Schley County boys’ and girls’ XC teams finish strong at state meet
From Staff Reports
CARROLLTON, GA – It was a long, hard season for both the Schley County High School (SCHS) boys and girls cross country teams, but their hard work paid off at the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Class A-Public State Championship meet held on Saturday, November 7, in Carrollton, GA. As a team, the Wildcats finished in eighth place out of 25 teams competing, while the Lady Wildcats finished in 17th place out of 22 teams competing.
“I am very proud of both teams on just making it to the state meet,” said SCHS Head Coach Gabe Theiss. “The eighth place finish is not what the boys wanted. They hoped to podium (fourth or better), but they had a great season and I am extremely proud of them. These teams are full of great young people and they are a joy to coach. Their hard work and dedication is an inspiration to me and others. I will sorely miss the graduating seniors, but look forward to watching them grow into fine adults.”
As a team, the SCHS boys finished in eighth place with a total of 237 points and ran an average time of 20:49. The Wildcats were able to edge out Atkinson County (245) for the eighth spot by eight points and finished 51 points behind seventh-place finishers Greene County, who turned in 186 points. In Cross Country, the fewest amount of points a team accumulates, the higher that team will place. Commerce High School won the Class A-Public State Championship with 69 points, followed by state runners-up Armuchee (101), Towns County (129), ACE Charter (133), Lake Oconee Academy (155), Georgia Military College (165), Greene County (186) and Schley County (237).
As far as individual runners were concerned, senior David Williams closed out his brilliant high school career with a top-10 finish at the state meet. Williams finished in seventh place and completed the five-kilometer (3.1-mile) course in a time of 18:35.06. Williams was barely edged out for sixth place by Liam King of Towns County, who crossed the line just ahead of Williams in a time of 18:33.65. Brandon Martin of Commerce was the individual state champion, as he won the race in a time of 16:50.07.
Williams’ teammate, junior Dustin Howard, finished 36th out of 167 competitors in a time of 20:22.23 and sophomore Eli Bacon finished seven spots behind Howard in a time of 20:33.74.
Senior John Lightner closed out his career on a strong note, as he crossed the finish line in 57th place out of 167 runners. Lightner completed the 3.1-mile course in a time of 21:17.46. Lightner’s teammate, senior Caleb Smith, ran the final race of his high school career in a time of 23:21.50.
Senior Aaron Pinckard closed out his cross country career as a Wildcat by turning in a strong finish in a time of 25:05.27. In addition to running cross country for the Wildcats, Pinckard is also the field goal kicker on the SCHS football team, who lost to Chattahoochee County the night before the race.
On the girls’ side, the Lady Wildcats finished in 17th place with a total of 449 points and ran an average time of 31:59.84. The first Lady Wildcat to complete the 3.1-mile course was junior Grace Hardage. Hardage finished 48th out of 142 competitors in a time of 27:00.52.
The next Lady Wildcat to cross the finish line was senior Lily Bacon. Bacon closed out her high school cross country career by finishing the state meet in a time of 29:40.51. Bacon’s teammate, freshman Kayla Moyle, completed the course in a time of 33:21.62. Junior Kaia McLennan finished just two spots behind Moyle in a time of 33:50.38. Other Lady Wildcats who turned in strong finishes at the state meet included junior Sarah Barnhill (36:06.14) and senior Holley Rogers (38:01.39).
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