Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ancient mounds and young runners at Kolomoki

Travet WitherspoonThe home cross-country course of Early County High School in Blakely, Georgia is probably the oldest in the state. The Bobcats race at Kolomoki Mounds State Park, which archaeologists have concluded was first inhabited 3,000 years ago. The temple mound complex in the park is only about half that age, but that's still pretty old. Obviously, the Bobcats haven't been running there all that time, but the mounds still make an impressive background for athletics--it's like running by Stonehenge, or the Pyramids, or the Athenian Parthenon. And it also doesn't take much imagination to picture native American races around the plaza in some bygone century.

On Tuesday morning, 29 October 2013, though, it was a more contemporary group of athletes competing in the shadows of the mounds when Early County hosted the GHSA Region 1-AA cross-country championships.

Rachel SmithRacing opened at 10:30 AM with the girls' 5K race. Thomasville High senior Rachel Smith led the 41 athletes from six school away from park headquarters and out onto the plaza. The defending Region 1 champion, Smith's lead went unchallenged throughout the 3.1-mile run, and she won her second straight regional title in 21:05. Berrien County junior Emily Boyd was second in 21:46, and Pelham freshman Monica Webb took third in 22:33. After that it was all Thomasville, with Rebekah Smith (4th, 22:45), Jacara Hayes (5th, 22:57), Mareike Haaren (6th, 23:08), and Rebecca-Jane White (7th, 23:30) giving the Bulldogs a team total of 23 points and their sixth Region 1 win in the past six years. Pelham was second with 54 points, Berrien County third with 74, and Cook County fourth with 101. The top four teams advanced to the GHSA state championships in Carrollton on 9 November 2013. For everyone else, the season was over.

Girls' Team Standings, 2013 GHSA Region 1-AA Cross CountryThomasville High School cross-country girls
  1. Thomasville, 23 points
  2. Pelham, 54
  3. Berrien County, 74
  4. Cook County, 101
  5. Early County, 114
  6. Fitzgerald, 146

Top Ten Girls, 2013 GHSA Region 1-AA Cross Country
  1. 21:04.46 ~ Rachel Smith (Thomasville) 122013 GHSA Region 1-AA Cross Country Championship
  2. 21:45.73 ~ Emily Boyd (Berrien County) 11
  3. 22:32.34 ~ Monica Webb (Pelham) 9
  4. 22:44.02 ~ Rebekah Smith (Thomasville) 10
  5. 22:56.23 ~ Jacara Hayes (Thomasville) 10
  6. 23:07.87 ~ Mareike Haaren (Thomasville) 12
  7. 23:29.32 ~ Rebecca Jane White (Thomasville) 10
  8. 24:11.07 ~ Janna Jernigan (Berrien County) 9
  9. 24:23.25 ~ Laura Watts (Pelham) 10
  10. 24:26.59 ~ Harley Paulk (Cook County) 10

Guthrie EdwardsThe boys' 5K followed at 11:00 AM. Once again it was a defending champion taking the lead, as Pelham senior Guthrie Edwards charged to the front. Thomasville's Will White led the pursuit, and by the halfway mark Travet Witherspoon of Thomasville had moved into third. Those three athletes held their positions through the second half of the race, and Edwards won his second straight region title, running 17:12. White was runner-up in 17:30, and Witherspoon placed third in 18:20. Edwards and Witherspoon were soon joined by Thomasville runners Andrew Jackson (4th, 18:37), Ian Ward (7th, 18:44), and Neil White (9th, 19:18), giving the Bulldogs the Region 1 team title with a mathematically unbeatable score of 25 points. The win qualified Thomasville for the state championships. The other qualifiers were Berrien County (second with 72 points), Cook County (third with 88 points), and Fitzgerald (fourth with 103 points). Pelham's Edwards qualified as an individual. The rest of the field would have to wait till next year.

Boys' Team Standings, 2013 GHSA Region 1-AA Cross CountryThomasville High School cross-country boys
  1. Thomasville, 25 points
  2. Berrien County, 72
  3. Cook County, 88
  4. Fitzgerald, 103
  5. Pelham, 109
  6. Early County, 138

Top Ten Boys, 2013 GHSA Region 1-AA Cross Country
  1. 17:11.81 ~ Guthrie Edwards (Pelham) 122013 GHSA Region 1-AA Cross Country Championship
  2. 17:29.59 ~ Will White (Thomasville) 12
  3. 18:19.62 ~ Travet Witherspoon (Thomasville) 11
  4. 18:36.51 ~ Andrew Jackson (Thomasville) 11
  5. 18:39.49 ~ Terry Speicher (Cook County) 11
  6. 18:41.81 ~ Saul Crumpton (Berrien County) 12
  7. 18:43.39 ~ Ian Ward (Thomasville) 10
  8. 18:48.54 ~ LaQuavious Williams (Early County) 12
  9. 19:17.96 ~ Neil White (Thomasville) 12
  10. 19:18.32 ~ Keldren Reddick (Thomasville) 12


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