The girls scored 52 points to tie Marist, the state’s top-ranked program among all classifications. But when it went to a tiebreaker based on the finish of the teams’ respective sixth runner, the Lady Eagles ended up second.
Etowah coach Jesse Howard said it was the best finish of the year for his girls, who all finished with times under 20 minutes.
“They ran great,” he said. “There were a lot of firsts in our program in that race. The girls tying and losing was a bit hard to swallow, but that happens. The good news is that we get to go up against (Marist) again in two weeks.”
Kingsley Green led Etowah’s group with a time of 19 minutes, 7.98 seconds, which was good enough for fourth overall. Also in the top 10 where Kyla Resnick (seventh, 19:21.97) and Shelby Rensel (ninth, 19:26.60). Also scoring points for the Lady Eagles were Julia Turbyfield (19:46.01) and Madison Fowler (19:52.57).
Jaylin Lucier was the sixth runner for the Lady Eagles, but she finished 7 seconds behind the sixth-place runner from Marist.
Marist’s Morgan Ilse won in 18:14.89.
Other runners of note included Cherokee’s Caitlyn Farrell (19:36.31) and Creekview’s Rachel Boulineau (20:45.40).
In team standings, Marist and Etowah were followed by Milton (137) and South Forsyth (138). Among the other local schools, Cherokee (376) placed 14th, followed by Sequoyah (406). Creekview (459) and River Ridge (493) finished 17th and 18th, respectively.
In the boys race, Etowah (98) and Marist (95) finished nearly as close to each other.
Marist was initially ruled the winner by a one-point margin, but a North Forsyth runner lost his timing chip, and the victory was then given to Etowah. After a brief delay while a video was consulted to determine exactly where the runner from North Forsyth finished, Marist was once again ruled the winner. This time, it was by a three-point margin.
Michael Perona led Etowah with a time of 16:32.55, followed by Sam Donley (16:34.65) and Blake Beavers (16:42.77). Also scoring points for the Eagles were Ross Gudger (16:56.30), Garrett Metropol (17:08.11), Parker Wall (17:17.30) and Brett Merrall (17:23.12)
Howard said he was pleased with the boys’ finish, though he hoped they could get a few more points to claim the victory.
“I hoped they could eke out a first place, but they didn’t get there,” he said. “Going in, we thought it would be between us and Marist for the title, and it was. Our guys ran together, and they ran close. It just wasn’t quite enough.”
Sequoyah finished seventh with 204 points, with Cherokee (211) eighth. Creekview (370) was 13th, while River Ridge (564) was 21st.
Woodstock was the only Cherokee County school that did not compete in the field of more than 30 schools.
Sequoyah’s Christopher Costa was the highest local finisher with a time of 16:26.94, which was good for eighth place. Three places and 3 seconds back was his rival from Creekview, Brennan Garriques.
Kell’s Logan Poteet won the event with a time of 15:39.58.
Howard said his Etowah runners will use the performance to gauge where they need to be for the season’s remaining meets.
“The guys definitely have a lot of work to do,” he said. “We have a week off (from school) here and we will train through fall break. Then, we run again in Darlington in a couple weeks. You use every race as a stepping stone and I think, at this point, second place is a good result and we move forward.
“I think the loss will be used as a positive motivation instead of a negative thing.”