Wachtel Wins First Race Of The Season @ Midstate

The first weekend of cross country invitationals kicked off the season along with a few time trials. It has been a rocky road to get this far after the cancellation of 18 meets through 9/24. Many of them large invites which forced schools to scramble to get into other meets. Midstate had to make some adjustments themselves after the 'State Fairgrounds' down in Perry (did not want large gatherings) forcing them to cut a new course at nearby Fort Valley State. Team XC Nationals' canceled a few weeks ago, followed by Great American, and earlier this week the NCAA canceled all their fall sports national championships. (FBS owns division one football) Let's take a look at two meets many miles away from the ATL area.

Midstate Invitational
(photos by Kennedy Track & Field)

Justin Wachtel took the win going 16:13

Fresh off an interview with MileSplit National on Friday, Wachtel was excited to race after not having competed since 3/7 at the Jerry Arnold Challenge. He cruised to the overall win going 16:13. Jonathan Greene from Evans HS was runner-up clocking a 17:13, followed by Mohammed Ibrahim of Veterans HS at 17:28. Lowndes took the team hardware back down to Valdosta besting Veterans by 6 points. Leading the Viking quest were seniors Andrew Caruana taking 7th and Alec Munger 8th. 

Jonathan Greene of Evans was the overall runner-up.

Simone Rojas from Evans HS wins her first race of the season.

Evans' girls seem to have developed another strong top 3 runners for this fall taking three of the top six spots led by the junior duo of overall champ Simone Rojas crossing the line in 20:22, followed by Madison Kennedy took runner-up honors posting a 21:28 and senior Ansley Fullen placed 6th at 22:34 leading the Lady Knights to a 3rd place team finish. But, Veterans and Mary Persons' depth paved the way to first and second on the team podium. Leading the pack for the War Hawks was Caitlyn Koske placing 8th overall. Freshman Alanna Wood led the charge for Mary Persons taking 7th overall in 22:28. 

Madison Kennedy of Evans was 2nd overall going 21:28.

Full Meet Results

Augusta Eagle Invitational

Wildwood Park in Appling, Georgia, is a challenging 5K cross country course with uneven terrain, clay, sand, trails, and multiple small to moderate hills. Coaches should be pleased with the opening season performances of their athletes on this course which usually does not produce individual PR's regardless of the time of the year run. The race slogan was "Enjoy It!" After 5 months of no competition, athletes and race fans alike seemed to enjoy themselves. The event was somewhat different, complying with GHSA and GAPPS xc and return to play guidelines. While sportsmanship was limited with no contact restrictions, the athletes still encouraged one another and we look forward to the day when runners will embrace, high five, and talk with one another after a hard-fought battle.

Avery Jaynes of Southeast Bulloch wins his first race of the Fall

3A Southeast Bulloch made a statement Saturday at Wildwood Park as they bested 6A Lakeside Evans who contends for region titles nearly every year, (though it's noted that their stud Sam Rich did not race)  Avery Jaynes had a great state meet in 2019 and picked up where he left off racing to the overall win setting a new meet record with a time of 16:53.82. Lakeside placed three runners in the top eight, including runner-up Ethan Kurilko at 17:17, and Caleb Carter at 17:53. GAPPS school Augusta HS placed 3rd as a team led by sophomore Warren Shephard's 4th place effort of 17:21 and Hayes Trapp of GISA school Augusta Prep claimed 3rd overall clocking a 17:16.

Sophomore Susanna Heinz of Augusta HS easily won the girls race going 19:29 (photo by Eric Heinz)

Four girls literally disappeared from the field in this race, but none like Susannah Heinz from Augusta HS. Heinz took control of the race early and never looked back posting a very swift time of 19:29. Freshman Aine Trapp of Augusta Prep and Lakeside Evans' Lauren Michael dueled much of the race with Trapp taking runner-up honors posting a 21:26 with Michael 25 meters back at 21:31. Central HS (Carrollton) had a long bus ride across the state to the Augusta area, but had a great ride home besting Augusta HS by 35 points. The Lions had 4 runners place in the top 10 including top runner freshman Lucy Barker 4th (22:00) Lakeside Evans finished 3rd as a team led by Michael's 3rd place effort along with Emily Wright placing 5th.

Full Meet Results