No. 8 state-ranked Eagle’s Landing topped the girls standings with 55 points followed in order by Spalding (60), Northgate (65), Heritage (95), Lamar County (122), Upson-Lee (131), Pike County (143) and Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (222). Heritage scored 42 points to top the boys standings followed by Eagle’s Landing (57), Spalding (101), Upson-Lee (118), Northgate (127), Lamar County (141), Pike County (176) and Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (192).
Individual winners included Brian Cato of Eagle’s Landing with a time of 17:10 in the boys division and and Hailey Gollnick of Northgate with a time of 20:21 in the girls division.
Longtime Spalding High coach Dolores Owen came away from the meet pleased.
“I’m so pleasantly surprised we had a lot of young kids step up today in their first meet,” Owen said.
No place was that statement more on display than with Spalding’s boys team. While Parker is a freshman and Blake is a junior, the rest of the Jags lineup consisted of freshman Evan Davis (24th—20:12), sophomore Ryan Silvis (25th—20:13), senior Jon Eady (33rd—21:11) and sophomores Christian Gray (35th—21:18) and Vincent Harper (37th—21:29).
“Here’s he surprise — we ran without Brett Piland our No. 2 runner,” Owen, said of Piland who was out of town on a trip. “So I’m excited on the boys side to see what we’re going to be like when we get our whole team.”
Owen was pleased with how determined Eady and Blake ran: “Jon Eady showed good leadership for us, coming in there and getting the points for us. And Daniel Blake also ran well.”
Spalding’s coach also noted Jacob Perry, who will be a freshman next year, won the boys middle school race despite being sick.
By her own admission, one of the greatest compliments Owen received came near the end of the girls race.
“The Eagle’s Landing girls coach came up to me and said, ‘Coach, you’re sand bagging about your girls.’” said Owen. “I said, ‘Coach, no I haven’t. This is our first race. I’ve got three girls who play soccer and run and I’ve got one who has a job and who doesn’t come (to practice) half the time, so I’m surprised also.’”
“The reason he said it, they only beat us by five points — and they’re ranked eighth in the state,” Owen added. “His girls also ran well, he said. So I’m excited.”
Rounding out the Lady Jags lineup were senior Grenishia Daniel (22nd—25:51), sophomore McKenzie Dallas (23rd—25:59), junior Emma Johnston (24th—26:08) and freshman Aisha Jordan (44th—28:29).
“I told the girls that what we have to do is concentrate a little bit more on running and by the time region gets here — it’ll be here (in early Nov.) — give them a run for their money,” said Owen.