Champ Griffin Stephens
(pics by Dan McCauley unless noted)
After the hotly contested 8-AA region meet, with the 1-3 ranked squads bouncing up and down in October, we were in for a rare treat in the 2A Boys race at State. Union County came in as the defending champs, Banks County won region and the young Patriots from Oglethorpe County were within striking distance, as well as 2 time Champ Bleckley County from central Georgia. But in November, anything is possible and can happen on the unpredictable 'Hills of Carrollton'
Griffin Stephens heads for home
This felt like something special, as teams huddled and 'yawped their battle cries' shortly before race instructions were given. 8-aa powers Banks, Union and Oglethorpe were in a conjested pack about 30m behind the leaders at Mile 1. Griffin Stephens of Banks split a 5:06 with frosh Luke Churchwell of Bleckley cutting out a 5:11. Cresting 'Separation Slope' there were no reports over the pa system.. Beginning loop 2, Griffin had a 5m lead over defending champ Garrett Rogers of Bleckley County with Churchwell comfortably in 3rd place 2 Mile splits were announced with Garrett going 10:32 Stephens at 10:38. Stephens made a big move though and took the lead before the runners began ascending the final tough hill. You will have to watch the race video (which should be available late Monday to see the best finish of the entire State meet) as Stephens fought off a last ditch charge by Rogers down the hill, winning by .06 in a time of 16:44.15..
Runnerup Garrett Rogers of Bleckley County
But, more drama was occurring, as Oglethorpe County's pack was busy as their 1-5 had an impressive split of 1:16 earning the Pats' their 1st GHSA XC State title in school history. Freshman Luke McGarity paved the way for the Pats placing 9th in 17:46. Union County gave it hell, but came up 4 points shy of defending their title. Bleckley County had a strong race, ending up 3 points behind Union County. Banks County had a letdown after winning Region 8-AA, but made the Team Podium placing 4th. On a side note, Model's top 3 had them in contention early, but Vidalia took 5th.
Luke McGarity led the Patriots (file pic)
Oglethorpe County (file pic)
|1||Griffin Stephens||12||Banks County HS||16:44.15||1|
|2||Garrett Rogers||12||Bleckley County High School||16:44.21||2|
|3||Luke Churchwell||9||Bleckley County High School||17:24.68||3|
|4||Luke Gambrell||11||Union County HS||17:35.20||4|
|6||Martin Santana||12||Toombs County HS||17:44.27||6|
|9||Luke McGarity||9||Oglethorpe County HS||17:46.31||9|
|10||John Morgan Bolmer||12||Berrien County HS||17:48.38||10|
|1||Zoe Sanchez||12||Union County HS||20:06.82||1|
|2||Tristen Crosby||9||Bleckley County High School||20:34.20||2|
|3||Austin Perez||12||Bleckley County High School||20:49.18||3|
|4||Mari Jablonski||12||Monticello HS||21:26.35||0|
|5||Rebecca Chandler||12||Berrien County HS||21:36.47||4|
|7||Bridget Mainor||9||St. Vincent's Academy (SVA)||21:47.14||6|
|8||Zoie Marchant||10||Jeff Davis||21:52.64||7|
|9||Katie Wadsworth||11||Oglethorpe County HS||21:54.93||8|