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A winning heritage
Patriots' program produces top local talent

Heritage's Shuaib Winters spent his final cross country season adding to his already impressive list of running accomplishments.

On the other hand, Heritage's Whitney Adkins was at her best when it counted the most.

For those reasons, Winters is the Boys Runner of the Year and Adkins is the Girls Runner of the Year for the Citizen's 2007 All-Area Cross Country Team.

Once again, Heritage's Brian Smith is the Coach of the Year as his teams continued their area dominance this fall. The Heritage squads swept the area meet among the Rockdale and Newton schools for the 10th straight time. At the Region 8-AAAA Championship, the Heritage boys and girls notched their 10th straight trips to the state meet with second-place finishes. At state, the Heritage boys chalked up their best finish in school history with a sixth place, while the Heritage girls placed 15th.

Boys

Shuaib Winters, Heritage

The senior standout capped off his career with another outstanding season for the Patriots. He finished fourth overall in the Class AAAA meet with a time of 16 minutes, 17 seconds. The two-time Region 8-AAAA individual champion just missed in his quest for a three-peat in the region, finishing second in 16:53. He claimed his third Newton/Rockdale area meet title in 17:51. He posted a season best of 16:14 at the Last Chance Invitational. He is a three-time Citizen Boys Runner of the Year.

Travis Knight, Newton

Knight, a senior, captured the Region 2-AAAAA individual championship with a time of 17:36. He cracked the top 100 in the Class AAAAA state meet, placing 97th in 18:06. He also finished second in the area meet at 18:47 and was sixth in his race at the Aubrae Gunderson Invitational.

Jake Hudson, Heritage

The junior posted his best time of the season at the Class AAAA state meet, finishing 38th in 17:30. He placed ninth in the Region 8-AAAA Meet (17:41) and third in the area meet (18:50).

Brad Hardin, Heritage

Hardin's strong surge to finish the season was one of the key reasons for Heritage's strong run at state. The senior notched his top time of the year at the Class AAAA state meet, finishing 45th in 17:34. He placed 17th in the Region 8-AAAA Meet (18:27) and finished 10th in the area meet (19:48).

Darius Calhoun, Heritage

The freshman made an immediate impact this season for the Patriots, recording his season's best time at the Last Chance Invitational in 17:52. At the Class AAAA state meet, he finished 77th in 17:59. He also was sixth in the area meet (19:40).

Mitch Purvis, Salem

Purvis, a senior, was the only Seminole to crack the top 20 in the Region 8-AAAA Meet, finishing 19th in 18:29. He also was eighth in the area meet (19:45).

Josh Munger, Heritage

The junior was a steady performer all season for the Patriots, posting a season best of 18:09 at the Last Chance Invitational. He finished 110th at state (18:22), 16th in the region (18:27) and 12th in the area (20:15).

Girls

Whitney Adkins, Heritage

Adkins was at her best at the end of the season, producing the Lady Patriots' best times in the Class AAAA state meet and the Region 8-AAAA meet. At state, she placed 37th in 21:16, while at region, she finished sixth in 21:53. The senior also finished fourth in the area meet (23:29).

Ameryst Armstead, Newton

Armstead, a junior, recorded runner-up finishes for the Lady Rams in the Region 2-AAAAA meet (21:03) and the area meet (23:19). She finished 75th in the Class AAAAA state meet in 21:35 and added a fifth-place finish in her race at the Gunderson Invitational in 21:14.

Sarah Hayward, Heritage

The junior posted her top time of the season at the Class AAAA state meet, finishing 49th in 21:27. She was also third in the area (23:30) and ninth in the region (22:16).

Megan Drish, Heritage

Drish claimed the individual title in the area meet with a time of 23:13 on the course at Alcovy. She posted her season best at the Last Chance Invitational with a time of 22:13 in 42nd. The senior finished 13th in the region (22:43) and 91st at state (22:15).

Megan Heineman, Newton

The senior was a solid contributor all season for the Lady Rams, placing eighth in the Region 2-AAAAA meet with a time of 22:26. She was also fifth in the area meet (24:25) and 130th in the Class AAAAA state meet (23:01).

Shannon Christian, Salem

Christian, a sophomore, just missed a top-10 finish in the Region 8-AAAA meet, placing 11th with a time of 22:25.

Whitney Martin, Eastside

The sophomore cracked the top 20 in the Region 8-AAAA meet, finishing 19th in 22:59.

Jeff Gillespie can be reached at jeff.gillespie@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: All-Area Cross Country

· Boys Runner of the Year: Shuaib Winters, Heritage

· Girls Runner of the Year: Whitney Adkins, Heritage

· Coach of the Year: Brian Smith, Heritage

First Team

Boys

Shuaib Winters (Senior, Heritage)

Travis Knight (Senior, Newton)

Jake Hudson (Junior, Heritage)

Brad Hardin (Senior, Heritage)

Darius Calhoun (Freshman, Heritage)

Mitch Purvis (Senior, Salem)

Josh Munger (Junior, Heritage)

Girls

Whitney Adkins (Senior, Heritage)

Ameryst Armstead (Junior, Newton)

Sarah Hayward (Junior, Heritage)

Megan Drish (Senior, Heritage)

Megan Heineman (Senior, Newton)

Shannon Christian (Sophomore, Salem)

Whitney Martin (Sophomore, Eastside)

Honorable Mention

Alcovy: Regan Bowers, Joshua Holcombe, Sharonda Hope, Chris Hunter, Everett Windner

Eastside: Melissa Bender, Ace Cook, Glynn Giles, Tim Guy, Allie Haynie, Leah Owens

Heritage: Andrew Connors, Erin Tarr

Newton: LeDarren Hall, Raymond Menefee, Tyler Ransom

Rockdale: Emily Boyer, Aaron Bullock, Lauren Coursey, Nick Macie

Salem: Dan Revo, Stacey Vinson