The 3A Girls Individual Race was wide open coming in
3A Girls State Meet Recap
Wesleyan continues its winning ways, even in the newly restructured 3A Division. Some complications at Region aside, Wesleyan accepted their new classification without missing a beat.
Broadwell and Ware early. All Photos by Alex Brust
Chase pack heading towards the mile
Wesleyan packing it up
From the first time up Carollton's central hill, Wesleyan had placed their Top 5 in the Top 20 of the race, and there was no easing off the throttle. Mary Persons jumped into the battle early with their pack testing the Wesleyan Wolves' resolve, sitting on Wesleyan's fifth runner, and Oconee County spreading out a bit extra, but still right there and clearly a threat, but there was no give in Wesleyan's tight cluster of 5.
By round one up separation slope there was a division between the front three and the rest of the pack. Nealeigh Broadwell from White County took her shot early, leaving Bekah Wise from Pickens County and the freshman Gabby Ware from Columbus to battle for second, and a long string of competitors still jostling for fourth.
Going into the second loop of the course, we saw Wesleyan really take charge and command the race. The Mary Persons pack and the Oconee County packs which had formed to give chase hung tough, but just couldn't quite seem to respond to the Wolves' big move, and got left to battle for 2nd and 3rd from a team perspective.
As usual, around the two mile mark we saw some big players making their moves to keep things interesting. From an individual standpoint: Bekah Wise from Pickens make a big move to reconnect with Broadwell for the lead and we also saw Oconee County create some separation from a team standings perspective. While Oconee County and Mary Persons were eerily even with each other through their 3rd, 4th, and 5th runners, Oconee County's front runners of Emma Champer and Molly Meeks were really able to create enough separation, in the second loop, between themselves and the Mary Persons pack to cement their second place finish. Gaby Ware and Haley Heard made big pushes also, reconnecting with the leaders and moving up through the chase packs respectively, putting their school in the conversation for the team hunt.
Wise in 2nd place
Ware in 3rd
Ultimately, Broadwell's early push to set the pace paid off as she was able to hold off Wise around the final hill, and Wesleyan's bold, early team attack led by Eva Murphy and Ansley Voss proved to be decisive, with the Wolves winning with under 50 points.
Murphy led Wesleyan to the win
Voss helped her team win too with a 5th place finish
Oconee County's front runners gave them the edge they needed to hold off Mary Persons (99 points compared to 106) and Columbus's front runners propelled them to the final podium spot.
Heard and Kearney ran strong races
Other individuals rounding out the top 10 included Kaela Kearney, the second Pickens County finisher, Ella Richards who was third for Wesleyan School, Hayden Hand from Dawson County, and Layla Melton from Hebron Christian.