Just like any other team that ran last weekend’s Clara Bowl Invitational, on a more undulating layout at Berry College, the Woodstock girls ran a faster race at the Warpath and finished fourth overall with 121 points. The top four finishers for the Lady Wolverines placed in the top 25 individually and hovered above and below the 20-minute mark.
“The girls had a great team effort, from No. 1 to No. 5 runner,” Woodstock coach Kirk Scharich said. “They were in a 1-minute, 5-second gap. We’re working our way back into shape, and I think, by the first of November, at region (meet) time, we’ll have a good team.”
Alexandra Melehan is making a case to be Woodstock’s lead runner by finishing Saturday’s race in 19 minutes, 27.78 seconds. Makensie Block followed at 19:54, while Morgan O’Toole, who has battled fatigue recently, clocked in at 20:05. Rachel Steppe ran 20:14.17.
The Etowah girls, who also ran the Clara Bowl, also ran a faster race at the Warpath and finished seventh.
“We had five girls under 21 (minutes), which was good for us,” Etowah coach Jesse Howard said.
Creekview was 13th in the girls race, with Cherokee 17th and Sequoyah 23rd.
Shelby Rensel led Etowah with a time of 320:00.76, and Kingsley Green ran 20:07.85.
Milton scored 61 points to win the girls race, with Walton second at 85. Roswell (115) took third overall in front of Woodstock.
Milton’s top runner, Annie Kelly, had a commanding lead the entire race before winning with a time of 18:30.39. Roswell’s Peyton Thomas was the next to finish at 18:52.97.
The boys race was closer among the front of the pack, with Woodstock’s J.C. Cornett among the frontrunners. Cornett won a late sprint with Milton’s Nathan Riech in the final 50 yards of the race, securing fourth place by .02 seconds at 16:05.26.
Owen Bailey set a personal record and finished in the top 10 at eighth (16:26.60).
But more than a minute went by before Woodstock’s third runner crossed the finish line, and that’s an area Scharich wants the Wolverines to strengthen.
“We have two runners in the top eight, but we have to work on closing that gap,” he said. “We need to get them a little closer if we want to finish in the top four of region.”
Woodstock’s final placement in the boys race was undetermined at press time due to technical difficulties with the timing system. The final team standings for Sequoyah and Creekview also weren’t calculated. Etowah finished sixth overall, Cherokee was eighth and River Ridge finished 12th.
North Hall had four runners finish in the top 20 to win the boys race with 64 points. Walton was second with 90 points, followed by Milton (93).
Walton’s Reilly Freeman broke away from the front of the pack late in the second mile to win the boys race in 15:46.86. Sequoyah’s Christopher Costa broke the top 10, finishing 10th in 16:28.54.
Michael Perona took 18th (16:47.24) to lead Etowah. Ross Gruger and Brian Matthews paced each other, with Gruger taking 32nd (17:05.27) and Matthews 36th (17:10.33).
Brennan Garriques came close to breaking 17 minutes for Creekview, clocking in at 17:00.24 to finish 29th. Hunter Carter was 45th (17:22.17).
For the Cherokee boys, Steven Driscoll and Sam Harp paced the Warriors. Driscoll took 46th (17:22.21) and Harp was 48th (17:25.38).
In the girls race, Caitlyn Farrell led Cherokee with a 28th-place showing in 20:18.50, and Rachel Garabedian headed Creekview by taking 30th (20:22.96). Hannah Saylor was River Ridge’s top runner, finishing 33rd (20:25.20).