran at the Lee County Invitational the week before. Julia Claire Hubbard was the next Southland Lady Raider to cross. Hubbard finished the race in a time of 27:00.15. The next Schley County Lady Wildcat to cross the finish line was Lilly Bacon, who finished in a time of 27:28.35. Maddie Godwin of Southland Academy finished five spots behind Bacon in a time of 27:41.79. The next FC runner to cross the finish line was Jasmine Kilheffer. Kilheffer finished the race in a time of 28:29.23, which was almost two minutes faster than her time of 32:00.90 at the Lee County Invitational.

Both the DWS meet and the Lee County Invitational were held at the same location, but the course layout was different in that the course at the DWS meet was flatter. The cooler weather on Saturday also made a difference, as numerous runners were able to run faster times.

Southland Academy junior Jadie Burrell sprints toward the finish line at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational. Burrell finished 19th out of 124 competitors in the girls’ high school race in a time of 22:42.94.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Kaia MacLennan was the next Lady Wildcat to cross and she did it in a time of 29:39.18. Eight spots behind MacLennan was Syrius Zhang of FC, who finished in a time of 31:15.34. Zhang’s time was about 11 minutes faster than what she ran at the Lee County Invitational the week before (42:15.60).

Other local high school girls’ runners who turned in strong performances included Kayla Moyle of Schley County (32:20.34), Talana Holloway of FC (32:46.98) and both Holley Rogers and Sarah Barnhill of Schley County, who finished with times of 33:59.15 and 34:22.61 respectively. Other local runners who finished strong were Olivia Davis of FC (37:58.83), Rebecca White of FC (39:28.16), Ajayla Bolden of FC (42:26.87) and Kebony Banks of FC (46:08.92).

Schley County senior Aaron Pinckard finished 15th out of 163 competitors in a time of 18:11.45 at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational.
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In the high school boys’ race, Schley County’s David Williams turned in another strong performance, as he finished in fourth place in a time of 17:14.00. “I ran really fast and I like it. I’m really happy with my time,” said Williams. “It’s a lot colder and instead of starting out so fast at the beginning, I found someone to stick with and we took turns keeping the pace and at the end, I scooted off.”

Williams finished just 46 seconds behind John Durham of Deerfield-Windsor, who finished in third place in a time of 16:28.77. Andrew McGinnis of Calvary Christian won the boys’ race in a time of 15:21.12.

FC’s Edwin Gonzalez was the next local runner to cross the finish line. Gonzalez finished 14th out of 163 competitors in a time of 18:06.58. Gonzalez finished 24 seconds behind 10th place finisher Tim Ellis of Lee County, who finished in a time of 17:42.68. Though the course layout was different than the week before, Gonzalez still found it challenging. “It was still a difficult course for me because I had trouble breathing, but overall, it was a good race for me,” said Gonzalez.

Schley County junior Grace Hardage was the first Lady Wildcat to cross the finish line at the DWS meet. Hardage finished the race in a time of 24:37.70. It was her first race of the season since sustaining a knee injury.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Aaron Pinckard of Schley County finished right behind Gonzalez in a time of 18:11.45. Like many runners in this meet, Pinckard was aided by the cooler weather. “The temperature was much better today,” said Pinckard. “I stayed even on my pace. I stayed about six flat (six minutes a mile) the whole time instead of going out way too fast.”

Pinckard’s teammate, Dustin Howard, was the next local runner to cross the line, finishing 35th out of 163 competitors in a time of 18:57.15. Noah Sheff of Southland Academy finished 13 spots behind Howard in a time of 19:38.77, which for him was a PR. “It felt great. It was an easy course, flat…no hills. It was nice,” said Sheff.

Southland Academy freshman Noah Sheff finished the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational in a time of 19:38.77, which was good enough for 48th out of 163 competitors.
Photo by Carol Burrell

The next area runner to cross the finish line was Schley County’s John Lightner, who finished in a time of 19:53.18. Lightner’s teammate, Eli Bacon, finished the meet in a time of 21:44.95.

The next FC Falcon to cross the finish line was David Lane, who finished with a time of 22:35.58. Lane ran a new PR in this race, shaving almost two minutes off his previous PR. Lane finished the Lee County Invitational in a time of 24:10.30.

For Lane, as with many of the other runners, it was the cooler weather that made the difference. As far as what he needs to improve on to earn a better time, Lane said that he needs to work on opening up his stride.

Lane’s FC teammate, Apollo Huss, finished the race in a time of 23:18.13, shaving a little more than three minutes off his time at the Lee County Invitational the previous week.

Lee Graft of Southland Academy finished three spots behind Lane in a time of 23:28.05 and Schley County’s Caleb Smith finished two spots behind Graft in a time of 23:33.31.

Furlow Charter junior Jasmine Kilheffer finished the DWS met in a time of 28:29.23.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Ashton Crowe was the next FC Falcon to cross the finish line. Crowe finished the race in a time of 24:20.34, one minute faster than what he ran at the Lee County Invitational. Crowe’s teammate, Jordan Brown, finished the DWS meet in a time of 26:05.52, a little over four minutes faster than his time at the Lee County meet.

