'South of the Border" Individuals Dominate Individual Races, North Gwinnett Gals and Smiths Station Boys Win Team Titles It was an unusually hot morning down in Albany as temps hit the 80's before the MS races. It showed as only 1 JV Boy went sub 18: It was yet another great meet put on by Westover AD Coach Harley Calhoun and his army of volunteers. Winning the Individual titles were Abby Booth from Perry HS in 18:35 and Shaw's Hakeem Mustafaa, who got some sweet redemption this weekend winning the Boys overall title in 15:37. Oh, and another note, as we were setting up, a coach crossed the finish line wheeling the course and I joked a radical measurement, and he replied "its very close to 5000 meters.."
Paige Braswell (l), race Champ, Abby Booth (r) lead the chase pack thru the Pecan Ochards in the Varsity race Image by Marcus Taylor
There was a real 'South of the Border' showdown for the Girls overall championship as runners from Perry, Bainbridge and Lowndes County proved their talents. Abby Booth of Perry captured the title in 18:35, outlasting Bainbridge's Paige Braswell about 15 meters back in 18:38 followed by Lowndes freshman Mackenzie Morse in 18:49. The top 'metro' gal was Courtney Czerniak of North Gwinnett in 18:49. The team race was actually quite close dominated by 'northern squads' as North Gwinnett left Robert Cross MS with the team title scoring 91 points besting Creekview at 102. AA Lovett edged 1A Private Pace by 5 points placing 4th while 6A Lowndes was the top south ga squad placing 5th.
Shaw's Hakeem Mustafaa loses the chase pack in the Pecan Orchards Image by Marcus Taylor
Three 'South of the Border' stars gave the Boys race a brand new flavor as Hakeem Mustafaa of Shaw took the race out early and sometimes disapeared from view of the chase pack back in the pecan orchard. Mustafaa held on enough as the temps rose for a :12 second win at 15:37. Jackson Reid of Perry had begun to make up ground on Hakeem but ran out of course posting a 15:49 placing 2nd. Also hanging out in the chase pack and charging hard the final mile was Creekview's Brennan Garriques as he placed 3rd overall in 15:51 a few steps behind Reid and stalking Brennan was senior Jadon Long from Lowndes in 15:54. As for the team battle, Alabama webmaster Tim Loreman's Smiths Station squad invaded Albany and escaped back across the Chattahoochee River with the team honors. Leading Smiths was Kyle Smith in 11th and Jeric McKoy in 12th.
Berrien MS's Ladarius Dumas and Lee MS's Samad Mills fight for 5th meters before the Finish Image by Bruce Taylor
In the MS Mixed 2 Mile, Tanner Reid of Perry MS tuned up for the Georgia MS State Meet, cruising to a convincing win in 10:43. Placing 2nd in 11:24 was Bonaire's John Nicklas Rowland, and talented newcomer, Haven Gilbert of Berrien MS was actually 3rd (bib error) in 11:44. The Girls race was dominated by 7th grader Kelsey Morse from the Vikings Running Club (in Valdosta) as she clocked a sweet 12:31. Caroline Vickers of Tift MS placed 2nd in 13:04 followed by 6th grader Eryn Wilkey (also of the Vikings Running Club) in 13:10 As announced on the meet page, only the top 5 MS Boys and Girls would be recognized during the awards ceremony... Given that, Tift MS was the top girls team, w/ Berrien MS 2nd and on the MS Boys end, Lee County MS would have been first, with Berrien MS placing 2nd.