Alex Grady and Antwonette Thomas take Citizen cross country honors

in the lead is the winner Newton HS senior Alex Grady and right behind him is Salem HS Gabe Alvarez. . 1st and 2nd place winners

in the lead is the winner Newton HS senior Alex Grady and right behind him is Salem HS Gabe Alvarez. . 1st and 2nd place winners

COVINGTON -- Newton's Alex Grady and Rockdale's Antwonette Thomas proved that they were the ones to beat claiming the Boys and Girls Citizen's All-Area Cross Country Runners of the Year.

Grady averaged a time of 16 minutes, 32 seconds in his 11 races aided with a pair of sub-16 minute runs. He had a season-low 15:33 in the Asics Cross Country Invitational and ran the Nike-Fleet feet Coach Wood Invitational in 15:57.

Other highlights of the year include setting a new record in the New/Rock Championship at Newton with a time of 16:39, winning his second region championship in 16:31 and finishing 23rd overall in the Class AAAAAA with a time of 17:14.

Besides winning New/Rock and the Region 2-AAAAAA meet, he also had wins in the Newton Quad (16:43) and Athens Academy 2012 No. 1 (17:15). His runner-up finishes included North Oconee meet (16:40) and the Athens Academy 2012 No. 3 (16:59). Other than the state meet, his worse finishes were the Coach Wood Invitational and Berry College Clara Bowl Invitational (16:27) where he came in sixth.

Making the All-Citizen Cross Country Team for the boys were Salem's Gabriel Alverez (16:50 average), Rockdale's Patrick Massie (17:30), Newton's Christian Scott (17:49), Rockdale's Tyree Newton (17:57), Rockdale's Clifton Cosurra (18:06), Heritage's Malik McCrary (18:18) and Newton's Shemar Rannie (18:24).

Thomas was the clear choice for the girls top runner averaging more than two minutes faster than her closest competitor. Thomas had an average 21:07 while Alcovy's Elizabeth Smith averaged 23:15.

Thomas set a new personal record in her eighth-place finish at the Mercy Invitational with time of 20:04. She had two wins taking the top spot in New/Rock (21:33) and Newton Quad (20:54) and she had two runner-up finishes in the Region 2-AAAAAA Championship (21:59) and the Pike County Invitational (21:09).

Joining Thomas and Smith in the All-Citizen Cross Country Team for the girls are Salem's Jordan Marshall (23:39), Salem's Daria Woods (23:42), Newton's Maiya Newton (24:35), Heritage's Feree Buck (24:39), Eastside's Ally Chandler (24:53) and Eastside's Rhodelle Lewis (25:26).

Rockdale's Jeff Spotts, who is the All-Citizen Cross Country Coach of the Year, led both the boys and girls squads to the state meet for the first time in the school's 53-year history. Rockdale qualified to the state meet with a second place finish for the girls and a third place finish for the boys.

Under his direction, the boys won the Pike County Invitational and the Oglethorpe County 'Patriot Races while finishing second in the New/Rock Championship and the Aubrae Gunderson Invitational Red division.