CARROLLTON, Ga. - Sometimes Goliath is just too good.
That's what the Heritage High School girls' cross country team found out Saturday at the GHSA Championships, where the prohibitive favorites from Marist proved why they are the top-ranked team in Georgia in all classifications. Getting three of the top five finishers and five of the top eight in the Class AAAA competition, the Lady War Eagles scored a dominating 22 points while the Lady Generals totaled 98 in finishing second.
"It wasn't our day to win it all, but two years in a row finishing second in the state to a great program like Marist is still special," said Heritage coach Jeremy Wynne, whose Region 7 champions came out strong but couldn't keep up with the leaders. "The girls definitely put their hearts into it, though our times were a little down. We had three of our top five sick with a stomach bug, so considering that and what they were up against today, I couldn't be more proud."
Marist's Morgan Ilse, finishing in 18:53, won the individual title by nearly a minute over teammate Anna Renou, while the Heritage foursome of Sarah Buckler (10th), Caitlin Craft (13th), Emily Poole (15th) and Noor Shabeeh (16th) kept the Lady Generals easily ahead of third-place Chestatee (152 points) and earned at least one admirer in the enemy camp.
"I have to give Heritage a lot of credit, because they always show up tough at state," Marist coach Eric Heintz said. "We've known about them all year long even when other people were not talking about them, and they pushed us. This is the most impressive group we've ever had on campus. They are the hardest-working, team-oriented group I've seen, and because of that they are willing to do anything for each other."
The news was also good for Gordon Lee as the school brought home individual titles in both the boys' and girls' Class A public school competition. Dylan Smith captured the boys' championship with a time of 17:39.14, while Sarah Meadows earned the girls' title with a run of 22:46.44 in the final two contests of the event at Carrollton High School.
Trion had to settle for the runner-up trophy in the Class A public school girls' competition even though the Lady Bulldogs tied for first with Towns County at 60 points. The tiebreaker went Towns' way because the team's sixth member finished higher than Trion's. Brooke Landry, Crystal Lee and Jenna Chance finished fifth, sixth and seventh for Trion.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.