Chestatee boys after their big win.
Editor's Note - This is just a quick recap of the biggest highlights of the day. full recaps of all races will be posted next week.
The Pace Academy boys delivered this year with a state title after two incredibly close losses the last two years. Edward Blaha took it hard form the gun, but the rest of the pace boys were patient and moved up the whole race to go 1-4-6-8-9 for a low score of 28. Edward Blaha ran a low time of 16:09, which is very impressive on the cold, windy day. Buck Ledford ran a tough race to put up a time of 16:24 for 2nd place. Lovett was 2nd with 76 points, Bleckley County was 3rd with 161, and Jeff Davis was 4th with 173.
Pace Academy repeats and Caroline Hood gets her first state title. Hood took it form the gun and never looked back, running a very fast time of 19:09 while Pace Academy comfortably won the team race with 27 points. Laura Arenth and Mary Parrish Green had a great battle for runner up with Arenth, the Pace senior, getting the better of the Lovett Freshman. Lovett was 2nd with 61, Bleckley was 3rd with 107, and Oglethorpe County was 4th with 169 points.
Matthew Fernando of Westminster and Alex Arrambide of East Forsyth had a fantastic battle for the first half of the race. But Arrambide lost his shoe on the first loop and had to carry it the rest of the race so Fernando was able to pull away and win in 15:59, the only sub 16 of the day. Stephen Clark from West Hall was a strong 3rd place in 16:51 while Westminster boys packed up the rest of the top 6 going 1-4-5-6-11 to win with 19 points (after individuals removed) which was surprisingly not the lowest score of the day. Greater Atlanta Christian was 2nd place in 125, Hart County was 3rd in 152, and Oconee County was 4th with 160.
Palmer Walstad of Westminster was clearly on a mission in this one. She had some company early but just kept throwing down the hammer and by the halfway had opened up a gap on everybody else that only got bigger as the race went on winning in 19:22. Teammate Janie Cooper was able to pick up the pieces and pull of a 2nd place finish with a 19:55 over a very strong Margaret Wade of Savannah Arts Academy in 20:01. Westminster girls also got the win over Savannah Arts 43-61. Savannah Arts kept things really close through 4 runners, but the Westminster 5th was just too strong and sealed the deal.
This was easily the race of the day. Defending champions Chestatee came in a little under the radar, but Marist was ready for them. Marist sat back a little early on and Chestatee had 4 in front of their 3rd but Chestatee 5th was way back early. By the halfway Marist had moved up well but so had Chestatee's 5th runner: Noah Peters. At the 2 mile it looked it could be anybody's day, but the defending state Champions were able to pull away as Chestatee scored 38 to Marist's 46. Jefferson was 3rd with 95 and Pickens was 4th with 146. Individually this one was exciting too. Matthew Schroeder of Jefferson got an early lead in this one and had a decent gap 1000m into the race. Tommy Latham, Caden Strickland, and Sage Walker were running together chasing him though. And they eventually caught him around the 2 mile and had some Chestatee kids join them. Heading into the woods it looked like it could be anybody's race, but coming out of the woods it was all Walker. The Druid Hills senior was not going to be denied as he came roaring down the hill to run 16:34 to Garrett Grater's 16:41 and Latham's 16:50.
As expected, Marist dominated. But it was more than just that, as they put on a clinic getting the low score of the day with 17 points, two away from a perfect score. And honestly if that race was 800m longer, it maybe would have been a perfect score. Ruby Little and Katherine Law got out early and were together the first mile, but coming out of the woods Little was gone. She cruised away to run an 18:54, the fastest time of the day. Johna Grisik, Nicole Pizzo, and Kate Selover were brilliant as they moved up throughout the race together and were able to catch everybody to go 2-3-4 in 19:40, 19:45, and 19:49. Jefferson was 22nd with 101, while Central was 3rd with 116 and Flowery Branch was 4th with 140.