“The main thing was that the course layout was different,” said Brown. “Last week, it was longer and we had a hill to go up, which made it harder. This week, it was more flat and there weren’t any hills to run up, which made it a lot easier.”

Brown’s teammate, Cody Arizmendi, finished the DWS meet in a time of 30:56.91. Not far behind Arizmendi was his teammate Heath Holloway, who was able to shave four minutes off his time at the Lee County Invitational the week before. Holloway finished the DWS meet in a time of 31:15.94.

Southland Academy middle school runner Brianna Brown turned in a top 10 finish at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational, as she finished the race in seventh place with a time of 16:10.65.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

In middle school girls’ action, the Southland Academy Lady Raiders turned in another strong performance, finishing in third place as a team. Brianna Brown continued her good form by turning in another top 10 finish. Brown finished in seventh place in a time of 16:10.65. Carly Storie of Perry Middle School won the race in a time of 14:49.70.

Brown’s teammate, Alyssa Godwin, finished in 15th place in a time of 17:06.77 and Mary Ramsey Collins was the next Lady Raider to cross the finish line, as she finished 32nd out of 119 competitors in a time of 18:08.47.

Paige Drinnon was the first FC Lady Falcon to cross the line. Drinnon finished the race in a time of 18:49.73.

Not far behind Drinnon was Southland Academy’s Reese Graft. Graft finished the middle school girls’ race in a time of 19:02.22. Graft’s teammate, Camille Cochran, finished four spots behind Graft in a time of 19:29.36.

The next FC Lady Falcon to cross the finish line was Marlee Holloway, who finished the race in a time of 19:44.04. Not far behind Holloway was Braylee Campbell of Southland Academy, who finished in a time of 20:09.03. Campbell’s teammate, Isabelle Saratsiotis, turned in a strong performance by finishing the race in a time of 20:18.42.

In middle school boys’ action, Southland Academy’s Peyton Gilbert was the top local finisher in the race. Gilbert finished 17th out of 151 competitors in a time of 14:54.28. Gilbert’s teammate, Colton Crawford, finished in a time of 15:46.26.

William Kinney was the next Raider to cross the finish line. Kinney finished three spots behind Crawford in a time of 15:50.30. Jackson Mclaughlin of Perry Middle School won the middle school boys’ race in a time of 13:22.13.

Southland Academy’s Ryan Peck finished the middle school boys’ race in a time of 17:29.66.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

The first Schley County Middle School (SCMS) runner to finish was Hunter Hardage, who finished in a time of 16:06.10. Not far behind him was Southland’s Shaw Pinnell, who finished the meet in a time of 16:15.22.

The First FC Falcon to finish the middle school boys’ race was Aiden Powe. Powe crossed the finish line in a time of 17:06.73. Southland’s Jase Peterson finished two spots behind Powe in a time of 17:09.78.

The next local runner to cross the finish line was Southland’s Ryan Peck. Peck finished the race in a time of 17:29.66. Peck’s teammate, Matteson Debaise, turned in a strong performance by finishing in a time of 17:58.11.

Southland Academy middle school runners Colton Crawford (front) and William Kinney (back) finished 37th and 40th respectively out of 151 runners in the middle school boys’ race at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational. Crawford finished in a time of 15:46.26 and Kinney finished in a time of 15:50.30.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

Other local middle school boys’ runners who turned in strong finishes were Zachary Almeida of FC (21:03.95) and Maddox Dukes of SCMS (23:41.18).

As a team, the Raiders finished the middle school race in seventh place with 194 points, one point behind sixth place finishers Colquitt County Middle School (193).

Grace Christian Academy from Bainbridge won the MS boys’ team championship with just 70 points.

Southland Academy Head Coach Buck Kinney was extremely pleased with how all of his runners in both the middle school and high school divisions ran in the DWS meet.

“Our runners all ran great today in a very highly competitive field,” said Kinney. “Several runners posted PRs and everyone’s times continue to improve each week. We’ll keep working hard to continue that trend as we work to our region and state meets.”

Furlow Charter’s Paige Drinnon pushes her way towards the finish line in the middle school girls’ race at the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational. Drinnon finished the race in a time of 18:49.73.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

FC Head Coach Beth Kinney could definitely see the improvement that her athletes made in just one week. “My team did much better this week than they did last week, even though last week was not bad,” said Kinney. “It’s a lot cooler today so they were able to run more and the course was a lot flatter. A lot of them set new PRS as opposed to last week and overall, they all improved their times.”

Southland Academy middle school boys runner Matteson Debaise sprints towards the finish line. Debaise finished the Deerfield-Windsor Invitational in a time of 17:58.11.
Photo by Ken Gustafson

For Schley County Head Coach Gabe Theiss, the fact that all of his runners ran their best times of the season in this meet was extremely pleasing to him. “We’ve been training really hard. All of our kids ran season bests today,” said Theiss. “I think it was a little quick course, but they all ran season bests and it shows that they’ve been working a lot harder. They’ve been working very hard at practice. We got slowed down a little bit by Hurricane Sally…had to miss a day, but we ran in the mist on Thursday and they responded well. They’ve been really working hard and it’s showing.”