Posted: Saturday, November 9th 2013 at 1:31pm
STATE CHAMPS: Gearing, Garrison repeat as state champs; Towns County girls claim crown
By Jeff Hart Staff
White County's Jenna Gearing won her second consecutive Class AAA girls state cross country championship Saturday in Carrollton.
CARROLLTON -– It was a banner day in Carrollton for the area's top girls cross country runners, as Jenna Gearing and Emma Garrison each won individual titles and Towns County's girls claimed the Class A public crown.
White County’s Gearing was the young phenom last year winning the Class AAA girls cross country meet as a freshman.
This year, Hart County freshman Audrey Honiotes was looking to follow in Gearing’s footsteps.
Gearing would have none of it, however, showing she still sits as the queen atop the Class AAA throne. Gearing, now a sophomore, held off Honiotes down the stretch posting a time of 19:29.22, more than 20 seconds faster than Honiotes, to claim her second consecutive state title. It was her fastest time ever on the state course.
"I knew she would try to stay with me and se did for most of the race," Gearing said. "After the first mile I just tried to push a little more and increase my lead and I tried to kick at the end. I really love running this course.
"It feels great to win it again, especially knowing that everyone was looking at me as the favorite. Last year not everyone knew who I was."
Union County's Garrison also joined the coronation parade, also defending a title, as the standout completed the Class AA girls race in 19:10, beating out Lovett's Serena Tripodi by 37 seconds.
Gearing’s effort helped the Lady Warriors to a third-place team finish with 93 points, behind powerhouses Blessed Trinity (39) and St. Pius (53), who came in as race favorites.
White County coach Sam Borg was more than pleased with their finish.
"We would have finished second in AAAA so that will tell you how tough the AAA field is," Borg said. "I thought Jenna ran a really smart race. It was a tough field and she handled herself well."
North Oconee and Woodward Academy finished fourth and fifth, while Buford, paced by a 19th-place finish from Bailey Roberts, took sixth. North Hall, led by Makayla Ellis’s 13th-place finish, was seventh. Savannah Arts Academy was eighth, Jackson County ninth, and Oconee County rounded out the top 10.
Dawson County finished 11th giving Region 7-AAA four teams in the top 11 overall.
Makayla Hewell of Banks County finished seventh in the individual race.
In Class A public, Towns County's girls edged their way to the title by the slimmest of margins, tying Trion on points but taking the crown by a team average of eight seconds difference. Commerce also finished third.
The Lady Indians' Ansley Vardeman finished second individually (23:21), while teammate Caitlin Sheffield was third (23:51).
In the Class AAAA girls race, Chestatee finished third overall with 152 points, paced by a solid and unexpected 14th-place showing from senior Maggee Wilson. Fellow senior Sara Beth English finished 19th for the Lady War Eagles.
Marist won the race with a near-perfect 22 points, placing all five scoring runners in the top eight. Heritage, Coosa was second with 98 points. Eagle's Landing and LaGrange rounded out the top five.
Lumpkin County finished 13th with 360 points, led a 41st-place finish from sophomore Celeste Norton. Johnson finished 17th behind a 22nd-place showing from sophomore Evelin Avitia. Lanier finished 25th overall.
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