Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thomasville runners continue Region 1-AA dominance

When it comes to the GHSA Region 1-AA cross-country meet, Thomasville High needs to remember to bring their uniforms, their racing shoes, and their brooms. The Bulldogs made a clean sweep of the meet for the second year in a row at Pebble Hill Plantation south of Thomasville, Georgia on Wednesday morning, 26 October 2011. Behind sophomore Mareika Haaren's winning 23:19, the Thomasville girls team won the region title with a near-perfect 17 points, taking the first four places in the five-kilometer race. In the boys' race, Thomasville's Grif Rutherford successfully defended his 2010 Region title with a 17:40 win, leading his team to victory with 40 points.

It was a clear morning with moderate temperatures, beautiful conditions to showcase the beautiful Pebble Hill venue. The girls ran just after 10:30, the start somewhat delayed by the late arrival of the Albany team. A trotting horse pulling a sulky guided the runners around the course. After a circuit of the meadow where the race started, Thomasville's first four runners were at the front of the field, led by Kara Meng. Meng continued to set the pace through two kilometers, but during the third kilometer Thomasville's Mareika Haaren took over the lead, opening up a six-second margin. Meng never lost contact, though, and closed the gap over the final two kilometers. At the finish line it was Haaren over Meng, but only by a single second, 23:19 to 23:20. Defending Region champ Rosalie White was third for Thomasville in 23:55. Emma Fennelly (4th, 25:25) and Samantha Clark (7th, 25:12) completed Thomasville's scoring, giving the Bulldogs 17 points and the win. The victory qualified Thomasville to run in the state championships in Carrollton on 5 November 2011. The top four teams advance out of the Region, so Albany (2nd, 53), Cook County (3rd, 88), and Early County (4th, 96) would be joining Thomasville in Carrollton.

The boys' 5K race immediately followed the girls'. The horse-and-sulky had vanished, but the boys followed a Gator around the course. Mostly, though, they followed Thomasville sophomore Grif Rutherford. Rutherford was leading right after the start, chased by Fitzgerald senior Pedro Martinez. Rutherford continued to pull away, though, and ended up winning more than 150 meters in 17:40, 48 seconds faster than he ran at the 2010 Region 1-AA Meet. Martinez hung on to second, running 18:17. Including Rutherford, Thomasville put three runners in the top ten, setting up a 40-point total--good enough to defend their 2010 Region title. Fitzgerald took second with 69 points and Cook County third with 74, each team joining Thomasville in qualifying for a trip to the state meet in Carrollton. For the fourth spot, though, Early County and Berrien County each had 100 points. The tie-breaker was the sixth runner on each team. It was close. Early County's sixth runner placed 38th, and Berrien's 39th, less than eight seconds apart, but enough to send Early County on to Carrollton, ending Berrien County's season.

Girls' Team Standings
  1. Thomasville, 17 points
  2. Albany, 53
  3. Cook County, 88
  4. Early County, 96
  5. Berrien, 143
  6. Fitzgerald, 162

Top Ten Girls

  1. 23:18.96 ~ Mareike Haaren (Thomasville) 10
  2. 23:19.93 ~ Kara Meng (Thomasville) 11
  3. 23:54.58 ~ Rosalie White (Thomasville) 11
  4. 24:24.93 ~ Emma Fennelly (Thomasville) 11
  5. 24:42.49 ~ Jessica Burnette (Albany) 12
  6. 25:04.96 ~ Marlee Futch (Cook County)
  7. 25:11.05 ~ Samantha Clark (Thomasville) 12
  8. 25:19.71 ~ Kair'sha Jackson (Albany) 11
  9. 25:20.24 ~ Faith Evans (Albany) 9
  10. 25:29.74 ~ Ashley Parker (Berrien County) 11

Boys' Team Standings
  1. Thomasville, 40 points
  2. Fitzgerald, 69
  3. Cook County, 74
  4. Early County, 100
  5. Berrien County, 100
  6. Albany, 134

Top Ten Boys
  1. 17:39.84 ~ Grif Rutherford (Thomasville) 10
  2. 18:16.02 ~ Pedro Martinez (Fitzgerald) 12
  3. 18:40.52 ~ Jonathon Davison (Early County) 11
  4. 18:44.40 ~ Michael Johns (Early County) 11
  5. 19:15.65 ~ John Wilcox (Cook County) 11
  6. 19:22.84 ~ Tony Jackson (Cook County) 11
  7. 19:25.02 ~ Will White (Thomasville) 10
  8. 19:35.99 ~ Ruben Pule (Berrien County) 11
  9. 19:49.93 ~ Rhett Rutherford (Thomasville) 9
  10. 19:55.49 ~ Cameron Anderson (Berrien County) 11


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