Posted: Wednesday, October 30th 2013 at 10:24pm
Cross country: War Eagles sweep back to titles; Jefferson boys, Rabun girls take 8-AA
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Chestatee cross country left no doubt on Wednesday as to which program holds sway in Region 8-AAAA these days.
The War Eagles girls and boys each claimed their second straight region crowns in the 8-AAAA championships held at the Williams Mill Greenspace Park in Flowery Branch, each notching four of the top 10 spots in their respective races.
"For both teams to repeat this performance on such a challenging course makes it even a greater story for the War Eagle community," Chestatee coach Mark Dunn said.
Meanwhile, in Region 8-AA, the Jefferson boys and Rabun County girls ran their way to crowns, claiming their team championships at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville.
There was never much doubt as to the outcome in Flowery Branch, as Chestatee ran their way to the sweep despite not claiming an individual title. And while Johnson's Gerardo Suarez set a new course record in 18:01 to claim the boys individual crown, it was not enough to derail the War Eagles, who took second, third, sixth and seventh to clinch the victory.
"Both teams ran the course and made their moves at the right time," Dunn said. "The boys ran strong and knew the course well enough to be in good position at the end."
Jack Carnes paced Chestatee, taking second in 18:35, while Jason Dang finished just behind in third (18:42). Ivan Martin and Logan Brock rounded out the top 10 performances for the War Eagles, finishing in 18:52 and 19:18, respectively.
Their performances were enough to see off Johnson, who also took ninth and 10th -- behind Noe Lopez (19:45) and Freddy Velasquez (19:51) -- to finish second. Lumpkin County also took third, led by Tristin Duckworth's fourth place finish (18:47), while Walnut Grove was fourth.
It did not all go smoothly for the Lady War Eagles, however, who suffered a setback when standout Sara Beth English collapsed near the finish line and was disqualified after spectators helped her to her feet. But Chestatee's strength in depth more than made up for the setback, taking second, fourth, seventh and eighth place in the final individual standings.
"In the girl's race, losing Sara Beth, who would have been second overall, at the finish did not impact the scoring," Dunn said. "The other six girls closed the gaps enough to get a solid win over Lumpkin and Johnson."
Led by Maggee Wilson's 22:56, finishing just behind individual champ Deanna Lewis of Stephens County (22:15), Chestatee also got strong performances from Abbie Cliche, who finished fourth (23:02), and Merrie Barnett and Shelby Bennett, who ended up seventh and eighth, respectively.
Lumpkin County and Johnson also saw their girls teams qualify for the state meet on Nov. 9 in Carrollton, finishing second and third respectively. Lanier rounded out the top four qualifying spots.
The Lady Knights' Evelin Avitia also finished third individually (22:57).
"The state (meet) will be competitive," Dunn said. "We are hoping the boys can break into the top 10 for the first time. The girls are looking to inch ahead of the fourth place overall (finish) from last year.
"We would not been able to pull this off without the assistance of our community coach, Wes Wessely. He has been a great assest in his trainer role to help us get these kids ready."
Freshman Addison Cochran led the Dragons, finishing in 17:49, while Alex Parrish was fifth (18:10).
Union County also notched third in the team standings, led by Cristian Garcia in fourth place (17:59). Ogelthorpe's boys rounded out the top four.
Meanwhile, Emma Garrison dominated the girls race, as expected, notching an individual crown in 19:19 -- more than a minute ahead of Rabun County's Sally Woerner (20:52). Yet the Lady Wildcats did just enough to fend off Jefferson to win the team title, also taking seventh, fifth and ninth place.
Reese Bowles finished third and Morgan Mitchell finished third and fourth, respectively for the Lady Dragons.
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