GHSA 3A State Meet Recap: Yep, the Usual Westminster Sweep

3A boys race from state

All Photos by Alex Burst - Photo Album

Meet Recaps:
1A Pub. | 1A Priv. | 2A | 3A | 4A | 5A | 6A | 7A

3A Boys Recap - Fernando so smooth to sub 16:00 while Westminster Dominates

Fernando was challenged early but not much late thanks to an unfortunate incident.

This race had some definite intrigue to it. Matthew Fernando of Westminster came in as the favorite but East Forsyth junior Alex Arrambide was not going to let him just have it. They came through the first mile together with West Hall senior Stephen Clark trailing then in no man's land. Don't hand the title to Fernando just yet. They come out of the woods and they're together still, this is shaping up to be a great race! Except, what's that in Arrambide's hand? Oh no! It's his shoe! I bet those road crossings were pretty uncomfortable running like that (when are we getting mats again?). As a result we see Fernando start to create some separation halfway through the race and the gap continues to grow.

Interview with Arrambide who lost his shoe during the race.

Now let's not take anything away from Fernando. He looked very calm the whole race and still broke 16:00 in what ended up being the 5th fastest time of the meet. The result probably wouldn't have changed much. But let's give some major kudos to Arrambide (who won't be the last to lose his shoe at this meet) for toughing out a 16:40 in 2nd place. I'm sure he could have been much faster. 

Clark going up separation slope

Clark ran the whole race by himself to take 3rd in 16:51, the only other sub 17 on the day.

Behind them was a trio of Westminster runners who opened up together in the chase pack and never looked back. They eventually got rid of all other competitors as Joseph Jacquot was 4th in  17:01, Jack Ramsey was 5th I 17:05, and Noah Chen was 6th in 17:19. 

Brogan Steele finishing in 7th

At Separation Slope nothing was guaranteed however. Freshman Sam Wingfield of Morgan County was challenging Westminster's 4th man and Brogan Steele from Savannah Arts Academy was challenging their 5th. They weren't going to just let the Wildcats do whatever they wanted. Hart County and Pike County seniors Diego Martinez and Aiden Potter were content to hang back and let others wear out in front of them. And that strategy worked out pretty well. Jacquot and Ramsey were able to get away, but Chen had to battle to hold onto the 6th spot, which he eventually did as the Wildcats took four of the top six. Steele was the next runner taking 7th in 17:23 while Martinez' patience paid off when he came flying down the final hill in 8th place running a 17:27. Wingfield and Potter were able to hold on for 9th and 10th in 17:30 to keep the top ten to only 4 Westminster runners. 

Alsobrook and Asfaw finishing for GAC

In the team battle, Westminster won by over 100 as Whitaker Swann sealed the deal in 11th place at 17:31. Greater Atlanta Christian was 2nd overall thanks to the high finishes from Addison Alsobrook in 13th and Josiah Asfaw in 14th. Hart County was able to capitalize on a great run by Martinez and take home the 3rd place trophy while Oconee County had to settle for 4th place. However, it should be noted that had it not been for a disqualification, Oconee would have been runner up as they would have had all five scorers inside the top 34 team places. Hearing the words "We need a coach from _________ to the control tent" are every coach's worst nightmare and unfortunately for Oconee those fears came to fruition on Friday. I would never wish that on anybody and it's very unfortunate.

The 3A girls race was much closer than the boys but still had the same result on top

3A Girls Recap - Westminster girls get it done as Walstad makes a statement

Lead pack and Chase pack early on had all of the major players in this race.

This race looked like it was going to be a very close one early one. There was no major favorite on paper and then the first mile it was a pack of four girls all together with Palmer Walstad and Cate Stevens of Westminster along with North Hall Freshman Clodagh O'Bryant and Savannah Arts Academy junior Margaret Wade. But Walstad had other plans. She came out of the woods determined to make it hurt for her competitors as only Wade was still right with her after the first separation slope. The race strung out behind them as Harleigh Smith from North Hall was trailing followed by Janie Cooper of Westminster. So all of the major players were in the top 6 at this point. As they began the second loop Walstad opened up a gap and just kept pushing. Eventually nobody else was within sight of her as she came down the final hill and took home with him in a commanding 19:22 that was a way to remind us all that she's still here and she's still got it. 

Cooper in pursuit after laying off the hose pace early

Behind her something interesting happened as Cooper took advantage as the hot pace that Walstad set took it's toll on those who followed and Cooper was able to move up all the way through the race to take 2nd place in 19:55. Hanging on for 3rd was Wade in 20:01 and O'Bryant finished her first state meet in 4th at 20:04. Harleigh Smith followed her freshman teammate to take 5th in 20:22.

Myers at the halfway

Cherokee Bluff junior Adison Myers tried to open up behind Cooper and ride that wave to the finish while Lyric Olson and Ava Coffey from Savannah Arts sat back with Nealeigh Broadwell from White County Early. North Hall had a 3rd runner up there too early on, but it looks like she may not have finished the race looking at the video and the results. Eventually Myers found herself alone, the hardest way to run and with Olson and Coffee hunting her down. Once they caught her Olson put in a big move and pulled away from both girls to take home 6th in 20:47 while Myers was able to hold off Coffee and take 7th in 21:03 to Coffee's 21:05. Broadwell also had a big 3rd mile taking 9th in 21:10 chasing the Savannah Arts Ladies the whole way. Stevens struggled for the second half of the race but was able to hold on just enough to stay in the top 10 and provide precious points for Westminster.

Girls 3A team awards ceremony

The team battle was pretty close for much of the day, and Savannah Arts made it very interesting as their 3-4 girls actually finished higher than Westminster as freshman Elle Harward-Grant took 12th and the team race was tight through 4. Unfortunately there would be no upset on this day as Westminster's 5th runner Ella Wallace was only 16th giving the Lady Wildcats their 9th straight title with 43 points to Savannah's 61. Oconee County ran well as usual to take 3rd place, this time led by seniors Sydney Matthews and Kensley McConnell, scoring 96 points. Mary Persons took advantage of North Hall struggling and se their tight 1-5 pace of 34 seconds to take 4th place by one point. They were led by Madelyn Causey in 21:48.