Winters, Heritage score big
Heritage senior 4th, team No. 6 in class

CARROLLTON - Shuaib Winters made his last appearance in the state cross country meet count Saturday.

The Heritage senior finished fourth in the Class AAAA event, his best finish in the state meet during his high school career. Winters completed the course in 16 minutes, 17.41 seconds.

Winters ran in the top five the entire race and was in second for much of the race.

"He ran a fast race," Heritage cross country coach Brian Smiths said. "Shuaib was right there in the mix. I'm ecstatic at what he's accomplished in four year's here."

Last year, Winters finished 15th and in his sophomore year in 2005, he placed fifth.

In the overall standings, the Heritage boys placed sixth, the best finish the Patriots have had in the Class AAAA meet. In 1998, Heritage placed fifth in the Class AAA meet.

"Our school has been around since 1976 and we're setting the standard," Smith said. "This is the best boys team ever."

In addition to Winters, also scoring points for Heritage were Jake Hudson (38th, 17:30.6), Brad Hardin (45th, 17:34.51), Darious Calhoun (77th, 17:55.67) and Andrew Connors (99th, 18:16.84). The average time for Heritage 17:31.81.

The Heritage girls finished 15th and had an average time of 22:10.13.

Whitney Adkins was the top runner for the Lady Patriots as she finished 37th with a time of 21:16.13. Rounding out Heritage's top five were Sarah Hayward (49th, 21:27.61), Megan Drish (91st, 22:14.20), Erin Tarr (112th, 22:52.19) and Alyssa Clingenpeel (120th, 22:58.70).

"Our goal for the girls was to have the best team average of the year," Smith said. "I'm real proud of the way they represented our school at the state meet for the 10th straight year. I couldn't have asked to have a better group of athletes, both boys and girls."

Newton competed in both the boys and girls races in Class AAAAA with the boys finished 21st and the girls finishing 25th in the team standings.

Ameryst Armstead was Newton's top runner as she placed 80th with a time of 21:38.81. Also scoring points for the Newton girls were Megan Heinemann (135th, 23:01.75), Tashia Bowrin (169th, 24:42.19), Claire Davis (184th, 25:38.82) and Shinita Caldwell (199th, 27:29.58). Newton's average was 24:29.43.

"Everybody had a good race overall," Newton head cross country coach Aaron Robinson said. "They held their own out there. I'm proud of them all season."

Travis Knight led the Newton boys as he took 100th with a time of 18:06.23. Newton's top five also included LeDarren Hall (117th, 18:21.19), Raymond Menifee (143rd, 18:53.33), Tyler Ransom (151st, 19:02.63) and Carl Collins (162nd, 19:25.65). Their average time was 18:45.91.

"I was glad to see them move up four places (from last year's state meet)," Robinson said. "We're firmly running in the middle of the pack at state now. We're moving up into the top half of our classification. I was glad to see the progress we made from last year."

Anthony Rhoads can be reached at anthony.rhoads@newtoncitizen.com