CARROLLTON - Heritage's boys cross country team probably made themselves the team to beat after winning the West Georgia Cardiology Last Chance Invitational on Saturday.
The boys finished first with 74 points out of a field of 17 while the girls took seventh out of 14 teams with 206 points running at the same course where the state will hold their cross country state meet.
"We were real happy about that because that's where we'll be going in two weeks. We ran pretty good for where we want to be at this point in time," Heritage coach Brian Smith said. "That was good confidence for us knowing that we can not only run well on that course, we can win on that course. We had some success up until fall break then we came back and we were a little flat."
Finishing with a time of 17 minutes, 08.75 seconds was Jake Hudson.
And even though he finished third overall out of a 152 runners, he's not very happy satisfied with his time.
"If you ask him he's not pleased with that. He's run 16:57 at the Horse Park. I told him last year 10th place at state was 16:46. That's the ball park we're shooting for in the next two weeks," Smith said. "He's capable to doing that."
Also scoring for the Heritage boys were Darius Calhoun (sixth, 17:36.26), Aaron Worthy (seventh, 17:37.01), Brandon Harrison (19, 18:11.82) and Zach Landy (39, 18:45.81).
"We've had four strong runners in any competition we've had. One of our biggest concerns was trying to develop a fifth, Zach Landy filled that role for us in this meet," Smith said.
The girls were paced by two freshman who have led the team all year.
Simone Worthy came in 11th with a time of 21:49.14 while Lena Killingsworth, with a time 22:08.61, finished 16th out of a field of 125.
"We have a real strong front runner who's done real well as a freshman in Simone Worthy. She's been consistently in the front of the pack in most of the races. She's definitely our leader," Smith said.
"We're leaning on some young girls who don't have a lot of experience running in high school but they seem to be handling it so far."
Finishing third and fourth were Heritage girls were Jamara Dye (60, 24:09.90) and Erin Tarr (63, 24:17.49).
The Heritage girls have made it to state every year since 1998.
"One of our goals is to keep that streak alive," Smith said.
In cross country, one of the most important positions is that of the No. 5 runner. Kristin Rodgers (74, 24:51) fought for the position beating out fellow runners, Janet VanHeest (75, 24:53.87) and Cate Reach (77, 24:57.13).
The average time for the boys was 17:51.93 with the average time for the girls was 23:27.25.
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.