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Eastside cross country teams get to top finishes

COVINGTON -- Eastside's cross country boys and girls teams seem to be heading in the right direction after finishing in the top third of the Rock Ranch Invitational at Yatesville on Saturday.

Out of 14 teams at the event, the Eastside boys came in third with 113 points while the girls had a fourth-place finish with 102 points.

Even though neither team had anyone finish in the top 10 individually, the grouping made it possible to have one of the best team scores in the event.

In the girls meet, Naomi Denby was the first Eastside girl and the 11th overall runner to cross the gate with a time of 22 minutes, 50.60 seconds. Five runners later was Rhodelle Lewis coming in with a time of 23:58.50.

While Denby and Lewis had good times individually, it was the times of the final three scorers that secured the overall points needed. Eastside's final three runners came in 24, 25 and 26 to give the Eastside girls their fourth-place overall finish. Coming in 24 overall with a time of 24:45.66 was Blakely Smith followed by Breanna Thornton (24:50.47) and Melissa Howard (25:02.63).

Northside of Columbus won the event with 74 points followed by Luella (81) and Veterans (90).

The gold medal belonged to Luella's Paige Rankine with a time of 19:43.72.

Michael Johnson-Weeks had the fastest time for the Eastside boys at of 18:40.03. His time was good enough to put him over the line at 13th place overall. Coming in five seconds and four runners later for 17th overall was Joey Ellwanger followed by Conner Haler (23 -- 19:08.44), Kyle Yeomans (27 -- 19:18.59) and Ryan Farrow (19:30.94).

Perry had the fewest points, 56, to win the meet with Veterans coming in second with 85 points. A mere eight points behind Eastside was Ola with 121 points for a fourth place finish.

Setting the pace for the boys was Veterans' Clay Woolfolk who was the top runner with a time of 17:13.78.Aubrae Gunderson InvitationalThe Heritage boys continued to run well in the Aubrae Gunderson Invitational as they came in fourth overall with 134 points out of 17 teams in the Red Race division,

Finishing eighth overall was Newton with 202 points followed by Salem (14 -- 363), Rockdale (15 -- 396) and Alcovy (16 -- 415).

Coming in six seconds behind the overall winner, Shiloh's Bryan Kamau (16:42), was Newton's Alex Grady with Salem's Gabriel Alvarez and Heritage's Malik McCrary also getting top 10 finishes out of a field of 150 runners.

Alvarez came in fourth overall with a time of 17:26 followed by McCrary whose time of 17:53 was good enough for eighth overall.

Scoring the rest of the points for Heritage were Thomas Donaldson (21 -- 18:38), Sam Marteen Rozier (24 -- 18:44) Victor Beltra (19:14) and Victor Beltran (19:17). Finishing behind Grady for Newton were Sean McDuffie (25 -- 18:45), Jose Rivera (51 -- 19:35), Shamar Rannie (54 -- 19:42) and Bryan Harrison (70 -- 20:33).

Even though Alvarez had a good time, he did not get much help as the next closest Salem runner was Michael Hurley (45 -- 19:20) with Anthony Lewis (102 -- 22:30), Devin Nevett (105 -- 22:51) and Marquis Alexis (106 -- 22:56) trailing.

Scoring for Rockdale was Patrick Massey (29 -- 19:02), Jacob Culver (63 -- 20:09), Geovanni Gonzales (96 -- 22:00), Kevin Mendez (101 -- 22:25) and William Scott (107 -- 23:11). Providing Alcovy's points were Damontae Ivey (39 -- 19:13), Daniel Mejia (87 -- 21:11), Anfernee Cruz (92 -- 21:26), Blake Stewart (97 -- 22:01) and Dalton Cady (100 -- 22:13).

Chattahoochee had the best score in the girls Red Race with 44 followed by Southwest DeKalb (87) and Duluth (116).

Winning the individual medalist for the girls was Southwest DeKalb's Grecianna Cooper, who had a top time of 20:08.

Heritage had the best score of the local schools with 168 for a seventh place finish followed by Salem (eighth -- 198), Alcovy (11 -- 265) and Newton (12 -- 277).

Running in the race were (Heritage): Simone Worthy (13 -- 23:32), Emily Taylor (18 -- 23:46), Ally Silvery (24:51), Lena Killingsworth (46 -- 25:33), Sophie Moll (55 -- 26:02), (Salem): Jamara Dye (19 -- 23:47). Briana Smith (29 -- 24:29), Jordan Marshall (43 -- 25:06), Daria Woods (47 -- 25:36), Asia Hicks (60 -- 26:21), (Alcovy): Elizabeth Smith (23 -- 24:04), Heather Wilson (24:52), Ayanna Martin (54 -- 25:56), Sylvia Godinez (66 -- 26:40), Briana Archer (85 -- 28:35), (Newton) LaRobin Spencer (25 -- 24:17), Brittany Banks (49 -- 25:42), Maiya Newton (61 -- 26:55), Genevie Antoine (69 -- 26:55) and Cicley Inge (73 -- 27:32).

Winning the Blue Race division for the boys was Athens Academy (67) followed by Oconee County (80) and Providence Christian Academy (136) with Athens Academy's Henry Dwyer posting the fastest time for his division at 16:37.

On the girls side of the Blue Race, Providence Christian Academy took the top team spot with 44 points followed by Oconee County (70) and Mount Paran Christian School (102). Helping Providence Christian Academy get the top spot was Evangeline Crist, who had the fastest time with 20:47.