Area Girls Cross Country
RUNNER OF THE YEAR
The Rhea County sophomore won the Region 3-AAA meet and finished second in three races. Her 11th-place finish in the Class AAA state tournament gave her all-state honors, and both the region title and the all-state finish were firsts for a Lady Eagles runner. Not too bad for a girl who chose volleyball over cross country as a freshman. “She’s the type of girl that if you tell her she can’t, she’s going to show you she can,” Rhea coach Steffan Holder said. “We set goals at the beginning of the year, but she surpassed all of them. “I hope she continues to improve.”
COACH OF THE YEAR
Sometimes a team performs best when it has to deal with adversity. Rhea County’s eighth-year coach and his Lady Golden Eagles were dealt a blow when sisters Gloria and Lorena Pascual were injured in a car accident and unavailable late in the season. The team banded together and finished second in the Region 3-AAA meet and advanced to the program’s first state tournament. “The girls understood that we needed someone to take their place,” Holder said, noting he installed a “No Excuses” mentality before the state meet. “The sisters told the team to strive for state — they didn’t want pity for what had happened — and the girls were determined and did an exceptional job. “It was one of the most gratifying seasons I’ve been a part of — very special. The girls were determined to succeed.”
The diminutive Day was fourth in both the Jesse Owens Classic and the Region 3-AAA meet.
The Mississippi State signee won Region 3-A/AA and was all-state for the fourth consecutive year.
She was fourth in the Region 7-AAA meet and ninth in the Georgia Class AAA state championships.
She placed sixth in the Georgia Region 7-AAA meet and was an all-league representative.
She won the Georgia Region 7-AAA championship and placed 15th in the state meet.
She won the Georgia Region 6-A championship and was an all-league performer.
ST. ANDREW’S SEWANEE
A two-time state champion, she placed fourth in this year’s Division II-A state meet.
KIERSTYNN CONLEY Rhea County Freshman
NATALIE ESPINOZA-HENSLEY Heritage Freshman
CARINA NIETO Dalton Senior
BRANDI THOMPSON Heritage Junior
HALEY WARD McMinn County Sophomore
NATALIE WILLIAMS Northwest Whitfield Sophomore
SHELBY WILSON Northwest Whitfield Sophomore
TEAMS OF THE YEAR
The Lady Generals finished second in the Georgia Region 7-AAA meet and were the Chattanooga Cross Country League Team of the Year.
2 POLK COUNTY
The Wildkittens won the Region 3-A/AA championship.
3 RHEA COUNTY
The Lady Eagles were runners-up in Region 3-AAA despite losing two key runners late in the season.
Photos by Allison Carter, Laura-Chase McGehee and John Rawlston. Text by Gene Henley. Layout by Stacey Wysong.