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Eastside sends two teams to state meet

GRIFFIN — Both Eastside squads had a great showings in the Region 4-AAA cross country at Spalding with both teams heading to the state meet in Carrollton for the time in school history.

The girls finished in second place with 75 points while the boys came in third place with 98 points.

"It feels excellent (to send both to state). Naomi (Denby) broke the (school) record by 14 seconds. That was her best time from last here and she set it here so she got it again. That was really exciting, this is her course. So the new school record is 21:51," Eastside head coach Leah Carlisle said.

"I was really hoping the boys were going to get second, I knew it was going to be close. But I guess Eagles Landing got the better of us. But third is good, that's what we were ranked."

Denby came in sixth overall and first for Eastside followed by Rhodelle Lewis (11 — 23:15), Blakely Smith (15 — 23:59), Sarah Gaddis (19 — 24:42) and Taylor Jones (29 — 26:18).

Eagles Landing won the girls region championship with 29 points with Locust Grove (80) taking third and Sandy Creek (83) taking the final spot that will go to state. The host team, Spalding, missed going to the state meet by one point scoring 84 points.

The brother/sister team of Gabby Roth and Bailey Roth from Eagles Landing took the individual region championship titles. Gabby won the girls championship with a time of 19:46 with Bailey winning the boys championship with a time of 16:16.

Sandy Creek took the team title with 27 points. Their runners came in third, fourth, fifth, sixth and ninth place.

Finishing in front of Eastside with 36 points was Eagles Landing with Spalding taking fourth with 100 points.

"About half of them had a good day and the other half really didn't. I think the big race in Carrollton will get them pumped up," Carlisle said. "They want a chance to redeem themselves."

The Eastside boys went to the Class AAA meet last year with high expectations but ended the meet in 17th place out of 32 teams.

Finishing in the top 10 for the boys was Michael Johnson-Week (8 — 18:26) followed by Ryan Farrow (15 — 19:06), Joey Ellwanger (17 — 19:10), Austin Knight (29 — 20:12) and Conner Haler (31 — 20:17).

"I'm just proud of them. A lot of them have been running for a long time and this us rewarding. It's a good conclusion to all these kids graduating and leaving," Carlisle said. "It's a happy ending."

Running as seniors on the varsity level are (girls) Melissa Howard, Ashley Larrimore, Smith and Denby, (boys) Kyle Yeomans, Johnson-Weeks, Knight and Farrow.