2020 GHSA XC State: Lovett Packs it In, Edward Blaha Solid

Joe Urbabnowicz was overall runner-up at 16:39

(photos by Marc Logan)

Pace Academy's boys were on top of the 2A team rankings throughout the regular season, and one week were in the top slot All-Classes as well. Guess what, Lovett did not care and weren't fazed by all the hype. What matters is who brings it on race day at State. Coach McClay of St. Pius hinted this to me earlier this season that's all that mattered. His old high school teammate, Coach Mayer at Lovett may well share that philosophy. Weather conditions had deteriorated by the start of the 2A races into a steady downpour (watch the video) And the course was beginning to take a beating, especially at 'Separation Slope' and upon entering the band field as the turf got very slick, especially rounding corners. 

Ascending the first horseshoe hill climb four Lions surrounded the Blaha twins of Pace. At the beginning of loop 2, Edward Blaha was in control of the race with 3 Pace and 3 Lovett harriers engaged within 25 meters and some mini-groups containing more Lions and Knights.  At some point, George Blaha began to drop off the pace and ended up in the medical tent after finishing his race. The remainder of the race was a complete free for all between the two schools 3-5 runners. Lovett was just a tad better in this race and took the win by just 2 points. It was the Lions' first team title in 16 years dating back to 2004. Lovett had three runners finish in the top eight, including Joe Urbanowicz (2nd-16:35), Patrick Pitts (3rd- 16:54) and Henry Haden (8th-17:09)

Patrick Pitts was 3rd overall in 16:54.

Coach Mayer had these comments about his boys squad, "What a day. I'm so incredibly proud of this group and their season. They are all such incredibly good teammates to one another, hard-working, and have produced a culture that is easy to coach. A lot of people might have seen our odds today like 9:1 or 8:2, but if you had been at our practices all-season or watched these guys progression in racing you might have given us better odds. This was not a pretty race and it didn't go to plan for us entirely, but the guys just ran courageously, not letting a deteriorating course or tough competition get in the way of what they came here to do today."

Edward Blaha of Pace took the individual title in 16:28

Edward Blaha has been the top runner in 2A all season and put an exclamation point on that Saturday turning in a time of 16:28 in some really crappy weather and course conditions. Junior, Grant Thompson came up big taking 4th overall in 16:57. 

Simon Schabort of Model, Grant Thompson, and Luke Churchwell of Bleckley are bunched together.

Rounding out the top 7 individuals were a group of runners from the 'rural area' schools, including junior, Buck Ledford from Banks County, sophomore Simon Schabort from Model HS at 17:00, and Luke Churchwell from Bleckley County at 17:07. 

Buck Ledford of Banks County led the Jags' to a 3rd place team finish placing 5th at 16:59. 

Luke Churchwell from Bleckley County raced to 7th overall going 17:07.