Posted: Saturday, November 10th 2012 at 11:25pm
STATE CHAMPS: Gearing, Garrison win cross country titles
By Jeff Hart Staff
CARROLLTON – For a few north Georgia teams and individual runners at the 2012 state cross country championships, it was a day to celebrate. For many others, however, it was a day to think about missed opportunities.
Union County’s Emma Garrison won the individual Class AA state title finishing 14 seconds ahead of Wesleyan’s Caroline Reed.
White County freshman Jenna Gearing blew away the field to win the Class AAA girls title with a 19:43 time. She won by more than 200 meters and lapped one girl near the finish in the most dominating victory on the day.
Gearing came into the race with the three fastest times in AAA this year.
“I like to come out fast and keep pushing and that’s what I did,” Gearing said. “Coach Borg wanted me back off a little to make sure I finished so I did but basically I just ran my usual race. I was hoping to break 19 minutes but I decided to make sure I finished. It was pretty warm.”
Borg was nearly at a loss for words.
“We felt confident she would win but I did not expect that,” he said. “She is a special runner and we’re going to keep working with her to help her get better.”
Gearing’s teammate Kristen Mitchell finished ninth for White County.
The Lady Warriors also exceeded their team goals with a third-place finish, the highest public school in the field, with 102 points behind champion St. Pius (36) and Blessed Trinity (63). Woodward Academy was fourth with 133 points.
“I’m real excited about the team as a whole. We’re young and I feel Jenna will help the other girls improve and we’ll just keep getting better. I’m excited,” Borg said.
In the AAA girls race, Victoria Rogers and Makayla Ellis finished fifth and sixth, respectively, to help the Lady Trojans take fifth place with 136 points. West Hall finished ninth, Jackson County was 11th, East Jackson 14th, and Dawson County 16th among other area teams.
After consecutive seasons of finishing second in Class AAA, the North Hall boys had hoped for a finish at the top. But a tough St. Pius team put four runners in the top five and the Trojans wound up third. St. Pius won with 36 points to 67 for Woodward Academy, which nipped North Hall (70) by three points.
Witt Nix led North Hall with a solid fourth place finish but he was in second until the final half-mile. Bryce Shuebert finished eighth for the Trojans.
The Flowery Branch boys run of two straight titles came to end against a stout McIntosh team. The Falcons finished with a respectable 54 points for second but McIntosh had the top two runners and finished with 24 to win the Class AAAAA title.
The Flowery Branch girls came in ranked fourth in AAAAA but finished third after winning a tiebreaker over McIntosh. Cassie Ward finished 10th in the individual race with teammate Ellie Tanner 15th for the Lady Falcons.
In the Class AAAAA boys race, McIntosh placed three runners in the top 10 to hold off Flowery Brach. Brad Hort won the individual race with a 16:22 and Sidney Speir was second for McIntosh while Nick Ashmead finished 12th with a 17:24 time to pace the Falcons. Taylor Fiorello and Jake Shuwbert were 16th and 17th for the Falcons but McIntosh’s Artie McCarty finished 10th.
“Both teams ran about where they should have,” Fiorello said. “(McIntosh) is good and deep and we ran the race we wanted but we just couldn’t catch them. We’re a little disappointed but we lost to a good team.”
In the Class AAAAA girls race, Dunwoody placed three runners in the top 16 to win the title with 86 points. Lakeside, Dekalb was second with 135 followed by the Lady Falcons and McIntosh with 153 apiece. Alex Cameron of Dunwoody won the individual title with a 19:49 time. Winder-Barrow’s Caitlyn Connell was fourth. Winder-Barrow finished sixth as a team.
In Class AAAA, the Chestatee girls earned a podium spot with a fourth-place finish with 175 points. The Lady War Eagles were powered by a 16th overall finish by Tori Mullinax and a 19th place showing by Sara Beth English. Lumpkin County finished 22nd. Morgan Ilse of Marist won the individual title with a 19:16.48 time
Chestatee came into the meet ranked fourth and held off Pickens, who finished fifth with 196 points. Marist won the team state title with 46 points as all five runners finished in the top 15. Heritage, Catoosa was second with 66 points and Alexander was third with 122 points. For other Region 8-AAAA teams, Lanier finished 13th and Walnut Grove was 18th.
In the Class AAAA boys race, Chestatee finished 18th as the top team from Region 8-AAAA. Stephens County was 22nd, Johnson 23rd, and Lanier finished 24th. Gerardo Suarez of Johnson was the top individual Hall County runner finishing 60th and Chestatee’s Jack Carnes took 63rd in his first state race.
In the Class AA girls race, Union County’s Emma Garrison won the individual state title finishing 14 seconds ahead of Wesleyan’s Caroline Reed. But, Wesleyan came away with the team title placing all seven runners in the top 14 to hold off Westminster, 31-41. Lovett and Bleckley County finished third and fourth, respectively.
Jefferson finished fifth in the team standings. Union took seventh with 218 and Rabun County was 14th with 409 points.
In the Class AA boys race, Union County’s Jeremy Webb finished fifth overall while Riverside Military Academy took sixth in the team standings with 233 points to lead Region 8-AA teams. Grant Hoffman finished 14th overall to lead the Eagles while teammate Lexx Hoya finished 32nd overall.
Oglethorpe County finished 11th with 353 points and Union County was 14th with 413 points. Jefferson finished 21st with 546 points.
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