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Local teams fail to finish strong in cross country meets

COVINGTON — With just over a month left until the state cross country meet, nobody really showed that they were ready for it as local team competed in cross country events on Saturday.

The Heritage boys and girls cross country teams and the Rockdale boys had the best finish amongst the five school running with 10th place finishes in the Aubrae Gunderson Invitational at the Georgia Horse Park in Conyers.

Both Heritage teams ran in the Red Division while the Rockdale boys competed in the Championhsip Division. Eastside’s boys came in 14th out of 17 teams with the Eastside girls coming in 16th place.

In the Aubrae Gunderson Invitational, the Rockdale boys had 275 points in their meet while the Heritage boys had 296 points. Also running in the Red Division were Newton with 612 points to come in 18th and Salem with 714 points to finish 23rd.

The Heritage girls had 294 points followed be Newton who had 466 points for 15th and Rockdale who finished in 20th with 609 points.

In the boys Red Division, Heritage’s Darryl Bowie had the time to beat coming in 21st overall with a time 17 minutes, 21.09 seconds. Heritage’s TJ Wilson (17:42.87) and Samuel Wells (18:04.70) came in 30th and 48th place before another local runner, Newton”s Randolph Barratt, broke the string of Heritage runners.

Also scoring for the Heritage team were Carl Davis (98-19:08.70) and Jacob Bell (99-19:11.32)

After Barratt snapped the string of Heritage runners coming in 80th with a time of 18:38.31, it was a while before another Newton runner came through the gates. Cameron Clark crossed the finish line in 103rd place in 19:14.05 followed by Nakai James (132-20:37.65), Josh Suber (148-21:45.73) and Makhi Forehand (149-21:47.82).

Salem’s Devin Nevett and Marquis Alexis came in right after each other in 137th and 138th place in 21:03.01 and 21:03.42. Damauni Williams crossed the line in 21:04.57 for 140th with Will Garret (147-21:41.39) and Auturo Clark (152-22:21.27) trailing.

Pace Academy’s Joshua Rogers was the low medalist in the Red Division completing the course in 15:57.98 with Mountain View taking the team title with 95 points.

In the Championship Division, Dax Willette set the pace for the Rockdale boys coming in eighth overall in a time of 16:04.82. Unfortunately it took a while for the rest of the team to catch up as Jonathan Giuliano came in 53rd with a time of 17:20.67 followed by Logan Hull (61-17:35.44), Sulaimane Bangura (70-17:53.54) and Kevin Mendez (84-18:17.55).

Not even a first-place finish by Tyler Woodrome with a time of 15:11.15 was good enough to give Mill Creek the team title. Mill Creek fell two points short as Flowery Branch won the meet with 75 points.

In the girls meet, Heritage’s Alexia Wilson had the best time of the girls local runners coming in eighth place in 20:13.86. The next three local runners were also from Heritage with Ferree Buck coming in 51st in 22:01.54 followed by Damali Thomas (76-23:35.72) and Erin Carter (77-23:36.91).

After Newton’s Maiya Newton sneaked in 80th with a time of 23:48.11, Heritage’s final scorer, Emily Taylor, came in 82nd in 24:04.59.

Teaming up with Newton were Desire Griffin (83-24:10.34), Genevie Antoine (88-24:19.88) Brianna Hayden (107-25:03.59) and Kourtnii Farley (108-25:07.84).

Running for Rockdale were Kyandi Lattimer (103-24:45.77), Elizabeth Lowe (118-25:53.75), Amani Mansur (126-26:56.64), Maria Campos (127-27:05.01) and Jada Jackson (135-37:20.57).

Richmond Hill’s Amanda Elliott and Rachel Hammesfahr gave their team a good start to win the girls Red Division meet coming in first and second with times of 19:32.13 and 19:33.46. But it wasn’t meant to be as Brookwood, Pace Academy and North Atlanta were within a point of each other to claim the top spot. Brookwood claimed the title with 95 points followed by pace Academy with 96 and North Atlanta with 97.

In the Rock Ranch Invitational at Yatesville, Veterans took the top spots with 100 points for the boys and 77 points for the girls. The Eastside boys, with 305 points, came in 14th while the girls, with 445 points, finished 16th in the team battle.

Eagle’s Landing’s Brian Cato was the top runner for the boys with a time of 16:39.09. Finishing in the lead for Eastside was Landon Moore with came in 43rd in 19:57.91. Following Moore for Eastside were Garrett Nix (50-20:05.34), Devin Herring (55-20:07.69), Jacob Alwes (68-20:23.34) and Logan Jepsen (89-20:55.03).

The individual time for the girls was set by Mary Persons Anna Leigh Nix with a time of 20:12.59, eight minutes ahead of Eastside’s Jones Madison who came in at the 28:21.66 mark for 82nd place. Coming behind Madison for Eastside were Ashley Crawford (85-28:30.09), Taylor Jones (86-28:34.88) Taylor Betchler (94-29:12.03) and Delaney Murphy (98-29:56.53).